As we enter the home stretch (16 days and counting) until the accreditation team arrives, there is much to be done. Nerves are frayed, computers are behaving badly, rewrites abound, and yet those of us at the epicenter have managed to keep our sense of humor. Atop this stress today came another chaos -- the annual Field Day, where kids in blue shirts compete against kids in white shirts, and employees are very careful to wear neither color (I went with purple and aqua to be safe).
Near the end of the school day, my phone rang. It was the parent of an 11th grader who had been home sick today. She wondered if I could go to his locker, retrieve his history notebook and get it to her 6th grader to bring home. No one had answered when she'd called the division -- everyone was out watching the Tug of Conflict (only in a Quaker school). I took down the particulars including the location of his locker ("near the baaaaaaaathroom" he said in his most disdainful 11th grade tone) and headed down the hall, hoping to be done with the errand before Field Day ended and hundreds of hormones in sweaty stampeding bodies burst through the door.
I failed. I got the notebook okay, but had to wend my way back through the hordes of upper schoolers to get down to middle school before their dismissal (earlier than the upper school end of day). When I got there, the hall was swarming with the directionless bugs that middle schoolers often are; one of the teachers helped me to find the kid brother, who had red hair and a grin cute enough to make one rethink one's prejudice against middle schoolers.
As I started back, feeling good about "mission accomplished" I ran into -- literally -- a tall woman with a spaniel of some sort on the end of a leash, snuffling and wagging amidst the kids. I tried nicely to ask her not to bring the dog inside the school, and made reference to allergies and hygiene. She scooped the offending pup into her arms (it was almost as cute as the red head had been) and stormed off saying, "I need to find my daughter!"
When I got back to office, I began to tackle what was being billed as the last of the revisions, when my door opened. In came Mrs. Middle School, dogless, and began to take me to task for speaking to her "the way that I did." She said that her daughter had been in the school since kindergarten and no one had ever said anything about not bringing the dog into the school. I was surprised at that, because I remembered sending out an all-parent bulletin on the subject about six years ago, but I thought better of mentioning it. She wouldn't have been able to hear it or anything else; she was on that great of a rant. Furthermore, she was not the kind of person who "flaunts the rules." I waited until she calmed down and thanked her for coming in and saying that I was sorry that she was so upset by our encounter. Neither of us felt good at the end of her visit, but out she went.
Fully expecting this not to be the end of it (you have to remember that families pay a tremendous amount of money for tuition and some of them develop a strong sense of entitlement), I documented the incident, and finished the "last" of the revisions to the student records section. Then the phone rang, and although we don't have caller ID, we can tell when a call is coming from on campus or outside. It was the latter. I almost didn't answer it, so convinced was I that it was Mrs. Middle School calling with yet another round of ammunition.
"This is Alice R," said the voice on the other end. "I just wanted to call and thank you for getting that notebook and giving it to my son to bring home. You were so nice to do that!"
What a good way to end a crazy day.
PS: I never heard whether Blue or White won.