I knew they were planning something. Ten year-olds have a hard time containing their excitement, and still seem to believe that if a person can't SEE you, they can't hear you, either. All week I'd been hearing comments like, "Friday is going to be the best day ever!" quickly followed by "Shhh! Don't tell her that!!!" and "Miss Hillary, you're going to be so surprised!" again follwed by, "Shhhh!!!!" Yesterday at lunch, I was walking from my class to the staffroom and passed some of my students working at a table in the hallway. I was no more than six feet past them when I heard, "Oh my gosh, she jsut walked past!" "Do you think she saw?" "I can't believe she jsut walked by!" "We need to go hide this stuff!" I tried to keep my body rigid to mask the fully body shakes that surely would have accomapnied the laughter that was pouring out of me, albeit silently.
I figured they were making me a birthday card and might be drawing a happy birthday sign on the blackboard or something. Nothing could have prepared me for what I walked into today...
My plan was to arrive a little early and 'conveniently' leave the classroom door open and go do some prep elsewhere so the kids could do whatever. BUT, I slept a little late and had a few early phone calls from friends and family, so I didn't end up getting to school till about 20 minutes before the bell.
I didn't even have the car door closed when I heard one of my students calling to me from accross the street and in the playground, "Miss Hillary, I need help with my socials! I didn't get it."
"Ok, M, let's let me get into the school first, ok? I'll meet you up in the classroom." Always on duty, apparently.
There must have been a memo or something, because EVERYONE knew it was my birthday today. I tell you, I couldn't round any corner without well wishes from students and staff alike. It was so sweet!
As I approached the stairs to my room, I heard whispers of, "Here comes Miss Hillary!" "Sh! She's COMING!" There were a few kids waiting outside my door, which was decorated with balloons and a great big sign wishing me happy birthday. Aw!
But that was nothing compared to what awaited me when I walked in. As I opened my door, I hear a voice from inside my room counting down.
3... 2... 1...
As I walked in, kids from both grade 5 classes came pouring out of the cloakroom yelling SURPRISE!!! The room was covered in balloons, streamers, and all kinds of twisty balloon animals and shapes. I was shocked! The kids were BUSTING with exitement, all rallying around me with birthday wishes and stories of how they had pulled this all together. Apparently while they've been in grammar thislast week with Mme M, one of the other grade 5 teachers, they'd been doing a crash course in party planning. There were about 20 kids who had been at school since SEVEN THIRTY in the morning setting up. That's over an hour before school starts. I was blown away.
Even M, who accosted me for help with socials, was in on it. "Miss Hillary, I was a decoy! I had to stall you! Didn't I do a good job???" Laughing, I told him, "Yes! You did! I was WONDERING what so so ipmortant that you couldn't even wait till I was out of my car! ;-) "
Wading through the kids, I got to my desk to see it piled with gifts and cards. I was quickly given strict instructions not to go down to the office. Oookay. I asked a group of girls if I could go to the staff room to put away my soup. I was granted permission, so long as they could follow me, "so you don't try any tricky business!"
So down the hallway I went, six ten and eleven year old girls in hot pursuit. "We like stalking people!" "Well you sure are good at it!" I decided that if they were going to follow me, they needed to do something silly. So off I went doing a goofy Hillary dance and then some good ol' disco moves. They fell into line perfectly!
After the bell rang, another staff member told me that the Vice wanted to talk to me, and don't worry, she'd watch my class. Uh huh. I tiptoed out, hamming it up. "Gee, I sure hope I'm not in touble!!!" said I to my kidlets.
No sooner had I gotten to the office than they told me that I was needed back in my classroom. Right. Up I go. I walked in to another countdown, and both entire grade 5 classes piled into my room (55 kids!), with sparklers and two cakes complete with candles. They all sang me happy birthday, and we posed for some photos.
As a thank you to my kids for planning such a great surprise, we had an impromptu class party. Cake, music, and games for the first 45 minutes of school!
I am so blessed to have such a great class, and an AMAZING teaching partner who loves to just give and give and give. Those kids may drive me bonkers sometimes, but I love 'em! This has got to be the best birthday I've had in a very long time! And it's not even over yet!!!