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.


  1. I hope and pray that you get that job, that would be awesome!!!!! Hope your back holds up!

  2. Hang in there Nannette! You're doing a great job!

  3. Oh, my! No comment! You've said it all.

    However, I noticed that you have a pray for Stellan buttone. You may not be aware that a little over a week ago, Stellan got his miracle. He is completely healed! Here is the information in detail about what happened:

    Ah, the power of prayer!

  4. Okay, that does NOT sound fun!!!

    I think I'd go just a little bit NUTTY after an hour of that! Course the people here at my work drive me nutty too, so maybe KIDS would be easier than ADULTS who act so childish. =0)

  5. I hope you get that job Nanette! If you really want it that is!!!! :)

  6. Oh, have just brought back so many memories of my 11 years in the public school system. THANK YOU...I think? lol

    I really did love my job there. The children I worked with were just WONDERFUL as well as the staff.

    I pray that you get the position you are seeking, my friend. Hopefully, they will realize what a blessing you are and KEEP YOU!

    Blessings to you and your family~