Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm That Crazy, Anal Teacher

So, today on a field trip, I made the students stop doing that thing where they make a signal to make truck drivers honk. They were pumping their fists and shouting, "Honk! Honk! Honk!"

I whipped my head around and said, "No! I'm not in the mood to hear all that shouting!" I turned back again to the book I was reading about readers workshop, and a few minutes later they started doing it again. I whipped my head around. "Absolutely not!" I snarled. "If we get into an accident, it is NOT going to be because I let you guys be loud."
I realize that sounds a little crazy, but we were on a busy highway that is full of tractor trailers. I don't trust other drivers. I've lived in this area far too long and know of too many deadly accidents in the area. Forget it.

Plus, I was picturing all those kids as a bus full of someone else's babies. If it were my baby on that field trip, I'd want the teachers to have the bus be an orderly environment where the driver can concentrate, not a bus full of screaming banshees who are standing up in their seats and distracting the driver and possibly obstructing his view...
I also did not want the horns of a truck to scare the crap out of a) our driver or b) another car on the road. I just cannot tolerate unsafe environments that involve children.

I went back to reading my book, and- I was shocked- a few kids starting doing it again. (They aren't my usual students, so they don't know that if I say to do something, I truly mean it and I will ride their butt until they do it, whether it is cleaning out their binder, stopping talking, or adding more to their paper.) I whipped my head around: "What did I just say? It is a SAFETY issue. If my baby were on this bus, I would not want it to be full of screaming kids. You are TOO LOUD. Sit back and relax."
I realized my baby comment might have sounded weird to them, so when we got back to the school, I tried to explain that I see them as former babies that I need to watch over and that horns are for warning, not entertainment... yeah, they looked at me like I was an idiot, but you know what, I got to read about 43 pages in my book because the whole bus was well-behaved, safe, and as quiet as a bus full of 46 pre-teens can be.

It was a decent day. The play we saw was really good, and the students were awesome during it.

Oh- and I know I said in my title that I was anal, but I was less anal than usual. I let them draw in the steam on the windows, and I even let them put their legs in the aisle. (Usually I say that's a safety issue and make them keep their bodies fully in their seat so they don't fly down the aisle in case of a sudden stop.) I also let them- well, that's all I pretty much let them do.
I didn't let them sing, play those hand clapping song games, or let them kneel on the seats and turn around and talk to the people behind them. That last thing is a safety issue in case of a sudden stop. It's just too chaotic if you let them act like a bus is a playground. No thank you. Field trips are draining enough without getting your ears blasted for 25 minutes with songs, games, shouting and screaming to and from the destination.

I know I sound anal and mean from this story, but I do it because I care- I'm this anal because I want them to be safe. I feel a tremendous responsibility to be the kids' caretakers when they are away from their parents. It's my job to keep them safe both physically and emotionally, and ya know, if I have to act a little kooky to reassure myself that I'm doing that, well, I'm alright with that.


seekingmother said...

You don't sound mean or kooky, you sound like a caring and responsible teacher who wants her kids to have an enjoyable but safe journey. I can imagine how much your perspective has shifted now that you are a mom and it makes complete sense to me that you would see them as someone else's precious babies. Because they are. I wish that bus drivers and other drivers would show as much attention to what they are doing. I have recently read statistics as to how many kids are killed because of distracted driving. The answer is far too many. So keep up your vigilent attention. You're doing right by all of those parents and kids. Hopefully our babies will be looked after so carefully when they venture out into the world. FC SuperMom.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

Good for you! And yea that you got to read so much in your book. :)

Melodie said...

More teachers and adults in general need to have some kind of command over kids these days. Kids take for granted that we are older and wiser. If more parents and adults did what you did maybe the kids of today (listen to me sound like my grandma!) would be more respectful.