My classroom has spiders crawling along the top of the lockers and bats flying around the ceiling. Most people in that situation would call an exterminator. However at this time of the year, it is par for the course in my room. I must add I have an infestation of jack-o-lanterns and ghosts, too.
For my students, October is a month of field trips. On October 5, the first graders and I went to the fairgrounds for the annual FFA Farm and Safety Awareness Days. As usual, the young men and women of the FFA did a great job with the children. This year due to the rain, the event was held inside the new Dairy Barn.
I may have been the only one overjoyed about the weather. This year I am using a cane due to a bad hip. I was a little concerned as to whether I would be able to walk all around the fairgrounds, with only bales of straw for seating. Since the event was indoors, table and chairs had been set up for lunch. That’s real chairs, the kind I can sit on and get up from! At the end of the day I asked the children what their favorite station was and one little girl said it was where she got to pet the horse because she had never met a “real live horse in person before.”
The preschool through second graders went to Brumbaugh’s Farm on the following Monday. The children had a great time even though the weather was a little damp. We never had any actual rain, but at times it seemed a little misty. This year due to all the rain, the children did not go into the field to pick their pumpkins. They chose from “pre-picked” pumpkins in a large box. Brumbaugh’s is by far the winner in the favorite field trip contest! Later this month, the kindergarten through fourth grades will visit some local retirement homes and sing Halloween songs for the residents.
October is the month of the Holy Rosary. Eighth grade students have been taking turns leading the beginning of the Rosary for the school. Each class then finishes the Rosary throughout the day. Because I have younger students, we just say a decade. By the way, if you are looking for a test to gauge your patience, try teaching first and second graders how to “work a rosary”.
On October 25, prevention educators from the Council on Child Abuse came to our school to present a workshop on personal safety, with an emphasis on bullying. There was an hour-long presentation in each classroom with an opportunity for the children to meet individually with a prevention educator to discuss any concerns. Several years ago, the same group presented a workshop on sexual abuse for the children and did an excellent job presenting age appropriate material.
We will be celebrating Halloween a little early this year. The Halloween parties and the eighth graders’ haunted classroom will be on Friday, October 27. The preschoolers through seventh graders will dress up and we will have several Halloween parades. The preschoolers, of which there are four classes, will visit the classrooms in costumes during their class times. The rest of the students will participate in the parade before the parties with the kindergarteners leading. The kindergarteners will start off by parading through the first and second grade classroom. My students will join them as we make our way to the third and fourth grade classroom. We continue on until we have everyone, then, weather permitting we go outside. During the morning the classes will have the opportunity to, if they dare, go through the eighth graders’ haunted classroom. So far, the eighth graders have been very secretive. I haven’t heard anything about their plans.
I would like to end on a little different note. Often one hears a lot of negative stories about the youth of today. There are stories of gang violence and drugs, just to name two. I would like to tell you a different type of story, one about kindness and consideration. As I mentioned, I am hobbling around with a bad hip. One morning as I was trudging up the stairs one of the junior high students asked if she could carry something for me. I have had children purposely wait to see if I need a door open. My students have been wonderful carrying things for me. Remember the chair that I was so overjoyed to have at the FFA field trip? Well, I wasn’t the one to carry that chair from station to station. So if you are a little overwhelmed by all those other stories, just remember there are way more kids like the ones here at St. Mary’s.
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.