Believe it or not, during the two-day kindergarten job in the previous post, I had another crisis that concerned me even more than the behavior of the students.
As a substitute teacher, the first thing you do in the morning is check in at the office. During this time the office manager tells you the room number where you'll be working and hands you the key to the classroom. I always put the key in my pocket so that I have it with me at all times and can not lock myself out of the classroom.
At this particular school, the kindergartners are released through a gate on the side of the school. Nobody else uses this gate. The teacher for whom I was subbing left me the key to the gate on her desk with the lesson plans. It was a loose key and I stuck it in my pocket along with the key to the classroom door.
When it was time to let the kids go, I unlocked the gate, sent them off with their parents and returned to the classroom to lock the back door. Then I down to organize the teacher's desk and get ready to go home. After stacking everything nicely, I reached in my pocket for the gate key and it wasn't there!
So, I shuffled through my nice stacks of paper on the desk, peeked in the drawers in case it had slipped inside, looked on the floor, crawled around on the floor to look under everything, dumped out my tote bag and my purse and then took a walk to the gate and around the back of the building along the same route I'd taken before. When I got back to the classroom, I moved everything on the desk again, shook out the teaching manuals and still found nothing.
Trying to decide what to do next, I opted to wait another day. Since the assignment was two days, I'd hoped someone had picked up the key and given it to the office, or that walking away from the situation would allow me to remember something that the stress of the moment might be blocking.
Naturally, I couldn't sleep that night, thinking at best I'd be blackballed from that school, and maybe lose my position with the district. I'd always be "the sub who lost the key." Should I play stupid and say that the last time I saw it, it was on the desk? Should I confess? Should I just call and cancel the next day?
I didn't do any of this. I went back the next morning and asked at the office if anyone had turned in a loose key. Ironically, they had several keys that had been turned in, but none were the key I needed. I did another circle of where I had walked the day before and searched on and around the teacher's desk again, but found nothing. I had to borrow the gate key from another teacher to let the kids in for school. Since he was busy at the time, he didn't even question me. While the kids were at lunch, I wrote a note apologizing for misplacing the key and offering to pay for a replacement, thinking the entire time that this was probably my last job ever in my own local school district.
The final subject of the day was Science. I grabbed the teacher's manual and brought it to the front of the room. As I flipped the book over to get to the right page, what should come flying out but THE KEY!!!!
Lordy, I don't think I've ever been so happy! The kids couldn't comprehend why I was so ecstatic to see this key. I had looked through all those books the day before, but apparently I wasn't thorough enough! I'm just glad it was a two day assignment. If I'd admitted to losing the key the day before, it would have upset some people. Then the key would have turned up and I would have looked even worse. I very seldom lose things, especially things that are only loand to me, so on the occasion that I misplace something, I get very upset.
I'm just glad this time there was a happy ending!