The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Walkabout

Today was day three of my awesome week-long assignment as a 6th grade Language Arts teacher in Mahomet. Today was an early dismissal day for the junior high school because the teachers had to attend some mandatory in-service training meetings. As a result, I was done with school a couple hours earlier than usual. Because Gretchen drops me off and picks me up each day, I decided to walk to the Mahomet Public Library to wait for her. Fortunately, it was a beautiful warm afternoon. Unfortunately, I was still wearing my dress shoes and, even worse, my thin dress socks instead of my thick cotton socks.

You see, the Mahomet Public Library is something like two miles from the junior high school. So it was a bit of a hike. A rather painful hike while wearing uncomfortable shoes with thin socks. But it was still a lovely walk.

As I was walking about town, I was stopped by a couple of high school boys in their truck who offered me a ride, but I declined, explaining that I enjoyed walking and that it was a wonderful day. Later on, I was attacked by a crazed swarm of adolescent girls.

Okay, they weren’t really a swarm, and it is probably a bit of hyperbole to call them “crazed,” but this was what happened:

I was approaching a street corner where the local Dairy Queen was located. Suddenly I heard a bunch of yelling and excited screaming that, among other things, included my name (OMG OMG Mr. Valencic! Hey! Mr. Valencic! Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) I looked, and about a dozen or so of the girls from my classes the past few days were running to me, waving their arms and yelling for my attention. This was very much an example of students being surprised to see a teacher outside the school setting. Anyway, the girls dashed across the street, surrounded me, and began to ask me where I was going, why I was walking, and whether or not I remembered their names. We chatted briefly, I explained that I was walking to the library, and I apologised for not remembering all of their names. I bid them all a good afternoon and continued my hike.

An hour later I finally made it to the library and spent the next four hours waiting around until my wife was able to pick me up. I’d tried to get a ride home from other friends, but none of them got the message until she had picked me up. (Don’t worry, though–I have already arranged for a ride tomorrow so that I won’t have to walk a couple of miles and wait around in the library all day.) It was still fun going on a bit of walkabout today, and it was fun to see students outside the classroom; perhaps even more fun for me than for them to see me outside the setting they are used to seeing me in.

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