I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that this has been the most challenging year of my teaching career. In many ways it was the worst year, for me. My students were fabulous. Their families were wonderful. My colleagues and administration were fantastic. The people were all positives. But the circumstances, from beginning to end, were rough beyond words.
In the early weeks of the year I was completely overwhelmed. I was in a new building, with new colleagues and administrators, and a population of students unlike any I’d taught before (my students this year all have at least one parent who is active duty military). So much of what I knew, or thought I knew, didn’t seem to matter. I felt like a brand new teacher even though it was my 22nd year in the classroom. So I guess this story isn’t terribly shocking.
Third graders had specials at the end of the day this past year. We would drop them off, head to meetings many days, and then pick them up to return to our classrooms for dismissal. It was not a schedule I liked. By the time I picked my kiddos up again I was exhausted; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Getting them back to our classroom, a long walk from almost anywhere in our huge building, and getting through the 20-35 minutes dismissal could take, did not bring me joy.
One day, somewhere in the first two weeks of the school year, we got back to our classroom and seated on the carpet to see dismissal on the smartboard. Almost immediately a kid farted. And they all cracked up. On that day, it was the final straw for me. I did not handle the situation well.
I went off on a fart rant. It went something like this (and likely included arms waving significantly):
Is there anyone in here who has never farted? Stand up if you’ve never farted. Everyone farts. The president of the United States farts. The pope farts. If we didn’t fart our bodies would explode. The average person farts seven times every day. It is something we all do.
(All of those sentences should probably end in exclamation points given the force with which I made those statements.) By the end, my kids looked shocked. One kid mumbled, “Yeah, it’s just natural.” Mostly they just sat there in silence staring at me.
If I’d been doing better I’d have kicked off the next day with a book about farting. There are plenty of good ones.
Of course, if I’d been doing better I probably wouldn’t have lost control and ranted about farting to my students.