Twenty Children

Lunch break can mean so many different things, depending on your job. At my summer job, it meant a relaxing half hour to sit down and eat at leisure while reading a magazine or chatting with coworkers. But I can’t say that I’m sorry to have left summer work behind, even if “lunch break” means something quite different now.

Lunch break now means that I’m still on duty. I’m responsible for twenty children. (Today I spent part of my “lunch break” wiping spilled root beer off the carpet). But who wouldn’t want to eat lunch with company like this?IMG_1064

I’ve never had so many students before. On the first day of school I kept staring at my sardine-like classroom and thinking, There are twenty of them. What am I ever going to do with twenty kids?

But by now I’m getting used to counting to twenty on the playground. And I have to admit that there are some advantages to having so many students. For instance, there’s no need for me to try to manufacture action at recess. It just happens!

It’s a good life. A sweet life. A messy life.

Did I mention messy?

“It’s a new kind of tanning salon that won’t give you cancer!”

“The thing about school is ( insert fake gruff voice) the facial hair.”

“Do we have to wash it off, Miss Beiler?” they said.

“Well, you don’t want to get your art project all dirty, do you?”

After recess we painted. It was great fun.IMG_1070

At one point I noticed that K was not painting. He was busy stirring his cup of water with his paintbrush (you know that icky painty water that you get when you wash out your paintbrush). I told him to get busy with his painting. He kept stirring with a gleam in his eye and said, “I’m an evil scientist, and I’m gonna make this mixture, then feed it to an animal that will turn into a monster and destroy the world!”

Between the mud and the paint, you can imagine what my sink looked like by the end of the day.

And that was all on Friday. This was the Thursday scene:

It’s time for recess. We go outside and discover a few raindrops falling. The open basement area where we can play games indoors is in use for music class today.

Twenty kids having indoor recess in our tiny classroom? It will have to rain harder than this to make me opt for that!

We begin a rousing game of fish tag. The drops turn into a heavy drizzle, but no one seems to mind.

We’re not getting very wet yet. No problem.

The rain increases, slowly but steadily. I stand under the porch roof and watch my children run around in the rain.

“This is so much fun! Miss Beiler, pleeeease let us stay out.”

It’s warm. Getting wet won’t hurt anyone.

The rain becomes a downpour. Thunder rumbles. “Ok everyone, we’re going inside.”

Puddles in my classroom. Wet hair in my classroom. Wet stinky shoes in my classroom. Twenty happy children in my classroom.

Yes, that’s my life.

And here is the quote of the day: “How do you spell NFL?”