Having Fun at Work

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I mentioned yesterday that I was a school counselor for over 30 years. What I didn’t tell you was that the majority of those years were spent working with elementary kids.

Being the elementary school counselor in a public school system can be both rewarding and depressing for a variety of reasons. At the very least it’s exhausting.

But I quickly decided that the best situation was to laugh with my co-workers whenever possible. Some of our laughs were intentionally planned and others were totally spontaneous.

My philosophy was this – if you can’t find something to laugh at or someone to laugh with in an elementary building then you are in the wrong field!

It worked for me and for most of our staff.

And, today, I’ve decided to borrow Anna’s blog to share some of our laughs with you.

Clowning Around
I found a big box of foam rubber clown noses at one of my estate sale hunts. I bought them all just in case. During one staff meeting we all had them hidden in our laps, and when our Principal turned to write something on the board we quickly put on our noses. He turned around to face a room full of attentive clowns.

Worked like a charm.

It’s possible I ruined this child’s life…
One day I called a student to the office. His name was Jimmy Underwood. I accidently used the PA system and requested that Jimmy Underwear please come to the office.

He was a new student.

In fact, it was his first day.

I’m still a little mortified by this. But luckily he forgave me. Note from Anna: There’s no way this kid forgave you! If anyone knows Jimmy Underwood, can you please find him and report back on how my mom basically ruined his life when he was in 4th grade? Thanks!

I love me some Robert Redford
I was in charge of the morning announcements and every now and then I would call Robert Redford to the Counseling Office.

The older teachers loved it.

The younger teachers didn’t know who he was.

I also have a Robert Redford scrapbook (because every counselor should!) and if a teacher was having a bad day, I would send it down to her to cheer her up. (That one was just for the ladies, didn’t work so well with the male teachers.)

Every now and then, they put me in charge.
When the principal was out of the building I was in charge.

One day there was a small fight on the playground. When I was in the office with the two culprits trying to sort things out, one boy said with both hands in the air:

“I didn’t do anything but play with my monkey.”

It seems he had brought his stuffed monkey to school in his backpack. What were you thinking?

Sometimes it’s best to just walk away
One day I had two boys in my office talking about getting along with others.

I had a bright blue magic marker in my hand for some reason – and since I talk with my hands – it’s no surprise that I got too close to my face and swiped the marker across my mouth and nose making a bright blue line.

I was making an important point at the time, and as I talked I saw both boys’ eyes get really wide.

“I have marker all over my face don’t I?” They both nodded. “Talk amongst yourselves,” I said as I left the room.

The secretary caught me in the hall bathroom trying to wipe the permanent marker off my face. She left in hysterics and came back with friends to watch me.

I never did go back in to those boys.

Sometimes it’s better to just be late
It’s very hard for me to get anywhere on time. And while I hate that about myself – I wasn’t the only one at school that had a tardiness problem.

One day there was a meeting scheduled before school, so two of us decided to meet early and put on our long bathrobes and slippers and walk in as the meeting was starting.

JB and I walked in alright – not knowing that there was a guest speaker making a presentation.

The Principal just looked at us and shook his head.

Again, I was mortified. But the rest of the staff got a good laugh – after the meeting was over.

Hide your keys
One principal could never remember where he left his car keys.

One gorgeous day, one of the staff members (NOT me. For real even I have my limits.) drove his car out by the road and put a For Sale sign on it. He was quite surprised when he started getting calls.

And he was much more careful with his keys after that.

There are years more of course…

Like the time the playground aid found a condom in a 1st grader’s graders purse and sent her to me. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything in the rule book about not bringing condoms to elementary school.

Or the time I had to call a Dad because his little girl had started her period for the first time and needed clothes. I couldn’t reach the Mom because she had just hit a deer with her car and was waiting for her husband to pick her up.

The Dad started moaning and groaning on the phone and said “It can’t be, it just can’t be… My little girl? Oh my God! Oh my God! I’m more upset about this than my car being totaled by a G D deer!!!”

I loved my job and I miss it some days. But when I start thinking about being able to go to garage sales seven days a week or visiting Nick anytime of the year– then I know I did the right thing when I retired.


  1. Lisa

    March 5, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I am an elementary school teacher (when I am not on mat leave) and my husband is an elementary school ‘behaviour specialist’ (he works with the really tough kids in class and outside of class). We both the same philosophy about working with elementary school students, if you can’t laugh at ridiculous situations, change your field. It can be a lot of fun to work with those students, but they can be tough too! Maybe you should come out of retirement and work with us! It sound like you would have been a lot fun to have in a school. One of my husbands colleagues found a large rock in the heavy marking bag she brought home the other day !

  2. Amy Locke

    March 5, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Love it, especially since I heard some of those stories via the school story line. You are missed Linda.

  3. Steph at I'm Still Learning

    March 5, 2014 at 8:32 am

    This is so funny. Anna’s mom, you’re such a good sport!

  4. Dona

    March 5, 2014 at 8:52 am

    These are priceless! I worked 27 years with Special Ed. Yeah. The stories! Thanks for your memories bringing back mine!!

  5. Carol

    March 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    So funny. I can relate with 13 years in the classroom. High school, which has its own issues, but still. I well understand the pen on face situation, having had such a moment myself in front of a class of juniors, when I stood professor-like at the front of the class, elbows on lectern, hands up to my chin, allowing my capped (I thought) pen to rest on my chin as we discussed some fine point in American Literature. Much student laughter later, I realized I’d been drawing green lines all over my chin. Oops.

  6. Laurie Snow

    March 5, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    As a Reading Recovery aide/”recess lady” for an elementary school, I agree that “laughter is the best medicine”. Something happens almost every single day that makes me laugh out loud on the drive home–sometimes it’s the kids, sometimes it’s the staff!

  7. thedoseofreality

    March 6, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Poor Jimmy! Unless, of course, he grew up to model underwear for Calvin Klein…then he has you to thank! 😉

  8. Her Royal Thighness

    March 6, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I totally enjoyed reading about all of your antics. LOVED the clown noses and the bathrobe story! You’re a card!

  9. Sparkling74

    March 6, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    My favorite is the car for sale. I always hear about the good old days when my colleagues were hysterical but that never seems to happen today. I do my share of laughing but it’s usually just me, no other teachers in sight!

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