Tuesday, March 7, 2017


About a week from the blessed event.  We are in that final push, writing and writing and writing.

Remembering all that we have taught. Worrying over what we haven't.

This morning I am in fourth grade. We are doing a research simulation. The kids have read 2 articles and watched a video, we have annotated the prompt, planned together, and now they are ready to write a piece comparing two of the articles.

Robin, the fourth grade teacher, and I circle the room, conferring with individual kids.

D's voice breaks into my writing conference.

"Dr. Carol," she says.

I am surprised that she is interrupting my conference. I have just finished speaking to her, and she seemed really clear on where she wants to go with her essay. And the kids know better than to interrupt a writing conference.

Almost before I can respond, she says, "Dr. Carol, I need help." Again, I am surprised. She is usually not that needy.

"I'm stuck," she says.

I think she is talking about her writing. "You are stuck?" I ask, all ready to ask her what writers do when they get stuck.

Suddenly, her table partner feels the need to intervene.

"Dr Carol, her foot is stuck."

"Her foot is stuck?" I say dumbly.

"Yes, she's stuck."

D's face is now one of complete panic.  I bend down to look at her shoe. Somehow, she has managed to jam her sparkling white, brand new tennis shoe into the metal book rack soldered to the bottom of the chair.  And now she is stuck.

I try to wiggle her foot a little.

"Ow," she says. "That hurts. My foot is stuck."

I can't figure out what to do. Her foot really is stuck. I decide to take her shoe off, but it is double knotted, so I sit down on the floor next to the chair and pick at the knot. An audience is beginning to gather. I pick at the knot some more, and finally manage to loosen it.

I still can't get her shoe off.

"You need to loosen the laces," advises R, who sits right behind D.

I pull the laces. The shoes appear to be new and the lacing holes are tight.

I tug at them for a couple of more minutes.

"You have to undo them all the way down," R says.

Finally, I manage to loosen the laces enough to get the shoe off. D's foot releases.

"Phew," I say. "I guess you don't have to take our chair home with you."

D is embarrassed, but manages a half-hearted smile.

She returns to her writing and I return to my conference.

Just another day in the life of a writing teacher, a week before the tests.


Michelle said...

Oh, man. Love the suspense you created! My eyes scanned faster to find out how this writing tragedy ended! Too bad the kids can't write about what they want! This would have been perfect ... just as you shared it as your slice. I'm happy to hear everyone was unstuck - physically and mentally. Just another day in the life of a writing teacher ...

L Romaine said...

I love the moment where you are eye brow raised surprised anyone would interrupt a writing conference. It just doesn't happen, right? Especially for a low-level issue, like "I'm stuck."
Ha ha. As the moment stretched out I began to suspect someone really was stuck. I am glad that it was only a foot and the problem was solved without injury.

I wrote about my cat today.

Linda B said...

Whew is right! But humorous too! One of my students got stuck in one of those baby swings at a park one time. Her legs were beginning to swell by the time we teachers were told. (She was about 12 or 13.) With me, the woman pushing on her rear end and thighs and the men teachers lifting, finally we got her loose. Argh, kids do the craziest things sometimes. Best wishes in the testing!

Karen said...

How very scary for that little girl! But Dr. Carol to the rescue! And that action in the classroom probably beat the planned lesson that you and the teacher spent so much time preparing.