Friday, November 27, 2009

An Uncomfortable Few Moments

One day I was leaving work and a guy pulls up behind my pickup and asks me what is the current time (weird I thought). I told him the precise time I had on my watch. He then asks, "Why aren't there kids running around everywhere?"

I responded, "Because they're all gone." Then he asks, " What time does school get out?" Now my radar has gone up. "I'm not going to give you that information," I said.

He says, "Am I lost?" (weird again). I ask, "What are you looking for?" He asks again, "What time does school get out?" I give him the same answer I gave him before.

He calls me rude and starts grumbling at me about how rude I am. Then he says the dumbest thing he could say, "I pick my kids up here everyday. I can't believe you are so rude."

I suggested he go to the school office and they would help him with the answers he needed. He got even more angry and called me rude a few more times. He took off in a hurry. I wish I had gotten his license.

I went into the office and told them what happened. I went home and wrote down everything I could remember and I gave it to the principal the next day. The school district police have been in touch with me and I've told other crossing guards. We keep our eyes out for this character.

I despise this kind of thing. I do not want anyone messing with children if I can do anything about it.

God protect all the children out there who are so innocent and unaware of the dangers that lerk. Help them not to have to live in fear everyday. Help me to protect them at all cost. Help us all to be vigilant in protecting ourselves and others.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Fall Colors and Yard Work

This is how things looked on October 31st as we were out driving. Beautiful!

A few weeks earlier, while things were still green for the most part, my husband took advantage of the day without rain to cut some tree limbs. Our neighbor has a huge maple tree and the lower branch has hung over our fence for years. My husband cut it away. I hope that my shade garden can get a tiny bit of sun now.

I cut a lot of shrubs back and my son and I raked and burned and cleaned the yard a couple weeks later.

We lit this thing several times, but it just wouldn't start because some of the debris was too wet.

My son got the dry stuff on top to burn, but later my husband came out and added some kind of fuel and used his air compressor to keep that thing burning until almost everything was ashes. Don't worry my son had the water hose running the whole time and we probably ruined the grass with so much water. Oh wait, we live in a place that dumps gallons of water on our grass every winter. Not all at once thank goodness.

This is what the sun looked like as we were working out there. It wasn't actually dark yet as the picture portrays, but getting there.

It's time to let go of fall as much as I hate to. It's such a neat time of year. Thanksgiving is in two days and then we jump right into Christmas. Winter seems so long to me.

I'm sick today. I've been battling a morning cough for a couple weeks. It finally hit my nose and throat this past weekend and my chest got tight last night. Couldn't sleep much. Now my son reports chills and a headache. This is why winter seems so long to me.

With God we can do all that needs to be done and he'll help us with our priorities.

Thank you, God for leaves that change and seasons that change and for the strength to walk through each trial be it big or small.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's Recess Like?

Working at an elementary school for the past twelve weeks has opened my eyes to the kinds of things that kids do and deal with on a regular basis. If you want to know what might be going on at your child's' school read on.

This is what the front of the school looked like two weeks ago. Now these trees are bare, the sky is almost always gray and things are getting mushy and muddy.

On another note, this long term substitute job has come to an end...I have just applied for the permanent position which finally opened up November 19, 2009. I hope to have a chat with the principal some time in the next week. Things look good for me to fill this position mostly because we don't think anyone else will apply. And hopefully because they like what I've been doing at their school for the past twelve weeks.

Now let's get started with RECESS! At first the kids run out of the school onto the playground screaming with joy. They head straight for the swings and the cart with balls and jump ropes.

The first complaints begin within five minutes, usually about "those kids who won't let me swing". Apparently five minutes is a very long time to wait, for the younger ones especially. So I look at my watch and tell "those kids" they have about two more minutes before they need to let some other kids swing.

Meanwhile two kids need a restroom pass and another needs her shoes tied. Little Suzie is tugging my vest to tattle on little Jenni who called her a name and Johnnie fell and skinned his knee. Time for the band aids or send Johnnie to the nurse.

There's a lot of running and screaming at the top of their lungs and quite often two kids collide and fall down crying and holding their hurting limbs or heads. Time to survey for injuries and decide if anyone needs to go to the nurse for an ice pack. More shoes to be tied.

In theory the kids aren't suppose to run on the black top or around the Big Toy area. It has taken about ten weeks to get that point across to about 75% of the students. When any known rule is broken by a student that student will spend time standing next to any wall outside. At this point there are no more warnings given. They should know the rules by now. They go straight to time out on the wall.

Some kids will look at you with the "What? You are so mean" look and sometimes they'll argue with you trying to get out of it because they've "Never heard that rule before."

Some even shout at you and some come to their friends' defense shouting at you. I find it quite disturbing that elementary kids have such disrespect for adults and think that it's okay to yell at them. Makes me wonder what it's like in their homes.

This behavior usually gets a student a free pass to see the dean in her office. Some even yell at her. This behavior usually earns a student a behavior report to take home with them and possibly a call to mom & dad.

Basketball is always interesting on the playground as well as Tether ball. I don't see the Soccer games as I keep an eye on the Big Toy and black top areas, but I'm sure it gets wild out there.

Basketball is basically make up the rules as they go and the stronger willed kids always win. This is when I step in. I played a little basketball in junior high and most of the rules are the same. Most kids will listen and play by the rules for a couple of minutes.

Quite often they return to "Street Basketball" and someone ends up hurt or mad. At this point the ball is taken away and the game is called off. Tether ball is the same. Stronger willed kids make up the rules as they go and feelings get hurt or there's a fight. Kids just have to move on or play by the rules. More shoes to be tied.

Most days there aren't any major problems in which the dean has to be called upon. However, one day at lunch recess, about ten boys, kindergartners included, were fighting or playing very rough in a big mob. There were three playground monitors and none of us saw this happen.

After it was all over, one kindergartner came and told me that a boy broke another boys' glasses. It was time to go back to classes so it took me a while to follow up. I found the boy with the broken (very bent) glasses. The para in that class asked some questions and she found out who did it.The boy was found and sent to the dean. By the next day it was discovered that ten boys had been fighting.

The principal was notified and he took it from there. The boy (a kindergartner) with the bent glasses was a part of it by choice. He thought it was fun to be in a big brawl. His mom wasn't upset about the glasses and had them bent back into shape before the next day.

Another day a bee stung a boy right near his eye. I was concerned and took him to the nurse myself. He was okay and back out to play before recess was over. More shoes to tie (my aching back).

The next incident bothered me. Two boys were playing "Wall Ball" or "Power Ball". One boy came to me saying the other boy kicked, punched and slapped him. His face was red on one side. We confronted the suspected angry boy and he denied it. I had to call for the dean because I believed that the angry boy had at least slapped the other boy.

When the dean came out the angry boy got very angry saying he hated the school. She took them in and got to the bottom of the story. It's hard to get to the bottom of things on the playground because kids are usually shouting and other kids are standing around giving their two bits. It's best to get a third party and remove the kids involved.

This school is a very nice school with a great principal and dean, great teachers, and all other staff. The things I have mentioned are not daily occurrences except tattling and tieing shoes. I never imagined what it would be like on the playground.

With the people to back you up with discipline and great teachers to give us incite into why some kids act the way they do it has been a good experience and I'm willing to continue as recess lady and crossing guard to get my foot in the door and we'll see what God has in store for me next.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Was Blessed Today

I went to work today and there was an assembly to honor veterans.

I had the next two hours free so I entered the school gym to attend this event.

Being a veteran I am just a little patriotic so I love these kinds of things.

Seated at the front with the school choir were men (I assumed to be veterans) and their children who attended our school. I call it our school because I've been subbing there for about eight weeks now.

I found a seat in the back with the parents. After the posting of the colors and a very sweet rendition of the Star Spangled Banner (I almost cried) by all of us (the school choir helped tremendously) we were seated and the principal began his greetings.

He asked if there were any veterans in the audience. I jumped to my feet thinking there would be several others. Nope...just me. The principal said, "Mrs. Johnson, come on up here." So I joyously walked to the front thinking he was going to ask me a few quick questions and I'd be back in my seat soon. Nope again...he said," "Can someone bring a chair up here for Mrs. Johnson?" I was thrilled and embarrassed at the same time. I had no idea this would happen.

No one knew I had been in the Navy so there were a lot of surprised and smiling faces. The principal was quite surprised. Who would have thought that a few years in the Navy, almost twenty years ago, would have me being honored with others who have served our country in an elementary school today?

I appreciated it so much and I felt so honored even though I served in peace time. Some of the other veterans served during wars and gave our country many years. One soldier was still serving and has two sweet little girls at our school. He plans to retire soon.

The principal had each of us share what service we were in and how long and where we served. Some shared more which was nice. The kids seemed to be very interested. We were each given a handmade card by some of the students and a red rose with the American Flag attached. It was so nice.

The school choir sang two more songs and one Army veteran, currently Boy Scout leader, gave a fun speech full of audience participation. It was a pleasant and much appreciated assembly.

One Army veteran was a Filipino who came to the U.S. to get an education. He joined the army so he could go to college on the GI Bill. He loves his country, the USA, and served for many years. He shook my hand as did others as they thanked me for my service.

I have mentioned in earlier posts that I spent three years in the Philippines and I became a Christian and was baptized there. The Philippines and the people there have a place in my heart forever.

At the recesses throughout the day several students came to me and asked me about my military service. Some thanked me and others were just plain surprised. Teachers and office workers thanked me and shared their stories of being dependents of someone in the military or working on a base. It was quite a day for me at Rainier View Elementary School.

I love America and all that it has stood for over the years. I pray that our country will maintain it's freedom and liberty for all.



Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Feel Like a Scarecrow

Lately it seems I'm just existing, you know, busy schedule and trying to make time for family and friends. It certainly takes more effort these days.

I feel kinda rag dollish, scarecrowish, wanna stay homish. God certainly has a purpose for every season of our lives. Nan at momstheword explained that she respected my priorities and she understands that I'm in a different season now than I was a couple of months ago. Thanks Nan!

I sure miss blogging and following you all. I miss Mocha Mondays, Bible study, having spare time to complete some of my volunteer tasks. God knows what's best for me and I'm hanging in there with Him.

Share your Scarecrowish moments with us. God bless you all and may you be in a season of peace, joy and God's grace.