When I was a kid, I remember hearing my teachers talk about full moons. They’d say something like, “Must be a full moon tonight!”. I probably thought to my young, naïve self that they were just interested in the solar system, and things of that nature. But, in the last few years, I've learned- it is teacher code. It is teacher code for hold your hats, they are out of control, loud-as-ever, crazy as can be, and your room will look like a tornado when they leave kind of day. It has truly been that kind of day. Last night, on the way out of the car after being out…I saw the bright, bold, round as ever moon. I said to Declan, “Oh man…full moon, tomorrow should be just awesome” (with all sorts of sarcasm). Well, it is most definitely true. Full moon's bring out the beasts…I mean, wolves...errr...students. They had their claws out. So did I.
I should start by saying that my morning was fairly calm, but…I’m giving the kids the benefit of the doubt that they were just sleepy. The afternoon is when my head started spinning by the pure presence of their insane energy. With each class it just seemed to get worse. I even heard one teacher in passing say, “It’s totally a full moon day”. I said, “I am feeling that too!”. The kids were all just a little ‘off’. My normally sparkly clean room was a nightmare. No “clean-ups” went very well today. I have torn paper EVERYWHERE, glue caked on tables, a messy board, and a materials table that looks like it threw up. What gives?
It was one of those days when I felt the stress up to my eyeballs. When that one girl would not shut-up and just kept throwing out commands as if she were the teacher. When it seems like they are SHOUTING at the top of their lungs in what they think is normal conversation. When I start to talk, and no one quiets down. This is not the norm, but on a full moon day...it is, and it was. My patience had run out, just as the last class came in. They entered noisy. That irked me already.
We got started.
The noise rose.
Then I did it. That thing...that teachers used to do when the class got too loud. Yea, I went there. For the first time in my teaching career, I went old school.
I shut the lights off.
I gave them the the whole, "This is not gonna fly speech, and this is not how we act in 1st grade." (don't laugh)
Lights back on.
They shook their heads in agreement. They went to town gluing their little torn pieces of paper to their owls for the rest of the class, and I literally heard nothing. It was INSANE. I had to pinch myself a few times, but the kids were really there...being quiet, gluing away, in utter peace and quiet.
No WONDER teachers use the lights. IT works, it really works! I left the day feeling much more at peace, and for that, I'm pretty grateful.
I guess I'll never stop learning teacher-secrets.