Friday, December 3, 2010

Mornings at the School

One not so favorite fact of life for teachers is the meet-them, greet-them, get-them-in-the-school chore known as "bus duty." Rainy days, bring an umbrella. Windy days, bundle tighter. Frigid days, add extra layers. Yet, seven o'clock in the morning when the roosters are still announcing the day, watching those yellow buses pull into the drive brings a certain thrill of anticipation. And when the children, regardless of whose class they are in, give the hugs or the smiles...that's when bus duty turns into a reward.

Teaching in a small school means bus duty comes far too often. Get a week of duty over, and boom, here comes another week the next month.

Mornings at Pilot Mountain Schoolhouse from the students' point of view were pure joy. They hurried off the bus, plopped their books down, and headed to the playground. Even the students who walked to school couldn't wait to get there. They were often at the doors greeting the teachers as they arrived. This was the free play time and they didn't want to miss a moment of it. The teacher chaperoned. That was it. Chaperoned, stood back and watched and rarely interfered. The children organized ball games. They made their own rules for marbles. They took turns at the swings. They settled their disagreements themselves.

The older students welcomed the younger children to their games. They mentored them, taught them the rules and the possibilities. The younger students chose role models, learned how things work. They played hard. They ran and sweated, even on frosty mornings when their breath puffed in little clouds.

When the bell rang, they lined up outside and went to their classes. They were ready to settle. Their minds were awakened by the exercise. Their bodies had worked through the squirmies.

Mornings at Pilot Mountain Schoolhouse. Could it work today?

Catch of the day,



  1. my guess is that students today need more of this running-around exercise (and to keep warm!) that these kids had. Wonder why there's so much more obesity these days? here might be the answers!

  2. Gretchen,

    I very fondly remember recess before school. It was the best part of the day. It's so obvious that you have a background in education. You know how the teachers disliked bus duty and how they melted with a hug.

    Linda A.