Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stories from a Middle School English Teacher: Valentine's FlashBack

Valentine's Day PTSD

Many moon ago near Valentine's Day a co-Worker and I decided to come up with a secret gift exchange. Below is the message we sent out:

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
It’s that Time of year
And here’s an idea for you!
Hello all!!!It's that Time of year again for our favorite random commercial winter holiday. No, I'm not talking about Groundhog Day, but the ever popular VALENTINE'S DAY!!!! We, as middle school educators, deal with the raging hormones of our delightful students and need some love ourselves. What I am proposing is we have a secret Valentine exchange. Henceforth all participants shall be called “Cheery Cherubs”.

Each day from February 9-12 we propose that you give your Cheery Cherub a small Valentine’s Day themed gift or scrumptious treat. These gifts should be under a dollar because, heck, its budget cut season, people. The last day, February 13, you should give your Cheery Cherub a token of your affection, or at least appreciation. Keep the gifts simple, conversation hearts, a self composed poem (Roses are red works), or something else sweet. The gift on the last day should be under $5. February 13 is a half day for students so this is the ideal Time to reveal your identity to your Cheery Cherub.

Please reply to this email or let me or Ms. Potter know that you would like to participate. We need to know by next Wednesday, February 4, 2009 by 3:30. On Thursday, we will come around for you to select someone to “Be Yours” (at least for the week).

Let’s have fun with this!!!

The Cupids of The Middle School,
E. Miller and K. Potter

I usually abhor Valentines Day but on this particular Valentines Day many moons ago I showed up to school excited about the final day of the Cheery Cherubs exchange. When I walked into school I noticed that it seemed a little more dreary than normal in school. It turns out that the entire school was lacking power and wouldn’t be on for the rest of the day. The excitement about the Cheery Cherubs exchange quickly changed into excitement that we were probably going to get to go home!

The administration, as always, had other plans. They gathered the teachers in the library and told us they didn’t want to send all the schools home and run the buses twice so they were going to put us on buses and ship us to the high school gymnasium. We asked if we could go to our classrooms and get supplies to teach with. We were told that they couldn’t allow that because it could be a liability for them. Instead we were told that once inside the gymnasium we were to find out second period students and sit with them until 3:10. The teacher next to me spoke up and said, “So, we are not supposed to teach, we are supposed to SIT with our kids for 7 hours. Basically what you are saying is that we are glorified babysitters for the day?” The administrators just stared at her before saying, “I’m sure you’ll think of something” and shooed us onto waiting buses.

When we got to the gymnasium I gathered all of my students and directed them to a row of bleachers. We spent the next 7 hours like refugees from a national disaster stuck in a hot, screaming loud, and crowded gym, but with fewer privileges. I can’t remember all of the things we teachers came up with to entertain and educate my students because I think I have blocked most of it due to the PTSD I acquired due to the experience.

In the end we did make it through the horrible experience with surprisingly little hiccups. At the end of the day the principal came into the gym with a loudspeaker and said that we all did such a wonderful job behaving that he was going to personally ask if we could have the day off from school the next day. He said to consider it a personal Valentine’s Day gift from him.

I went home relatively thrilled, aside from the PTSD I had acquired. By the time I had gotten home the school had left a message on my answering machine that said, “School will be operating as usual tomorrow, please come in 30 minutes early for a faculty meeting.”

I swore like a sailor and went to bed early with a box of chocolates in hand hoping for better luck the next Valentine's Day


  1. I cannot imagine 7 hours of babysitting my kids. That story will very likely work its way into my future nightmares, taking its place alongside the usual rotation of out-of-control classes and forgetting to show up for work.

  2. Wow! What an experience. Hopefully that is the worst that will happen!