Thursday, January 23, 2014

You did what?

After one of my weekly visits on Monday night to #tlap, I decided to do Dave Burgess's idea.  I asked fellow teachers if anyone had crutches and a foot or leg brace.

No, it was not for April Fool's Day.  It was a way to open up the writing portion of our personal narrative unit. As the storyteller, Len Cabral, has said the best and most memorable stories are "scar" stories.  The timing couldn't have been better since the day before ended up being a snow day which led me to come up with a perfect sledding accident.

I knew that students may see me walk into school so I had to be dressed and ready from home.  I had my husband drop me off at the front of my school.  I couldn't wait to see everyone's reactions including the staff.  The teachers who greet at the door every morning were in shock and wanted to know what happened.

The best reaction came from the principal.  Since we were hired as teachers in the same year, he was completely and utterly in shock since after 15 years I have never shown up to work like this.  I wish I had videoed or got a photo of his reaction.  I had to tell him it wasn't real since he was so concerned about me.

The students were so concerned about what happened to me.  Everyone wanted to know what happened.  I simply said, "I'll tell you during class."

I thought for sure that my movements around the classroom were giving away that my leg was not really hurt.  Never in my life have I needed crutches, so I wasn't sure exactly how I needed to behave with my leg.

No matter how many times I rehearsed the "sledding accident" story, I felt like it wasn't believable enough.  I had to spend time researching what kind of leg issue would need a leg brace to make it more "real".  Thankfully it's seventh graders, and for the most part, they still believe what people tell them.  I made my "sledding accident" a short and sweet but then moved on to real "scar" stories.

All day the students were extra kind and helpful.  They held the door for me, carried things, and did everything I needed them to do.  During the telling of the story for my last class, I stood in front of them and ripped off the leg brace and tossed the crutches aside.  Students mouths dropped.  Others yelled out, "I knew you were faking!"  I went to the two other classrooms where they rest of the students were.  I walked in and simply asked the teacher a fake question while the students stared at me in disbelief.  As I left I said, "Yes I was faking it."

By the end of the day, I couldn't wait to take that leg brace off.  I have never walked so slow around the school nor felt as helpless as I did that day.  The following day I had so much pain in my back and arms muscles for using them like I never had before that I began to wonder if it was worth it.  As I reflected on how quickly and how many ideas flowed out of the students' brains and onto their planning sheets, I knew it was worth all the "pain and suffering".

After putting this picture on Instagram even my family was concerned until they read my comment.

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