Two minutes. There are several things I have learned how to do in two minutes this year while teaching. Like running up to the office, getting something and being back in my class, going to the bathroom, taking a power break, etc.
I had a whole new two minute experience today.
We are in the cooking lab making taco soup and pineapple salsa. My district mentor is in there observing me. Everything was going great! The students were on task, everyone was working together and staying in their assigned kitchens. Everything appeared to be going smoothe and so my mentor left.
I'm pretty sure she had only been gone a few minutes before my real two minute lesson started. If only she could have stayed to see what I really deal with... Actually if only she could have stayed to help me figure out how to face everything....
I was walking around the lab and I see a student biting another kid on the shoulder. Um, I seriously have zero idea what to do. Definitely had no classes on biting and have no clue what the consequence should be. I send biting student out to the hall so I can try to think for a moment and check out the other kid's shoulder. Luckily, the bite did not break through the skin and that kid was fine. (Thinking about it now, I probably should have figured out why the biting took place... But I way did not think of that in the moment.)
Meanwhile, about 10-15 seconds after I sent the biter to the hall and was looking at the bite mark, another group of kids come to me with an announcement that a kid in their kitchen is bleeding. Leave the shoulder bite kid, I go to my bleeding student. Apparently, my bleeding kid was hurt somehow from opening a can. Tell some other students to go get paper towels and have bleeding kid sit down, wrap it in paper towel, apply pressure and hold the finger above the head.
I still don't know what to do with the biter student and decide the office sounds like a great option at this point. I don't have time to figure it out because I have to be in the cooking lab helping and supervising and trying to now deal with another problem. I go out to the hall and tell my biter to go up to the office. Then I come back in and page the office on my "panic" button. Tell them that I just sent a student up for biting and I have another one in my classroom bleeding and I'm not sure what to do with either. They told me to send up the bleeding kid as well.
Done. I can handle sending people out of my room and then not having to deal with it. Bleeding kid walks to the office.
Just after my conversation with the intercom/ office ended, a different student comes up to me holding a wet dish towel to one eye and proceeds to tell me that the pepper must have shot juice into that eye because now it was burning. I have my pepper juice kid splash water into the eye trying to rinse it out. I would have helped this kid more but right about that same time, can opener kid comes back in the room. The bandaid covering the cut is totally soaked through with blood. I send can opener kid back to the office with instructions to have the office put something better on it that won't bleed through.
Back to pepper juice kid--I am wondering if the office wants to take another one of my students at this point. But the kid told me that it was no longer burning and everything felt fine with normal vision. Pepper juice kid stays.
Can opener kid returns again with a humongous white thing taped to the finger. I learned at this point that it was this kid's birthday. Lovely. But everything was dandy and the huge white covering was doing its job so it was back to the kitchen to help finish up the lab.
Sigh... All of this seriously happened in about two minutes--tops. Three major incidents. I think I handled them all well, especially considering I didn't know what to do with one of them.
Just when I was about to catch my breath, in walks the assistant principal and wants all of my biter student's stuff. Apparently biting is severe enough that you don't get to come back to class. The assistant principal also checks out the shoulder that was eaten but wasn't concerned about that kid. Off goes the assistant principal with the binder.
Luckily that wraps up all the events for the period. Life was back to normal. The students enjoyed the lab and then worked well together cleaning up.
I'm telling you two minutes is a long enough time to learn a major life lesson-- today I learned three. :)