Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How did this happen?

This is a Tuesday
Slice of Life.
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day. 
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

"Ms. Ingram! Jack's opened something he's not supposed to!"

Try as I might, lunch in my classroom is a loud, lively, unsettling part of my day. 22 preschoolers, four tables, innumerable containers to be opened by hands that are just developing the skills...with three teachers, it can feel as if you are never in the right place at the right time. Lunch is an unending pattern of wiggly bodies moving in their seats, chairs scraping the floor, lunch boxes refusing to open or close properly, children calling out for help in opening things, items falling on the floor, spills that need wiping up, some food getting trashed before it is tasted, children rushing to the bathroom, on and on.

In the midst of this fray, here's what I hear:
"Ms. Ingram! Jack's opened something he's not supposed to!"

I walk over towards that lunch table of preschoolers and what do I find? Jack looking at me wide-eyed and a packet of silica gel sprinkled all over the table - silica gel that was inside the package of one of his lunch foods [seaweed]. Jack said indignantly, "It is part of my lunch but she says it is not!" Jack thought the silica gel was a condiment - it certainly was packaged like a condiment. In very small letters, you can see the words "do not eat" but, guess what, most preschoolers are not readers.

Thankfully, his classmate had called out to me in alarm;
thankfully, the silica gel missed his food and was emptied onto the table and floor; most thankfully, Jack had not eaten any of it.

How's a child supposed to know not to eat something like that?
How's a teacher supposed to know that this will be included in lunches?
Why is it packaged in this inviting way, much like a sugar or a salt?

One more gray hair on my head.

In recent days, in my local area, one three year old choked to death while eating meatballs at a daycare and one three year old wandered out of her school during nap and was found (and safely returned to school) by a stranger down the street from the school. The outcry is - How did this happen? Where is the supervision? What is wrong with those teachers?

My response is,
I know I am listening, watching, aware,
I know my teaching team is strong, present, vigilant,
I know our routines are sound, tested, considered,
I know my community is connected, supportive, communicative,
I know my school is safe, alert, caring.
My response is,
but for the grace of God.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my! What a scary moment. Yes, "but for the grace of God." Thankfully one of your students had prior knowledge and had been warned not to ever open a package of silica gel.