Thursdays are the days I read to three second grade classrooms. Because of the timing, number of classes, and the willingness of the second grade teachers, I am able to do this even though my original, and main, responsibility is to first graders. The second graders are great because they know me from last year. The teachers also know me and how I work with the students and my expectations and that I will show up every week.
When I signed in at the main office today, the staff, as usual greeted me by name as did a little first grader waiting to see the nurse. A mother was standing behind me, waiting for her child to come to the office to go to a dentist appointment.
“You’re Mrs. Zody,” the parent asked, “the lady who reads books to the students?”
I turn around to see the woman, and answer, “yes, I am.”
“My son, Julian, talks about you all the time! He comes home and tells us the book you read and what you brought the class. He gets so excited on the days you come.”
I ask her whose class Julian is in and find out it’s the class I had to leave mid-story last week due to poor behavior. “I’m sorry I didn’t get to finish last week’s story.”
“He told me that the girls wouldn’t be quiet and you left. He was very disappointed.”
“Yeah, me too,” was my reply. Then I said I would say hi to him today, but she told me he was absent, at home not feeling too great.
“He says lots of kids in the class are getting sick.”
Yes, it’s that time of the year, and sure enough, each of the three classes had sick kids who were IN class. Coughing, sneezing, one boy fell asleep. Of course, they all want to hug me, get right in my face to tell me things, and just like it was when I was teaching, I get coughed and sneezed on. All the classes behaved well so they all heard every bit of today’s book, Evelyn del Rey is Moving Away.” I handed out butterfly stickers as that was a trademark of Evelyn del Rey. I left more for the students who were absent so I hope Julian will get one.
By the time I walked to my car, I didn’t feel well. A little dizzy, stomach hurt, tired. “I CANNOT GET SICK” my internal voice screamed. I drove home, and as is always the case when I’ve been out, put all my clothes in the clothes hamper, washed my glasses and hands, but went one step further–got in the shower, and washed my hair, too. Sent all the cooties down the drain.
Now, as I type this, I am drinking a cup of hot tea and eating 365 brand pumpkin cookies. It’s the start of my Thanksgiving holiday time. I already feel better, and have plans to be back in two weeks. I just hope all the students and their teachers are well.