Our schools just began a month long engrossment with our state’s high stakes, standardized testing (MEAs). Staff are stressed out with the disruption of schedules, technology demands, and strict rules (no looking at student screens or student test books, two teachers in the room at all times, no other electronic devices in the room, etc).
So to add to the mayhem, fifteen minutes into the testing yesterday afternoon we are assaulted with the “ERRR…ERRRR…ERRRR…” of the fire alarm. We teachers know this one wasn’t planned. The kids calmly evacuate with practiced perfection. Unfortunately, part of that protocol is an admonition to take nothing with you-including coats.
It’s 24 degrees outside. I’m walking out with a group of bare armed kindergarteners.
Teachers line up their classes, take a head count, check for stragglers. And we wait.
“Is this a real fire?”
“This is just practice.”
The emergency vehicles are first heard, and then seen. One. Two. Three. Four. Four different fire and ladder trucks pull up.
“Why are the fire trucks here?”
“They need to practice too.”
A paramedic vehicle arrives. I don’t think we are going in anytime soon.
“I’m cold”. “My ears hurt.” “I want my coat.”
This is not good. “Ok guys…huddle up! Come here and snuggle up together!”
The kids flock to my legs and waist! I try to move the sleeveless kiddos to the center. When I look down at these cuties I am reminded of a beehive in winter. There the bees cluster into a ball and take turns switching from the outer to inner parts of the core. They generate a heat of about 93 degrees in the dead of winter! These honeybees begin to giggle and smile. This is good.
“Hey, let’s take a picture of our huddle!” I snap a bird’s eye view of these busy bees.
We enlist some older students with coats (they were already out at recess) to form an outer wall around our littlest. What a cool hive!
Before we know it, the all-clear bell sounds and we untangle and disband our snuggle ball. We trek back into the school. Toward the end of the day I walk to the kindergarten to share the pictures I took with their teacher.
“Hey, you’re the one who snuggled us!” Several students run over and throw their arms around me.
Now I know how the queen bee feels. I love this colony.
…You can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.
from Royals by Lorde
(Just to be clear, their teacher is the true queen bee! She is amazing. I just got a chance to visit that hive and feel the love they give her everyday!)