Okay it was one of those days with one of my 1st grade classes - I don't know what happened but MEAN teacher appeared.... It is not a moment I am proud of, and I actually intend to make it right with the kids I had today, it was one of those moments that was just not pretty.
Sure enough the song was over and kids were out of their seats, pencils all over, paper all over, glue bottles on tables toppled over..... I have no idea what happened. We have been cleaning up with the song since fall - more often than not they stop what they are doing and put everything away. Often times they race to see what table can be done first. However, not today. Today I was shocked, frustrated, and honestly a little upset. I had 3rd graders standing in the hall waiting to come in and they were goofing around after our song was over. I had reminded multiple kids with personal reminders during clean up with things like, "Put away the clay please" "Check your table. Is it clean?" "Where should your body be?" "Put away the glue please." Greek I tell ya, I learned and was speaking Greek.
That is when it happened - MEAN teacher broke out - I haven't seen mean teacher in years and BAM there she was.
Mean teacher had all of them place their free made projects in the recycling bin as I had warned them. At the time this felt appropriate based on how they were playing/building them instead of cleaning -- but when I got home tonight and thought about it -- it just wasn't necessary. In my mind those 5 minute projects they made with left over papers were nothing overly special - but perhaps to my kids they were the Mona Lisa and a gift for someone... I was an adult in that moment and decided those scraps were nothing more than scraps -- which wasn't my call.
I made a mistake today - I over reacted. I am human. I plan to talk that class and apologize for my actions and explain why I made them and why they were wrong.
Next time they come we will be practicing how to clean up (which is a far more appropriate consequence) and while we do that I will let them re-build what I asked them to toss.
This will be a lesson for me as it will be for them -- that even teachers make mistakes, teachers/adults can apologize when they are wrong.
I don't know what came over me in that moment. I am not normally so rash about things - but I think the combination of surprise, frustration, and the need to get them out so my 3rd graders could come in was just a bad combination.
So, to my 1st graders I see on Thursdays -- I am sorry.