What does "Fight On" mean to a teacher?

As teachers we always seek the “Ah-ha!” moments, but what do you do when you have a “@*#$%!” moment? Fortunately, in my three years teaching, I have yet to have anything so horrendous happen that I’m driven to tears.  I have had multiple bumps along the road that have gotten me close, but as of right now they remain a source of humor as I look back on them (or some, just a sigh and shake of the head).  These include:

  • My first day teaching, I called upon a boy to read aloud. I had not been informed he could not read yet. I must have missed that memo.
  • Expecting to take your kids to music only to find out 5 minutes before, the music teacher is out sick and you have no “Plan B.” You are also tone deaf so an impromptu music lesson is out of the question.
  • You arrive at your field trip destination and a kid pukes immediately. She’s crying and the rest of the kids want to see.
  • Speaking of puke: You are sick as a dog, but somehow going in to teach is easier than planning for a sub.
  • You are being observed and the SmartBoard (which your brilliantly planned lesson is centered around) decides to shut off mid lesson….and not turn back on.
  • You nailed that lesson on Family Traditions We Celebrate only to have a student raise her hand to share one of hers “My sister pees her pants almost every day, so that’s kind of like a tradition!”

This list could go on forever, but the bottom line is stuff happens!  How you respond in the moment and how you accommodate after is what keeps them from happening again.  Some things are unavoidable.  Kids get sick, you get sick.  But having things in place will help make them go more smoothly. Below is what I took from each situation:

  • Read each kids file and talk to their prior teachers before school starts.
  • Stock up on activity and game ideas that can be played at a moment’s notice. The ones that don’t require set up or equipment work the best.
  • Always carry the following: trash bag, tissues, cell phone, emergency contacts.  A bush will suffice in a pinch.
  • Before the year school year starts, come up with 10 days worth of lessons that can be done at any point in the year.  I have them in a hanging file on my desk.  The sub can come in and pull out the folder and you can get better (I got this idea from Scott Purdy…fabulous).
  • Use what you’ve got.  Maybe you’re teaching a lesson on proper nouns.  Can you find any in the classroom? Have students write down 3 proper nouns and 1 common noun.  Can your neighbor spot the imposter?
  • Keep a straight face. Or laugh. I asked her if it was something they celebrated.  She said no.  We moved on.

Most importantly….remember to breathe and Fight On!