SUNDAY IS a beautiful, breezy day at the beach, where the Patuxent flows into the Bay. I literally crawl on my hands and knees, combing the beach for shark teeth, clamshells, beach glass, petrified wood and anything else that would interest my fourth-grade social studies group, currently learning about the Bay in their year-long study of Maryland. I've already collected crab sheds that show the progressive growth of crabs. Monday
The alarm buzzes as usual at 5:30 a.m. After getting breakfast for my husband and making lunch sandwiches for all comes coffee time for me -- my early morning salvation -- and I spend a half-hour or more reading the Post. I'm at school by 9 and work for the second/third-grade teacher today.
Before class gets underway. Wayne tells me that he was out to the end of River Road over the weekend. I tell him my son usually rides his bike there and back every day. In answer to his query, I tell him that my son is 30 years old. "Gosh," he says, looking at me with awe, "you should be dead!"
Still chuckling, I go to work filling in year-end records, then mark students' creative writing folders.
At 10:30, the fourth-grade teacher and I have our weekly planning session for the social studies. It goes quickly and smoothly today, since the Chesapeake Bay is a familiar and easy sujbect for me and I have collected artifacts for over 20 years.
At 11:30, I scoot down to the cafeteria and check the kids in and then oversee them in the lunchroom, sometimes receiving their unwanted apples and oranges. I have become an expert orange peeler and thermos opener.
After my lunch, it is time for the fourth graders. We do the textbook work on the Chesapeake and then with almost complete attention (a very rare thing for this very lively class) they handle and look at the crab sheds, bone fossils, oyster shells, crab pots and other Bay exhibits.
I finish my work day filing and returning former until material. It is a relief to know that we have Sunday-caught bluefish at home for dinner. Tuesday
This morning, after coffee time, I do a quick vacuuming of downstairs, and just look in despair at the kitchen floor.
I grade and record a stack of math papers for the sixth-grade teacher, calling her attention to two students who need more help. She has me go over the lesson with them and run dittos and type vocabulary lists. It is pouring rain so I can't take the second-grade science group outside to experience "living things." The teacher has provided a ditto and a picture to color and we tie in our past unit on the sun and energy.
After school, I meet Donna and we not only get wedding flowers ordered, but fit in a trip to Schupps to order the rolls and wedding cake. What a place to be at 5:15 p.m. An irresistible carrot cake goes home with us for dinner. Son Robert has barbecued chicken and bake potatoes.
A friend comes for dessert and a cup of tea before we take off for the Arena Stage. It is hard to wind down after the stimulation of the play. We've had season tickets for several years and there are extremely few productions that aren't superb. Wednesday
Today is my day with the fourth/fifth-grade teacher, a young man who is usually so eager to get going he fails to greet me. I tease him with "Good morning, Marian," and I'm off to type and run dittos of reading questions and sequences, correct papers and fill out year-end forms. He has a couple of bright boys who vie with each other to come up with one-word definitions -- the shorter the word the better -- and a two word sentence. Example: "Infinite -- forever: It's infinite." At first, I was upset at what I perceived as laziness; now I'm intrigued with them.
We learn that our principal is leaving -- this on top of hearing last week that in June 1982 our school will close. However, the classes go on as usual.
We have tacos for lunch -- which can be messsy with ground meat, corn, shredded lettuce and cheese, but the first group (first through third graders) leave a clean cafeteria for the arriving upper grades.
I eat with the school secretary. I always enjoy the times she is able to have lunch with me. The demands and responsibilities of any grade school secretary are formidable, and Marge is an outstanding-person, friendly and helpful to everyone.
We get through socials studies with everyone able to stay in the room, probably because each one has a project to do. Several work on a Bay mural with the help of a faithful parent volunteer; others are stringing clam shell necklaces, and the rest make driftwood scenes.
The last hour, I finish correcting reading workbooks, then head for the Safeway to buy milk, fruit and solve the recurring, persistent problem -- meat for dinner. The whole family helps tonight and we linger at the table congratulating each other on the excellent meal. Thursday
Thursday is my easy day; I go over the spelling workbooks and papers for the third/fourth-grade teacher, new to our school this year. I can get through them quickly now that I am familiar with the format and usually have time for preparation for the Maryland unit in the afternoon. This afternoon, I leave an hour early for an appointment to have a bad-acting ankle checked. Dinner is usually a quick and easy affair on Thursday as everyone goes to a class. This is the last recorder class of the year for Ross and me. We meet with the advanced group and after playing over an hour, we share desserts and summer plans. Friday
This is my day in our exuberant kindergarden/first-grade room. Maria, as usual, checks out what I'm wearing gives her approval. Nicky and I do some reading and I make word cards for David's dictated story. I give some year-end math achievement tests to the first graders and we all go outside to enjoy the first really sunny day of the week.
This is pizza day and since it is the most favorite lunch of all, we have a very long line. Fortunately, it is quickly served and eaten. I also have playground duty on Fridays. Today goes well, with no fights or scraped knees.
This afternoon the social studies group give the Chesapeake Bay presentations for the third grade. They are anxious to exhibit the displays and explain all they've learned about crabs, oysters, watermen and the importance of the Chesapeake Bay to Maryland in early times as well as now. They show off their projects and each third grader receives a shark tooth. "Small," I tell them, "but million of years old." The third graders learn a lot, but my group will remember more from their presentation. If only there were more time to do this kind of thing.
I rush to the second grade room to oversee them while their teacher rushes to Bethesda Elementary to see her son in a play. She's back before the 3 o'clock bell.
The staff wishes each other a good weekend and everyone is glad for Friday. In a small school, every adult has multiple duties and is busy all day long with little opportunity for socializing. Saturday
Donna and I check out party platters, and the Paper Store and attend a luncheon shower for her. I manage to plant a flat of bedding plants hoping to shape up the yard for the wedding reception in four weeks. Again the laundry and housecleaning slip into next week. Ross and I spend the unbearably hot, muggy evening watching Joan Crawford and John Wayne in an old movie.