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

Fun and Run Day

My school is a PBIS school. I am sure I have mentioned this on more occasions than I care to count. PBIS is not just a behaviour-management system, although that is a big component of it. It is a life-management system, and it is one that goes far beyond the walls of the school or the boundaries of the school property. PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, for those who are unfamiliar with the acronym) is a way of living in which we focus on the positive and use positive means to overcome weaknesses. This is why, among many, many, many other reasons, it bothers me when people start talking about eye-for-eye retribution. That isn’t positive. It is just revenge, and, despite the poetic license many choose to take, revenge is a dish best served never.

But I digresss from my original topic.

As a PBIS school, we believe in celebrations. Celebrations in the classroom, within grade levels, and as an entire school community. If we could, I am sure we would expand our celebrations to the entire school neighbourhood, welcoming friends and family from around the area. But we do the best with what we can. Today was the biggest celebration of the year: the annual Wiley Fun and Run Day!

The students spent the morning participating in outdoor carnival type activities, getting snow cones, running relays, playing ring toss games, and doing other such fun activities that let them run around and have fun (hence the name). Of course, it was also cloudy and 64ºF, which meant many of the students initially complained of the cold, but they quickly got over it as they started moving around and playing the games.

After lunch, we had what is probably the most highly-anticipated event of the year (even more anticipated than the walk-a-thon or the 5th grade musical): the teachers versus students kickball game! And, of course, I was part of the teachers’ team. Each of the intermediate classes had voted for two students (one boy and one girl) to be a part of the students’ team. The students put up a good fight, but the teachers prevailed in the end, winning by, I believe, four points. Sadly, I was not able to contribute to any of those points. I only made it to the first base once, getting out the other four times. (I almost made it to the base another time, but I didn’t manage to slide to first quite in time, although I did entertain everyone by sliding, rolling, and flipping on the ground.) The one time I did make it the bases, I wasn’t able to make it to home because one of the teachers after me got out. However, it was all in good fun and everyone enjoyed the match.

The day ended with several teachers getting dunked in a dunk tank that had been rented specifically for this purpose. Students had been given opportunities to earn votes for the teacher of their choice to be in the tank. The teacher with the highest number of votes was in the tank, and the teacher with the second-highest number of votes got to be the one to throw the balls at the target. I had volunteered to be one of the teachers eligible to win, but did not get nearly as many votes as the others. So I didn’t expect to be anywhere near the dunk tank this afternoon.

The teacher with the highest votes was in the tank and actually almost fell in at the first throw, even though the other teacher did not hit the target. After three misses, the one in the tank started to look pretty relaxed. The teacher throwing missed again, then he quickly grabbed a ball and lobbed it straight at the target when she wasn’t looking. The results were hilarious, and everyone had a good time cheering on the teacher who had been such a good sport about it!

Of course, we couldn’t let the money for the tank go to waste, so some other teachers were cheered onto joining in the dunking fun. One by one, the teachers who had volunteered to participate were called in. Several teachers took the seat while their classroom aides took to throwing balls at the target. If the aides didn’t hit the target, someone usually ran up and just pushed the trigger, sending teachers plummeting into the water. I tried to hide in the background, but the students weren’t going to have any of that! I made sure my wallet, keys, and glasses were safe, peeled off my shoes and socks, and sat on the seat over a pool of freezing cold water. (Remember, the air temperature was 64ºF!) The water was as cold as I expected, but there were plenty of thick towels with which to dry off. As I dried off, I happened to glance at my feet, and then started laughing. My wife paints my toenails, and my nails today happened to be bright pink with purple stripes. Several students noticed, and it became quite the stir. I had to explain to my class that nearly all of my brothers and I let our wives paint our toenails. It is just a Valencic family thing we do. (I was also wearing my new Doctor Who shirt today, so my students saw a side of me that they’ve never seen before.)

I spent the rest of the afternoon waiting for my clothes to dry off. My hair and shirt dried quickly. Unfortunately, denim doesn’t dry quick as quickly but I wasn’t too uncomfortable. Besides, it was worth it to be a part of a celebration for the students at my school successfully completing the year! If someone shares the pictures or videos that were taken, I’ll post them on here. I understand there are some pretty good ones out there!


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