I thought it would be a good idea to get organized early just in case the teachers decide to strike. I’ve developed a lesson plan for parents during the strike:
Preplanning – You call 4 friends that have kids about your kids’ ages (mine are middle and high school age) and ask each person to volunteer for one day of the lesson plan. This way, you all only have to work one day and the other days you do your usual routine while your kids are off with their special learning group on adventures.
Day 1 – It’s a Friday, so as a group, you bake some cookies and go stand with the teachers on the picket line at school and um, I don’t know, feed them some sandwiches or something. Go team!
Day 2 & 3 – Weekend. Woot. Usual family stuff. Nuttin’ special planned.
Day 4 – Monday. Martin Luther King Day. You march in the Marade with family & friends. It’s a holiday anyway, so you all go in your special learning group together, parents included. Here’s the link I researched for info: https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/fall-winter/denver-mlk-day/ (I’m so organized!) You take the light rail to teach kids about the importance of public transportation and talk about the cost and how that might translate for them someday as adults with jobs. After the Marade, you walk around Civic Center Park and talk about the architecture (note to self: next time, learn more facts about the architecture at Civic Center Park). You go to the Capitol and climb the stairs. You stroll the 16th street mall down to Union Station to eat at a restaurant. You have some real, delicious ice cream. Everyone gets along great. The first day of group learning is a huge success!
Day 5 – Tuesday. Today is where the significant lesson plan implementation begins. You’re the first one to take all the kids, and the other parents in your group drop them all off at your house at 9:00 a.m. sharp (some a little before that, around 8:15 a.m., but hey, desperate times). Each of your friends has two kids, so that’s 10 total children, including yours. You tried to find kids your kids’ age, and most of them are, but a couple are still elementary school age. You didn’t really notice or think about this yesterday because all of the parents were there. You’ve got 10 kids to teach ranging in age from 10 to 14, plus your friend’s daughter in kindergarten. But, no worries, you’re ready! Museum of Nature and Science, here we come!
The snow’s been falling outside since last night, but you’re ready to take public transportation again, the bus this time. You live less than one mile from the bus stop on Colorado Boulevard and it’s a straight shot up to the museum. Maybe you’ll even hit the zoo!
Unexpectedly, the kids complain about the walk. Suck it up, you say. It’s not far. But, most of them aren’t really dressed for walking in the snow. Oh well, you told their parents what you were doing today. You distributed the lesson plan. Press on.
As you’re slowly making your way out your front door only one hour late (because shit happens, amirite?), you help the kindergartner zip up her jacket and she nonchalantly tells you your teeth are yellow. Oh, fuck off, you think to yourself because you’re mature enough to know not to actually say that to a kindergartner.
Along the relatively easy route to the bus stop, the older kids start throwing snowballs at the younger kids. One kid has a pretty good arm, impressive really, but you tell them to stop because you don’t allow bullying in your special learning group. They ignore you. You tell them to at least not put any rocks in the snowballs.
The older kids make it to the traffic light at Colorado Boulevard well before the rest of you. How did it get to be 11 o’clock? The lesson plan had us at the museum already, studying dinosaur bones for our multi-age quiz later. Instead, you’re yelling at surly teens two blocks away to stop throwing snowballs at passing cars. You really hope they heard the part about no rocks.
You’re dragging the kindergartner and her short legs along. Jeez. Were your kids this small once? You’re across the street and almost to the bus stop when it whizzes past with a sign that says NO SERVICE. Unbeknownst to you, it’s a blizzard outside, but you’re not willing to acknowledge the amount of snow falling because YOU HAVE A LESSON PLAN.
You lead the group over to the Dairy Queen, the only place open. The clerk tells you you’ll need to buy something if you want to hang out because otherwise he’s going home. Most of the kids have their $2.80 RTD fare and you pool it all to buy 4 large Blizzards. Three of the kids are sick-ish, but you give them all spoons and have them share anyway. One kid bought his own dipped cone. Bickering ensues. Turns out 4 blizzards, 10 kids, 3 of them snotty, does not a lesson make.
You’re about to slam your fingers in the Dairy Queen door so the pain will distract you from your poor decision-making when you have the fanciful idea to ask the clerk if he’ll give you & the kids a tour of the inner workings of Dairy Queen. He rolls his eyes at you and tells you loud enough for the kids to hear that the “ice cream” actually comes in a box. The kids all say “ewwww” and “gross” and “OMG!” then throw their half eaten snot Blizzards in the trash. That real, delicious ice cream at Union Station seems like it happened in another, more peaceful lifetime.
After Blizzards inside and out, you’re not sure what to do. It’s just about noon now & you still have half a day to fill.
You call a couple of Lyfts and you’re not sure anyone will show up during the blizzard, but two of them appear somehow. Turns out both of the Lyft drivers are also your kids teachers. They have to work two jobs to make ends meet, even in blizzards. You pay $150 to drive 11 people less than a mile. The teacher/drivers drop you off at your house and you’re not sure, but you think maybe you saw a twinkle of schadenfreude in one of their observant eyes as they waved and laughed, happily driving away in a whiteout.
At home you find your lesson plan and chuck it the fire pit in the backyard. The kids enjoy it for about one minute and then ask to get on their various computer devices.
You consider day drinking, but realize that’s probably frowned upon.
After a bit, you’re not sure what the kids are up to, but it’s quiet, so that probably means everything’s OK and you drift off to sleep and dream sweet dreams about when the strike might be over. Thank god you’ve got friends to take these animals the rest of the week.
Day 6 – Wednesday. All your other friends cancelled. Their kids are all sick. Plus they hated your shitty lesson plan.
Day 7 – Thursday. Please let this strike end.
Day 8 – Friday. Teaching is hard. Let’s pay them enough. Please?