Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Why Class Lists Are So Important and Why My Ranting about Them Is Now Validated

I had an "exciting" half day today.  It started out routine.  I got there at 11:00 and the teacher went through the day with me and the kids.  They don’t eat lunch there until 12:45, so they still had a long time before lunch.  They spent it working on two different things on the laptop computers and were actually quite well behaved.  Then, just as I had taken most of them out to recess (the one before their lunch) and I was near the front entrance, watching the stragglers, the fire alarm went off.  This was a real fire and not just a drill.

Fortunately, there was one girl from my class still nearby and I got her to tell me where we were supposed to go.  Also, fortunately, I had both my clipboards with me - the one with the day’s schedule and the one with the class list.  There wasn’t time to go back to the classroom for the emergency folder, so we just headed out the door.  At first the kids on the playground had no idea what was happening, so it took a long time to gather them up - and even so, it seemed that we might be in the wrong place, because we were randomly next to some second graders.  (My class was 5th grade.)  As soon as a lot of them found our group, I started calling the roll and telling the kids whose names I read to sit down.  Even so, I was missing 6 kids.  One teacher whose kids were all there handed me the emergency red card that is supposed to signal that you are missing some students in the class.  I had had no time to go back to the classroom to get the emergency folder, so I had no signalling card.

Then the second grade teacher started yelling at my class, because they weren’t in a straight line.  I was so busy trying to check to see which kids were missing that I hadn’t had time to make sure they were in a straight line.  Sigh.  (Note: she didn’t yell at the next class over, which was another 5th grade.  They were worse than my class, but their teacher, also a sub, didn’t get the behavior lecture.)

Then, since I was holding up the red card, the assistant principal (?) came over and wanted to know which kids were missing.  I showed her the list.  She point out two of the kids in the special ed group.  I hadn’t met them in the morning, so I had no idea who they were.  She told me another student was absent (the regular teacher had, of course, taken morning attendance, but I had no idea).  Finally, they called over the walkie-talkie and said that they had found 3 more of my students with another teacher.  So they were all accounted for.  Whew!

It turned out that there was a fire in one of the microwaves in the lunch room.  It was significant enough to cause some smoke and set off the automatic fire alarms, but there was no real damage.  Lunch and recess were shifted to be about 20 minutes later than usual.  On the way back in, I remarked to the assistant principal that it was sure good that I had the class list with me.  I then got another lecture about how I should ALWAYS have an extra class list.  I have REGULARLY complained on this blog about not getting class lists at every school I go to if they don’t give them to me, so I was a bit resentful about being lectured about class lists.  Sigh.

But then, after I had calmed down from being lectured twice, I realized that this experience actually validates what I have been saying about class lists.  SUBS MUST HAVE ONES THEY CAN TAKE WITH THEM FOR EVERY CLASS.  This means that, not only can I legitimately insist on getting a second copy if it is required that I sign the original and send it to the office for attendance purposes, but I can also insist on copies of class lists if teachers "switch" kids for math or literacy classes (or any other classes for that matter).  This may not make the school secretaries terribly happy, but I understand why I MUST.

This was not a serious emergency, but you never know when one will occur.  It is better to be prepared.

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