“14, 16, 18, 19, 20.”
I spend all day counting kids. Once they’ve all arrived for the day, I spend the rest of it counting them up, figuring out how many are missing.
“20 today. 14 at the carpet. 2 at the water fountain. So currently 4 . . . ?”
They are somewhere of course. Lingering in the bathroom. Shuffling along the halls. Hiding behind doors. Not coming in from outside. Walking slower than slow.
“I count 18. Is that someone in the cloakroom? So down just 1?”
Resisting what’s expected for resisting’s sake. To be in control. To have power. Just because.
“20. 15 are in the room. 2 in the washroom. And the rest are . . . ?”
Feeling disagreeable and out of sorts. Trying on emotions that might fit that feeling. Sad? Mad? Wronged? Frustrated?
“I’m at 16. You? Oh, no, is that yelling in the hall one of ours?”
Passive aggression is an art form. I have some well developed artists. Breathe deep.
“Thank you to all 10 of you who made it back to the classroom after the bell went. Who knows where . . . ?”
We joke that we need a daily search party. That we can deploy multiple times.
“Why do I keep getting 19? Who is missing? Did the one to one reader pick someone up?”
Reasons are a mix of simple and complicated. Our classroom is home. They all make it back. The door is never closed.
“I think they’re all here. Count again. 20. Every one.”
I spend all day counting kids.
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.
So true! I especially connect with how you’re deal with you emotions in the moment as well as the various places you consider they could be. “Our classroom is home.” What a line and truism!
Thank goodness it is true!
I really enjoyed how you formatted your slice and can totally relate to that ongoing counting. Oh, and that horrible feeling: “Is that yelling in the hall one of ours?” Thankfully my students keep tabs on each other! Thanks for sharing.
Mind do too so they can tell me, “He is playing down in the bathroom!”
This made me laugh! I used to always joke when we went on field trips that I had no idea what the kids had seen, because I spent the entire day counting my little friends, and trying to make sure we hadn’t left anyone at the monkey cage or at the penguin pool.
Oh, yes field trips are especially hard!
Yes! This is the life of a teacher! And our loved ones wonder why we are so exhausted when we come home!
So true! It’s a never, ever stop job!
This is how I feel on field trips. Usually not on a regular school day. Once again, the structure of your writing is well done, easy to read, like a poem.
Thanks Margaret. In my room, this is an every day thing!
Counting… what a great way to create a slice and share something that we can so easily relate to. Counting… even as a high school teacher… on trips for sure…. at play rehearsals.. Counting… I love it!!!!
So pleased you enjoyed this.
I love the structure of this, the back and forth thinking and counting. A perfect example of a slice of the teacher life.
It really is those everyday details that we can all connect with isn’t it?
Previous commenters have expressed my thoughts too. In my days of retirement, I’d forgotten about the perpetual counting of heads. Thanks for bringing that back to my mind and now I get to smile because my counting days are in the past. 🙂
I can imagine it triggered a memory! 🙂
I’m laughing and shaking my head in agreement. The bonus for me this year is that I have a couple of kids who are really good at keeping track of where everyone is and who is doing what! Some teachers would complain that they are in everyone’s business–I prefer to think of it as a gift.
Agreed! We need all the help we can get!
So fun to hear about your counting, and with those little ones, needed. My students (when out of the building) did their own counting out to be sure we were all present, ready for the next thing. Inside, hopeful that they were doing something they were supposed to be doing. It sounds like you have a few who like the ‘hiding out’.
Oh I do! Let me tell you . . .
I got so used to counting kids, I numbered them all and we started using their numbers to practice math. We’re missing an odd number! I think a number divisible by 3 is missing!
Field trips – you may only have a group of 4 or 5 but you spend all day counting those heads! And since the teacher usually assigns the most distractible children to herself (right?) it’s even more difficult. No wonder I always came home from our 1st grade field trip to the zoo with a headache!
Oh yes, we always keep the most “active” with us. Field trips can be exhausting!
Is this the truth! My nightmares were always field trip days. I never stopped counting on those days. At least on regular classroom days, I would only count after a transition. I loved the repeating line through this! It really emphasized how much of the day is spent counting heads.
In my world, a lot!!!
Yes, the underlying anxiety that goes with the possibility of losing a kiddo. Your structure plays with that anxiety, or at least I felt it building until you had all 20! Some really powerful lines here, esp. about why we count?! “Passive aggression is an art form. I have some well developed artists. Breathe deep.” A beautifully articulated confession. Enjoyed this a lot!
Thank you! It’s our daily routine 🙂
Still grinning! They are slippery little fish! Even my 7th graders evade my count. Enjoyed this slice.
Slippery little fish indeed!
This sounds like me on field trips…. and sometimes at my own kids’ birthday parties or play dates… when I can’t quite turn off the teacher brain!
It is hard to turn it off or at least put it on mute isn’t it?
So funny, so true. And isn’t it amazing that we know the moment we need to count. Something disturbs our teacher sense and triggers the count. Not enough bodies? The cough has stopped? A missing voice? A movement out the corner of our eye? Thank you for a slice from every preschool / primary teacher’s day.
🙂 Thanks Alice. I think this situation is one all of us relate to!