Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Unexpected joy

Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers
11:20 (near the end of 4th period): Flicker. CLICK. Shudder. Hummm. Flicker. ZAP.


Giggles. Chatter.


Stirring. Wondering. Eyes meeting with incredulous glances.

Ruffled, restless, buzzing anticipation.

11:31 (end of 4th period): Principals appear in the dim doorways, carrying calmness like a gift.
"Go on ahead to your next class, just like normal."
Quizzical looks. Incipient complaints snuffed out before they finish forming.
A smattering of questions.
Strangely quiet people-shapes drift like ghosts through filtered sunlight, navigating new shadows.

11:35-1:00 (5th period & lunch):
Coveting her window, I move into my colleague's room.
"Phew! So glad I didn't bring a microwave lunch today!"
We accomplish a surprising amount of collaborative work, punctuated with brief bursts of "Oh wait, no Internet..." and "We'll Google that when the wireless comes back..." and "Here, I should make a copy of this for you... oh, wait..."

1:02 (beginning of 6th period): In the murky depths of our windowless cave, my smallest class huddles under the too-glaring, too-fake canopy of one brazen emergency light.
"Thank goodness we have a small class!"
"Awwww, man, my phone's dead!"
"This light feels bright."
"I heard we're getting out at 1:15!"
"Can we just do nothing?"
"I heard no such thing. But I have a great book to tell you about!"
Eager ears tune in.

1:10: The secretary comes on the loudspeaker... telling staff that the deadline for submitting grades online has been extended.
Quick gasps, bright eyes... and long sighs.
"I thought she was going to say we could go home!"
"We are NOT going home... now let's get to work!"
Quiet minds settle in.

1:15: The principal comes on the loudspeaker... summoning a student to the office.
Quick gasps, bright eyes... and exasperated exhales.
Re-start. Re-focus.
Big grins. Pencils scratching.

1:25: D. bolts upright in her chair. "My mom just texted me that we're going home at 1:30."
"Ask your mom why she's texting you during class!"
Re-settle. Re-focus.

1:30: A student enters the room, looking for a book.
Quick gasps, bright eyes... and giggles.
"Aw, I thought that was a principal!"
"Yeah, I thought someone was coming in to tell us we could leave!"
"Soooo, annnnywaaaay...  that work we were doing..."
Sheepish smiles. Pencils scratching.

1:37: An assistant principal comes on the loudspeaker... to explain which clubs and sports are canceled and which are still on.
And then he starts listing bus changes.
That's odd... 
"... And you are all... very calmly... DISMISSED!" he declares.
"VERY CALMLY!" I reiterate in the midst of a whirlwind of papers, bags, scurrying arms, and scuttling legs. "Don't forget that today is Tuesday! This would make a great Slice of Life!!!"

1:55 (should be the beginning of 7th period): As I finish checking in with a colleague about some students, my footsteps echo down the shadowy hallway. Not much to do here with no wireless... I gleefully text my parents and husband to brag.

I force myself to focus long enough to gather up the correct work to take home.

And then...

I step into the brilliant sunshine and practically float on the playful breeze.

My cheeks delight in the sunshine that spills in through the open windows and moonroof.

I guess Somebody Up There wanted us to enjoy this gorgeous day.

2:42 (should be the release bell at the end of the day): Rustling wind. Skittering leaves. Swaying branches. Dazzling sun.



Not a bad spot to end the school day, right?!


  1. What an unexpected gift of some sunshine and free time! I take it you had power at home. I love the way you refocused your students. Inside I know you were hoping for those magic words, school dismissed, too. I would have. :-)

  2. Love how your framed your stories with the time. Congrats on your early freedom today!

  3. This is great! I got the text this afternoon, too, and immediately wondered if you would slice about it today! It was fun to read your post. :)

  4. Happy you had this little gift of some hours, Jennifer. Love the pic, & the dialogue!

  5. Score! Nice April 1st treat!

  6. Holy Cow! What a terrific April Fools' Day surprise! I wonder what happened???

  7. I just loved the way you wrote this with poetry in mind. sharp onimages, sparse on words, use of dialogue, and a story with a great ending to boot!!

  8. What a great gift! We've had several power outages this year, but none sent us home to enjoy the sunshine!

  9. I love those last six words and the pic of the chair with a book in it!


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