Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Just What I Needed

Senior prank day. Who started this tradition?

Eight years ago, seniors broke into the school and filled thousands of dixie cups with water and placed them in every square inch of the common areas. It was a shock walking in and discovering the mined floor. Everyone got to work emptying cups. It was kind of mind boggling, kind of sweet.

But they'd taken the prank just one step too far and broken into the headmaster's office and laced it with underwear. The headmaster was more concerned about the private documents in his office than the underwear---or was he?

So this year when the mumblings of senior prank began, I held my breath. Hoped their enthusiasm would wither like it does with end of year assignments. They seemed to get creative as the days loomed closer.

Each senior English/history class decided they would create their own prank.

One of my classes decided to build a blanket fort in the main hallway.

They had spoken so openly in class, I thought each prank was already sanctioned by administration. Maybe they just trusted me or took me for a fool. As soon as class began, they were off! Dashing out of the school to their cars, to bring in a tent, blankets, stuffed animals and pajamas!

As they enthusiastically began to patch, string up, and create, a thought came to mind.

"Did you get permission for this?"

The previous class had played loud music from the in-class phone-intercom system. I heard the director was furious since students were still testing. Oops. My room. The responsible teacher had faltered.

When the answer was "Yes," I believed the little darlings. Paranoid from the previous prank's interruption, I went to administration just to be safe.

"Who did they get permission from?" the academic advisor asked.

Oops. I called the director; she answered: "My concern is if the fire marshal came; is it obstructing any doors?"

I didn't think so, but I told her I'd give them ten more minutes. But they hadn't finished and hadn't had a chance to enjoy their daring creativity.

Feeling like a traitor, I went to the next level. I needed someone to see it and okay it. I needed support. The operations officer's door was open. She was in a good mood and came out to see the fort. She smiled.

I relaxed. We let them have their fun.

When the bell rang, the younger students gathered in the main hallway to gawk with surprise. I was left to stand guard next to the sign that said "Seniors Only."

I knew it was all worth it, when a middle school student, gawky, braces, gold colored polo shirt that flatters no one, stood beside me, in her tense days before finals and sighed with relief, "This just makes me happy."

I turned to acknowledge her happy state all the while thinking of my own panic and reserve. "Can you tell me why?" I pleaded.

She shrugs her shoulders and says, "I don't know; it's just what I needed to day."

And she is just what I needed.

No comments: