Tag Archives: rainy days

First Monday in November

Rain is in the forecast for this week, the first full week of November, a good time for rain to begin and hopefully continue through till spring.

Because we are in desperate need of rain, there is no complaining about the wet, slick roads and the rain that makes outdoor work more difficult. My plan for today is to get the standing fans back to the storage unit. But, you know, if it’s raining…

There is a meeting at 4 for the church’s preschool board. This is my fourth year on the board and I don’t feel well equipped to serve, but I try to show up and be an encouraging voice for the hard work that is being done there. Right now, I’m concerned that we are looking at dollars and cents rather than ministry. After coming through the past two years, still operating, still standing, I cannot imagine thinking about making a hasty decision on closing. There is money in the bank, but it’s a fiscally conservative finance board on the church’s side that is attempting to call the shots. We must stand together, and stand firm.

Speaking of church, we had a lovely stewardship luncheon yesterday, kicking off stewardship pledge month. Large turnout for a barbecued chicken meal. Attendance has been increasing in the Sunday service, too, as people are coming out of the shadows and seeing that we are still standing, still functioning, We have visitors who I greet and many tell me they come for the peaceful calm services with the beautiful music. A drastic contrast to the outside world. It’s something people are hungry for, away from the tumult of political rhetoric and economic uncertainty. There is no rhetoric or uncertainty with God.

The election on Tuesday will either calm or stir up the marauding throngs who are determined to have their way over the way society is lived here in America. I am praying for calm acceptance of whatever may happen.


Rainy days at school

It is raining here in central California and we are all thrilled. There are some issues with the rain, though, for those in wildfire areas where all the brush has burned away and the fear of mudslides hangs heavy in the air. There are also issues at school on rainy days.

Puddles, for one. Lots of rain brings lots of puddles for children to jump and splash in as they go from classroom to cafeteria and back again. There is no recess for the students during rainy days so they make the most of any time they can escape the classroom and run free, outdoors.

Keeping children contained, indoors, creates issues with behavior, and I wondered when I got to Columbia yesterday just what I would find. Although antsy, the kids were super excited to see me and find out if I was coming to THEIR class that day to read. It’s all very confusing to me. I know the classrooms and teachers for each day, but I still don’t know exactly which students are in which classrooms so I have to ask and then say, “yes, I’ll be there after lunch,” or “I’ll see you tomorrow.” The first response gets squeals of delight, the second response gets downturned faces. Then there are the second grade classes.

This year I am attempting to read to the second graders (who were first graders last year and know me very well), but I can only do each class once a month rather than once a week as I do for the first grade.. That causes even more confusion as to which class I am seeing on any particular day. I have gotten the second graders trained to know that I only go to second grade on Wednesdays.

This week, a rainy day, the week after Thanksgiving break, and only three weeks to Christmas break, the second graders were a wild bunch. It took their teacher and me quite awhile to get them in place and settled for the story, but once I began reading “You Are Special,” they quieted down, became calm, and were intent on every picture.

Some had heard the story before. It has been around for awhile and is really a parable about God, the creator, and His creations. I don’t stress that part of the story but rather play up the part about how the woodcrafter (God) tells the little wooden boy how special he is and how he doesn’t need to worry about what others think of him. I end the story time by telling each student how special they are and to be confident in themselves. As the teacher dismissed them back to their seats, each one came by to give me a hug and tell me how special I am. Pretty good for a rainy day.

When it rains…

…the sixth graders go wild.

Thursday was a crazy day at Columbia. First of all, the sixth grade teachers were all gone to a teacher inservice. Why the district would require such a thing on the first week back from Christmas break boggles my mind. It’s hard enough to get students back to routine, and having a substitute in the classroom is NOT routine.

Second, we had a major rain storm on Thursday. There were huge bodies of water throughout the campus. It seemed as though the kids were finding and falling into those “ponds” left and right. Upon arrival at the school I was greeted by a boy soaked to the skin from falling into one. I worked with the home liaison to find dry clothing for him from the stash of spare clothing I have been bringing. Nothing. The supply of pants was all gone due to so many “accidents.” Guess I have a project for next week. We eventually had to call the boy’s mother to bring him spare clothing, meaning he sat out of class for about an hour.

Rain does strange things to kids. Maybe it’s atmospheric pressure or something, but they become wild creatures, even under the best of terms, but with those substitutes in the classrooms, they became even wilder. I was asked to help get a class under control. Why me? Well, the vice principal was out sick, and the other administrator was out for a doctor’s appointment. That left the principal dealing with other issues, like the second grader who brought a small blow torch to school.

When I entered the classroom, after gathering some intel from students already sent to the office, things seemed to be fairly calm. The students were working on a math problem (I’m NOT a math teacher, never have been, never will be). The substitute was at the front of the room, with his back to the class, trying to do the problem on the white board.

Okay, here are some rules I have: Never turn your back on a class, especially if you are not the regular teacher. Always walk among the desks, speaking to each and every student, checking to see if they know what they are doing. Don’t yell. Don’t let them see you sweat.

The students in the office had told me that students weren’t doing the work and had their phones out. They also said the substitute was yelling at them. I did see the yelling, but the cell phones had been tucked away by the time I walked in. I helped students, individually, with their math problems and got them on track. Kids need to feel successful with the task or they quickly go off-task and misbehave. When I felt things were going well, I talked with the substitute and asked about the students he had sent to the office. He said they could return if they were quiet and behaved.

I returned to the office and filled those students in, but one student refused to return to class. He wanted his audience with the principal, to tell her about how bad the substitute was and how the class had behaved. The others returned with promises to be quiet and to say they were sorry. I suddenly realized I was late to lunch with the first graders, my real responsibility for the day. It was still raining.