Perhaps it was the ice storm that left the playground like a skating rink nestled among trees.  Or perhaps it was the freezing temperatures day after day, because we have not been outside at school.  Whatever the reason, today was a day not to be remembered.  By mid morning I felt cranky.  So did the children.  I did the best thing I could do, picked up a book that was tuned into the moment- No, David, by David Shannon.

I was feeling just like David’s mother.  The children must have been feeling like David.  We read the book together six times.  Six!  Then we laughed.  Then we belly laughed.

The children have been moving and jumping and singing for days.  Today they were tired of their favorite songs.  They began fighting over their favorite toys. Even the best Beanie Babies were left on the floor.  Yelling?  Pushing?  Yup! Children who don’t cry cried.  When a child pushed another child at our Morning Meeting, I stopped to say that pushing is not okay.  She stuck her tongue out at me.


I must have looked sad or shocked.  I had no words.  I was stunned.  Before I could do anything, children stood up and came to give a big hug.  Unprompted.  They just did it.

Perhaps reading No, David had struck a nerve.  Even a classroom full of good hearts can have a bad day.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in behavior, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Kindness, picture books, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to 1-800-Help!

  1. Ritu says:

    This is touching Jennie! We all have our bad days!

  2. Darlene says:

    Being cooped up inside will do that to children. Glad it all ended in a hug.

  3. Sounds like a tough one. This is why the teacher’s lounge should have a Hennesy Cooler.

  4. TGIF – Monday can only be better, right?
    I do sympathize with all concerned: teacher, kiddos and ahem…parents! 😉
    Didn’t you write a post about calling for help on a fake phone one time and the kids responded well…hmmm or is that a figment of another blogger’s post?

    • Jennie says:

      Yes! I did write another blog post, where I called Viola Swamp. Same kind of a day. Those do happen, and 1-800 generally comes to mind. Thanks, Laura!

  5. L. Marie says:

    I love that the children came up and hugged you, Jennie. A hug can be so healing.

  6. John Howell made me laugh. 😉 I can just see what you have been dealing with for days of being cooped up. I was getting that way a little my self. 🙂 It’s so sweet how they come out of it. Have a delightful weekend, Jennie. Smiling into mine now. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      John Howell always makes me laugh. He’s one of the best. Maybe cabin fever set in today. It was quite a day, to say the least. Thank you, Marlene. Happy weekend! 🙂

  7. Dan Antion says:

    What a nice way to work through the blues. You have great kids – a reflection on their teacher, I think.

  8. We all have our bad days, Jennie. It’s reassuring that they happen to you, too! 😉 Of course, a book and the big hearts of your little ones came to the rescue! Here’s hoping Monday is a better day. 😊 – Susan

  9. beetleypete says:

    ‘Cranky’ is such a good word. I always forget to use it.
    Great to see the kids realising that they had gone too far, and soothing you with that cuddle.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  10. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    More fun and wisdom from the pre-school classroom of Jennie Fitzkee. Everyone had cabin fever with the wintery weather.. so time for a good book and a hug..

  11. Sweet relating of sweet things….a great group of children and a wonderful, wise teacher!

  12. Pingback: 1-800-Help! – The Militant Negro™

  13. Oh boy, I remember those long winter days with young kids. Hopefully you’ll be getting some good days soon to play outside!

  14. Thanks for this, Jenny. I’ve been visiting schools with my books, and almost all the classes have been wonderful. I do wonder how teachers cope when the students have a bad day.

  15. Of course they can, Jennie. When I was attending school an approaching thunderstorm and heavy rain always seemed to make us all go completely mad and uncontrollable.

  16. I understand every word of this!

  17. dgkaye says:

    Perhaps it was a full moon Jennie! 🙂

  18. Mary Bond says:

    Loved the post but have a hard time picturing a cranky Jennie—doesn’t seem possible!

  19. Jennie, you tell so vividly of an ordinary day, making it seem extraordinary. Hugs

  20. Katie O'Boyle says:

    This is awesome! Not every teacher has the greatest day in the world but this puts it into perspective that even though kids can act as happy as a clam, they can switch in a second!

  21. Norah says:

    Lovely honest sharing, Jennie. I’m sure everyone, including the girl herself, was shocked when she poked out her tongue. Sometimes things just need to reach a point for calm to return. What a wonderful response from the children. They love you so.

  22. willedare says:

    Wonderful to read about your not-entirely-wonderful day… Hurrah for human hearts of all shapes and sizes!

  23. Being cooped up does things to all of us. The hug was a sweet gesture from your class. No David is one of my favorite picture books too.

  24. jjspina says:

    How sweet, Jennie. Children can drive you crazy one minute and then melt your heart the next. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the book. Most parents say ‘no’ to their children many more times than they can imagine over the years. Sometimes some of the things we say do sink in. Sigh! 😆

    • Jennie says:

      So glad you enjoyed this, Janice. Yes, children can swing from cranky to sweethearts all in a moment. I think the reason the book is so popular is because of what you said; parents saying no more times than they can imagine. Therefore, both child and parent thoroughly enjoy the book, together.

  25. Aww, what a great group hug. Hope you’re having a much better week. I imagine the kids (and you) are excited about Valentine’s Day. 🙂

  26. John Fioravanti says:

    Good grief, Jennie, you blew me away… again! Thanks for sharing this gem.

  27. reocochran says:

    I’m so glad you have pictures which include yourself, Jennie! So often the teacher is also wearing her or his “hat” for photography. Then, there isn’t a record of your contribution. The class hug is a wonderful gift to receive. 💞 You’re the best, Jennie.

  28. atmikapai says:


  29. ren says:

    Perfect! Love it! Thanx again

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