Collections from a day: Slice of Life March challenge #8

 Collections from a day #sol16 There's a book for that

Mondays are long and challenging and never over. That sounds like complaining and it is. It’s 4:12 p.m. and I can’t decide whether I need chocolate or coffee or to just bury myself in a book for an hour and wait for it to get dark so it might be Tuesday soon.

I am thinking back over the day at what I have collected. Why am I so exhausted? What is weighing me down? If I put it here on this page, can I let it go? Can I literally unload it and walk away unburdened?

Some of it is tangible stuff.

A pink bouncy ball that wasn’t supposed to be bounced all around the room endlessly until I had to grab it.

2 plastic guns that should never have come to school and are now living in my little file cabinet where the confiscated stuff goes because the parent I tried to return them to told me he’s never seen them. Fabulous. Can plastic guns be recycled?

A paper clip that has been fashioned into a pointy thingy and will lead to nothing good.

A file in my head of all of the tattles I wasn’t quite prepared for:

“________ stuck up the middle finger at me.”

“________ said the f word and that I was a dumb a ___.”


Auto replay of all the things I said that I didn’t really expect to say like:

“Give me the gun. Now.” (those plastic ones)

“I am going to hire a security guard for the cloakroom.” (serious thieving happens there)

“Stop stripping the books!” (One child compulsively removes book jackets to find surprises. Serves me right, I’ve taught them to do this.)

“Enough of the kook-a-mung-a-ing” (Is that a thing? It was right after recess)

The shake my head but it won’t shake out stuff that adults did or might do that I can’t even talk about. But wow does it weigh me down.

These things I have collected.

But I also have other pieces. They are sitting on the outskirts waiting for me to notice them. Can I rebuild my day into something to smile at? Tired smiles still count.

Tear traces on the shoulder of my sweater from the child that doesn’t easily cry. That tears came so soon after sadness descended is a good sign. Really.

A paper bracelet sized multiple times to my wrist and fastened with masking tape that says “I leve you” in scrawly pencil.

The “you are reading this for me,” acknowledgement from the child who realized that the picture book we read this morning really was selected for him.

I am now at the top of a hill. I place everything down and unload my bag. One deep breath. A gaze to the horizon. Repacking. Back in go those tear traces, that paper bracelet, that quiet acknowledgement.

Collections from a day.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.


30 thoughts on “Collections from a day: Slice of Life March challenge #8

  1. The first line made me laugh out loud. This slice could have been mine. Except I had a plastic golf ball, pen fashioned as a gun, lanyard string (you know the plastic kind) that “on accident” because “we were just playing’ caused a welt on the bridge of another’s nose. Yes, yes.

    I don’t know if it’s because the energy is really high or because they are too tired from the weekend, but reentry into the classroom on Mondays is hard.

    The writing helps I think. If nothing else, to know all have these moments. Especially on Mondays. Here’s to Tuesday.

  2. You have encapsulated “a day” in such a beautiful way…thank you for sharing the craziness of the classroom!

  3. Carrie,
    This is beautiful. You really capture the challenge of our work, the difficulty of a hard day, and the hope from changing our view just a bit. Finding ways to turn our day around isn’t always easy, but you’ve perfectly captured the possibility in these details of your day.


  4. The beginning of this post cracked me up and lured me in. You have truly captured a day in a classroom in a way that every teacher can appreciate and identify. Let’s just face it, most Mondays stink. Here’s to the rest of your week

  5. Carrie, I absolutely love reading your slices. It is such a view into your classroom- which in some ways is so different and in others so similar to my own. You are an amazing author and have a knack for bringing us right into the picture!

  6. You are not a teacher if you don’t relate to everything in this piece. Love your train of thought. Hope you let some of this go today.

  7. I’m glad you got the “fun stuff” recorded and out of the way so you could concentrate on the good things, Carrie. Now it’s Tuesday and I’m sending best wishes for a fabulous day.

  8. Just beautiful writing, Carrie. Sometimes my husband and I laugh about “sentences we never expected to say”–as well as sentences we never expected to hear. My son greeted me after school today with “Dissection was GREAT! Ms Shepherd kept talking about frog vaginas!” All rightie then. Might have to borrow this idea of Collections from a Day for later in the slicing.

  9. This is so wonderful, Carrie! I, like everyone else, love this piece. I love, especially, how it ends in love and hope – a glimpse into what kind of teacher you are! Inspiring!

  10. This is so beautifully written. Your words capture a teacher’s day perfectly…the good and the bad. The way in which you turned your focus toward the positive is lovely.

  11. Mondays are so hard. You captured so well the frustrations of that never-ending day. I especially appreciated how you ended with a hopeful perspective. This is a good reminder to myself to be more mindful of those other pieces.

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