I have taken off Field Day for the last couple years, and it has been the best decision ever.
When I tell people I hate Field Day, they are like completely shocked that I detest this day. Let me give you a little run down of how it goes:
All year, I have been striving to create a calm atmosphere where students understand the expectations and follow them so they can learn and develop into responsible, capable individuals who are able to express themselves appropriately.
On Field Day, we throw all that out the window and become crazy people who don't follow the rules. Even teachers. (We can have fun within the confines of rules to keep us safe.) One year we were specifically instructed not to spray water from the hose on ourselves as that water would be used to supply the water games. I walk outside and guess who is spraying all the kids with water? Hello? Lead by example.
The same year not five minutes after we had started Field Day, one of my students had pantsed another. They both were crying. Had to go deal with that all while hearing "He cutted, he cutted!" People, it isn't even a word.
Ok moving on to the next station. "Don't forget your water bottles!" I yell as my children dart off to the next station. After picking up all their trash, I have to go talk nicely to the child who is pouting because someone told her to hurry up. "Well, maybe they were just trying to be encouraging, "I suggest, "Let's go talk to them and let them know how you feel."
I make it to the next station to find that no one is listening to the instructions, and several students have taken off with the game equipment. I locate the offender and the crybaby. We talk about how words have an impact on others. We apologize. We move on.
Next station. Blue team is complaining about how the red team is cheating, but I don't even know the rules because I had to get a bandaid for the person at the end of the rope on the losing team of tug of war who got drug through the dirt. Probably not the best idea to tie the rope in a circle around your waist. Live and learn.
Moving on. It's so hot outside or like last year, it is pouring down rain. I am going to go sit in the shade on the playground as my little disciplined angels throw wood chips at each other. Yes! Because that has been something that I have def approved of all year long. I don't even bother yelling because they aren't going to hear me even if they hear me.
Yes, water games, my favorite! Because no one follows the rules, we all get sopping wet before we head back into the freezing cold building. "So and so pushed me, he's cheating, I didn't get a turn, I hate Field Day!" I know, baby, so do I.
Sweet, here come some of my student's parents. Maybe they can help carry water bottles, separate fighting children, or keep everyone's pants up. Or they can huddle in a clump at the back of the game and watch as their perfect child instigates fights and problems. You know, the issues I have been trying all year to help the parent see. Now the parents see it, but doesn't see the problem. No wonder I have a problem.
Not only that, but we get to have lunch in the classroom with all of these children. The few moments of sanity where I get to breath during a normal day are filled with dramatic children whining about what type of bread they got from the cafeteria.
I look at these sweaty, sunburned faces of my children who I have sweated over and cried over all year. In a few weeks, they will no longer be mine. I don't want to remember them at their worst on Field Day.
Regardless of how much training or practice we have on how to talk to others, how to play nicely, how to follow the rules, it all flies out the window on Field Day. They usually look back and go, "Wow! I had so much fun!" I usually look back and go, "Is all that character development I have spent modeling and teaching gone? Did I fail them? Am I really going to send off these hostiles to the next grade level?"
So, if you would ever like to babysit 24 hot, cranky, arguing students, my field day will always be open to substitute for the rest of my teaching career.
*All students mentioned are completely made up and do not attend Utopia Elementary.