Friday, October 24, 2008

Wait? What?!

So, I generally like the administration at my school. Both the Principal and Vice Principal are very nice ladies. They are both also new to our school. We have had so many changes this year that I think many of our heads are about thisclose to exploding. New math program, about half of our staff is new, new reading ideology, etc, etc, etc... But we have all been dealing pretty well, I think.

Yesterday was a different story for me. I was walking out of the builing at a little after 4 (because really what teacher ever gets out on time?) My Principal was still in her office and had the door open. I waved bye and a "have a good night" and kept walking. Then I hear, "Katie, can you come in here for a minute?" Umm, ok. I know I haven't done anything wrong so I wasn't worried, but our principal has a way of grabbng people and roping them into teaching staff development activities or going to classes and such. No. It wasn't any of those types of things. It was her telling me thatI can't bring my kids out for the FIVE MINUTE break that I give them to use the restroom and run off a bit of energy. Seriously people, five minutes. I bring a timer. After they've been in school for 2 hours and are getting antsy.

I used to troop all my kids down and stand in line while they all used the restroom, but that seemed like a waste of time to me. Some kids never needed to go but they had to stand there quietly anyways while we waited for EVERYONE to finish and line up again. Ugh! Talk about a waste of academic time.

This year, I started bringing them outside for five minutes and allowing them to run on the field for five minutes. Anyone that needed to use the restroom or get a drink - this was their time to do it. And it's been amazing how many fewkids I've had leaving my classroom during work times. I just ask, "Can you wait until our break time?" and usually they have no problem with that. They really just need a break for a minute or two.

(A little background here. My kids don't get a "recess." They have whatever time they get before the bell rings in the morning and ten minutes before lunch. And that's IF we get out perfectly on time. Which is rare.)

So, my principal has decided that my break time is a waste of my precious academic time and I need to do the line up and wait thing again. Yes, you're right. Much better use of my time. Oh, but to make it "academic" I should bring Brainquest or "sponge" activities, or just ask questions like "who can give me three combinations of 10?" Yes, what a blast. Now, mind you my kids LOVE Brainquest. We do a few questions every day at the end of school. But they need a break! I don't think five minutes is hurting anything. Infact, I really think it helps because they can get out and clear their heads. Heck, it gives ME five minutes to clear my head.

So, now that I have written a small novel and completely rambled, what do you think? Should kids have the chance to have a short break from classroom routine or is it too much of a loss to the time they're in school? What was recess like when you were in school? If you're a teacher, what is recess like at your school? How long do your kids get outside?


v said...

I know that there is that whole options issue. However, I don't want options. For the past three years, I've been very certain that I don't want the possibility. Cardo has also been very sure (at least that's what he's told me). We're finished having kids...which always makes me feel like some mutant female, but there you have it. Now, I'm going to go back and read your new post. I noticed something about the principal.

v said...

Okay, as for the post...I'm all for a balance between taking care of our minds and our bodies. It's not healthy for us to sit for long periods of time and I don't think that it's reasonable to ask kids, especially, to do this. Five minutes for them to use up excess energy seems great to me (actually, it seems a bit short). And, I will never get over the no recess thing.

Rach said...

Apparently your Principal has forgotten that kids still need to be kids. I remember recess being my favorite time of the day. Being able to get out of the class room and run free for a bit made the day so much better. I would say you rebel, but I am not sure if that is a fireable offense or not. I think it is great that you took the time to see what your kids really needed and I am sorry that it is being taken away from you. GOod luck.

Just Me said...


My kids have whatever time before school till 8:25. Then they get 15 minutes from 10:30-10:45am. Lunch is from 12:15-1:10 then they are sent home at 2:45.

I would try saying that you are doing "mini PE" lessons and take 15 minutes and let those who need to take a break, and the others can participate in the activity.

My class could USE that break (sad to say... but these kids are CRAZY- and I live them!)


v said...

The only reaosn I knew about that following thing was because my one follower showed up on my dashboard. I still have to add many, many blogs.

v said...

Sore throat. I'm tired of being sick. I had better not be sick during spring semester. I'm tired of this. How are you feeling?

JenM said...

Wow, just FYI, my crazy stinky 6th graders get 15-45 minutes!!! We have an hour lunch/recess block. Recess time is also our "contact" time to do interventions, hold kids in for missing homework, etc. A kid who doesn't have to stay gets to go out after about 15 minutes of lunchtime.

Your principal is nuts!