The wife’s weekend road trip left me in charge of Kate’s meals this weekend, resulting in me taking some short cuts (especially while fighting a head cold) with regards to how I got her fed. Papa John’s took care of last night, but today I decided to treat her (and myself) to silver dollar pancakes at our local social club. Walking back to the car, Katelyn wanted to stop for a minute and watch two ducks loudly fighting with each other in the pond near the front of the club, laughing as she watched the two ducks go at it. Those two were not having much of each other.
I immediately thought that I wish these two ducks had been around school last week.
On Friday, what would eventually become this cold had me sitting at my desk, holding my head, trying to finish sub plans for the afternoon, thanks to some pressing errands I had to run with Katelyn. Usually, about 10 minutes before school starts, I leave my classroom door open, and allow my students to come into class, and when I propped up my door, I heard footsteps a bit quicker than usual. Certainly, my kids weren’t *this* excited for today, where they?
Excited, yes. But for reasons I had not considered. Two of my girls were trying to get my attention to come out. There was a group of boys out on the field kicking a duck.
Sure enough, I walk out and see a group of upper grade boys surrounding two ducks, one sitting, and the other ostensibly trying to defend the sitting duck, which the girls had told me had been limping. The defense wasn’t working, as one of the boys had shamelessly been kicking the limping duck. I had to end this. I ordered the boys from area and back on to the blacktop, reserving some impatient frustration for two of the boys who were in my class.
But the scary part was the look one of the other 6th graders from my teaching partner’s group gave to me. He was glaring at me all the way back to the blacktop, and then continued to watch me to see if I was going to return into my classroom.
At this point, I had a decision to make. I needed to finish my sub plans, but my concern was that at the point in which I retreated into my room, this student would head back onto the field after the ducks, which were now enjoying some peace away from the young would-be child predators who had been surrounding them only a few minutes before. Finally, I turned to one of my boys, B., and told him to stand on the porch of my classroom and watch. I would retreat to my desk to finish typing, and with the door open and B. watching, I could immediately find out if this boy made a move back onto the field.
While it was now only 5 minutes before the start of school, the passing of time seemed interminable, as I wanted the bell to ring so I could call my teaching partner’s classroom and make her aware of what her boys were doing. When it finally rang, and I felt secure in knowing that her kids were now in class, I called B. and the rest of the kids (as my girls were now also “guarding” the ducks along with B.) into class so I could call T., my partner.
At this point, a phone call to her, and one to the office, caused the discipline machine to go into motion. By recess, both of the birds were gone.
My school day started. Still, the look on that boy’s face as he glared at me because I asked him to not kick an injured duck has stayed with me all weekend. How disturbing…
“I’ve always felt that animals are the purest spirits in the world. They don’t fake or hide their feelings, and they are the most loyal creatures on Earth. And somehow we humans think we’re smarter—what a joke.”