Monday, March 19, 2012

can we walk with you?

Photo taken on an excursion the other day 
with two of the gorgeous girls who always 
accompany me during yard duty...

One of my favourite things about teaching at primary school, or maybe just at this school (not sure if it happens elsewhere!) is yard duty.

Believe it or not.
Every teacher dreads yard duty. But I'll paint you a picture of how it works here.

15 minutes before recess, usually, one of the girls will ask if I'm on yard duty. I say yes, their eyes light up, they do a fist-pump and hiss: "YESSS!". Aw, thanks ladies.
The bell goes, the children eat then funnel outside. I grab my hat and head out. It takes all of 10 seconds, waiting in the courtyard until anywhere between 2-8 children (usually grade 3 and younger) have surrounded me. They're clamouring: "CAN WE WEAR THE VEST?" (the bright yellow, daggy-as-hell high visability safety vest) "CAN WE GET THE BAG?" (first aid bag, need to go to the staffroom to get it. I appoint someone vest-wearer, someone else bag-carrier. Usually, then, half of them look at me hopefully, willing me to say yes as they ask: "Can we play teacher-tiggy!?!?" I've not yet turned them down.
Essentially, as I wander around the school (and it's so small, you can do a lap at a snail's pace in about 10 minutes), the kids who have signed up to play run ahead of me and hide. As I look out for trouble (and there's very rarely any. Scraped knees are usually the biggest emergency we have to deal with) I also look out for the teacher-tiggy players.
If I spot them, I call out, wave my arms, whatever it takes. They run over to me, puffing, and ask: "What do you want us to do?" I give them an exercise, something like: 10 star jumps, 5 pushups, 10 spins. Once completed, they're free to run off and hide, although more often than not, they stick with me.

I often have a 'hoard' of children- usually, though not always, all girls - walking with me throughout my duty times. Sometimes they swap, changing from hider to helper as the mood strikes, suddenly feeling the need to throw the vest or bag at me and sprint off to one of the few predetermined hiding places that they're so fond of using.
More than teacher-tiggy, though, it's the kids that stay with me that make me smile. I'm not alone, and shouldn't feel all that special- they tend to hang around with whoever is on duty- but with all the play, games and imaginings they could be engaging in during recesses, they're chosing to walk around with me, talk to me (and one another), tell me stories, listen to mine, hold my hands, take me to see their special places, tell other kids off for not having hats, and remind me why I love what I do.

That being said, however, I wore a slightly-too-big-babydoll-type dress to school today and got asked by about 4 kids if I was pregnant.
Thanks, guys.

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