‘Mrs. Hays, do you wear pajamas?’

‘Why yes I do. Do you?’


Teeheeing ensues.


Oh my.

Pretty hard to take that dad seriously when I see him at the grocery store–or anywhere for that matter. #justsayin’



As we are sitting at the rainbow table (aka–kidney shaped table), the discussion took a strange turn. This is where you insert your surprised emoji face–they are first graders. They are 7. All conversations are strange.

There is a group of us at the table. Two boys, our high school aide, two girls and me. As I begin to hone in on the girls conversation, I hear the dreaded words…..’That’s a boyfriend.’


‘That’s a boyfriend. I am going to have one someday.’

My head spins off and I begin to speak very quickly.

‘You can have a boyfriend when you graduate from college. COLLEGE. Right, J? You can have a boyfriend when you graduate from college. Same goes for girlfriends–COLLEGE.’

J, my aide, plays right along with me. ‘Oh yes. Boyfriends are for after college.’ She’s totally lying here. The girl goes through ’em like they are water.

At this point, a little boy says that he’s not going to college. That you don’t have to go to college to have a good job. A whole conversation ensues about college.

Finally, the second little boy pipes up. ‘You have to go to college AND graduate to have a good job. You do not want to HAVE to work at Wendy’s your whole life.’

Discussion Arguing happens about how much fun it would be to work at Wendy’s. They are 7, folks.

The second little boy waits for a moment as the discussion winds down before he speaks…..and then, this:

‘No. You have to go to college so you don’t HAVE to work at Wendy’s. College give you choices. You get to choose where you work, where you live and what kind of car you drive. College equals choices.’

Mic drop. #justsayin’

Yes, I’ll Play

On what was our 697th inside recess, this little guy approached me with the board and hopeful eyes. I waited.

‘Mrs. Hays, would you like to play with me?’

‘I would love to play with you. You know I am really bad at this game, right?’

He smiled. ‘I don’t care. ‘ And we began to play.

Soon, others joined us. I won the game. Another little guy offered to play so they could get better and beat me next time.

My goal this year was to say ‘yes’ to kids more than I said no. Just to play, paint, jump rope or push the swing when they asked me–just say yes. All they want is my time–a few minutes here and there–of me.

That I can do. #goalmet #justsayin’

Some Days….

Last week I planned a project that I thought would be fun and get us through the last week of February. We were going to make models of the sun out of paper mache.

I prepped the kids.

I had a plan.

I had a you tube video.

I had thought and thought of all the things that could go wrong.

But just like every good plan…there’s a glitch.

We covered the tables. I went to each table and put a cup of flour in a good sized bowl. I let the kids put their hands in the flour. This was amazing to me. They liked the sensation of their fingers in the flour. They played and played in that flour. I went to each table and poured 2 cups of very warm water. The mixing of the paste began. Oh my! Let the descriptive words fly!

Within about 30 seconds, my eye was drawn to a little boy who was flapping his arms and flying around our classroom. He was flinging paste everywhere! He had covered his arms in paste and he was squealing like a stuck pig as he flew around our room.

Needless to say, I lost my teacher ish on him. Not my finest moment as an educator or a person. He was done for the day.

Later, I apologized to him and then to the whole class. He was generous in accepting my apology. I still just felt horrible.

The next day I again apologized to the class for my behavior. I shared that I should have anticipated that it would be sensory overload for him. A friend looked me in the eyes with a reassuring smile and gently said, ‘It’s OK, Mrs. Hays. It happens to all of us. We forgive you. We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn.’

Those were the words I needed to hear. Thanks, Sweet Friend, for being a very wise 7-year-old. #rockstar


On Thursday, we took our end of module assessment in math.  I had kids working at the rainbow table who needed extra support and kids working on their own around the room.  

I had kids who were in tears.  I stopped everyone and reminded them that we do not cry over math.  We cry when our grandma dies or our dog is sick.  A little guy pipes up to add it’s OK to cry when you have an injury and there is lots of blood.  WE DO NOT CRY OVER MATH.

I am alternating hanging out at the rainbow table and circulating the room.  As I stoop to help a little person, I hear a screeching voice shout the words, ‘STOP PEEKING AT MY PAPER!’

Suffice it to say what followed was not my finest 15 minutes.

Upon immediate reflection, I realized I had made a terrible mistake. Upon further reflection, I realized I had not listened to what my little person was saying.  I had not asked enough questions.  I had acted irrationally.

Here is where I could list all the reasons I did what I did.

It comes down to this: When I am asking too much of my kids and myself, meltdowns such as this occur.

Today I asked for forgiveness and was granted grace by a 7-year-old girl who has the heart the size of Texas.  #justsayin




Some Days

Today was quite the day.  I had to be at school 30 minutes sooner than usual.  I had to present to staff. I had a few moments to breathe before I had to pick up my kids.

My kids were on fire when I picked them up from the gym.  Not on fire in a good way.  It’s never a good thing when the morning supervisor wishes you a hearty GOOD LUCK in her most sarcastic voice as you pass her.

Everything took ten times longer than it should have taken.  Everybody needed to talk at once.  The math lesson was completely ridiculous.  We lined up and ran a lap.  We drank water.  Tattletale on tattletale happened.  I chucked it and we went to recess.

Life was somewhat better when we returned.  Or so I thought.

We headed to lunch.

Lunch helped us. We read aloud. We went to centers.  We are transitioning to the fluency part of our day when a girl randomly looks at me and says:

‘Mrs. Hays, what’s that thing you are wearing called?’

‘A dress.’

‘Uh. Yeah. I like it.’

Thanks.  And the day went from there.  #justsayin’

Some Days


I headed down 5th street towards my errands.  2 blocks from home, a red truck pulls out in front of me going. point. five. miles. an. hour.  Ohhhhhhhhh.  I am lucky enough to follow the red truck for about 10 blocks.

I wanted to be mad.

And yet, moving that slow allowed me to see all things that are blooming in the world. I also was able to see how beautiful the day was with the sun shining and the wind blowing.  And people were out walking.  And waving.  And smiling AT ME.

No mad feelings can happen when that much joy is in the world.

As I pull into the DG (Dollar General–I live in a small town.  We have about 3500 people in our county) there are 4 people mosey-ing out of the store.  There are no empty slots for me to pull in to–I must wait for them to find their car, unload their cart and return it to the store.  Only then do they all load into the car to leave and I can park my car.

I wanted to be mad.

And yet, waiting for them gave me time to see that this foursome was made up of 2 adult children whom had brought their aging parents to the DG.  My heart swelled with love at the sight of this foursome–they were strangers to me, and yet, in that time I saw what I hoped would be my future.  My adult children caring for me in a patient and kind way.

No mad feelings can happen when that much love is in the world.

I head to the grocery store where I was greeted by a young man who had seen me pull into the parking lot and was waiting with a cart all ready to go just for me.  He had a hearty, genuine welcome for me.  I had hope in my heart for the future of this world .

Slow down, People.  Look for the good.  It’s out there.  #justsayin’


**Update to yesterday’s slice….today when I drove by my friends house he was there!  I didn’t see him at first, but my daughter saw his little face in the window.  I was able to leave the sack of goodies with him and some homemade cookies as well.  I am pretty sure the electricity is not on–yet–but he was well.  I will check on the electricity tomorrow–it is not cold here, thank goodness.


Food for Thought

A new little person joined our school family in mid-February.  Admittedly, I wasn’t overjoyed at the addition to my little school family.  It wasn’t my turn.  It was somebody else’s turn–only it’s never another person’s turn.  I had a lot going on in my classroom it wasn’t fair to this little person to add him.

Nobody listened.  Nobody heard.

Except Someone did.

It has been my feeling for quite some time that God places the kids I need in my classroom each year–not the kids who need me–the kids I need.

He has a plan for me.  He wants me to be more.

Placing this little person in my care upset our apple cart.  The second day he was with us I heard one of the friends lean over to him and say, “We don’t do that here.  You need to stop.” Later, another friend, while in reading group with a different teacher, told him “We don’t do that in The Hays Team.”

Both friends were gentle and kind with the words they shared.

He was in chaos.  He wanted to be hugged and loved.  He was hungry. I hugged him and there have been times when I have been VERY firm with him.  I fed him. I loved him. On his third day with me he dropped the information that ‘George’ had taken the long, long, long way home.

“What does that mean? The long way home?”

He replied, “Well he went on Wednesday to get something and he hasn’t come back.” Quick calculation: Wednesday was 5 days ago.


On his fourth day with us, George returned.  Only to leave again with his mom’s money. And he knew how much George had taken for ‘gas’.

“He sure drives a lot, Ms. Hays.  He must have a lot of places he needs to go.”


On Wednesday of this week he informed me that he was getting a new house.  It was behind Wendy’s.  He was very, very excited because this was a ‘nice’ place.  On Thursday, he was pretty sure they would get to sleep in the new place.  On Friday, he let me know that they had not slept there because George was gone again with the truck and they could not move the beds.

Today I picked up things a 6-year-old boy would like to eat: peanut butter, jelly, bread, cosmic brownies, Cheetos, Pringles and Oreo’s.  I also stuck in some cheese crackers, trail mix and granola bars.  My plan was to drop them at his new place.

I did not find him at his new place.  Twice. I checked his old place.  Twice. No sign.

I will check again tomorrow.  #justsayin’






As I working with kids at the rainbow table, other kids were reading together, reading alone and I can hear a small group having a conversation about the book Dinosaurs Before Dark.  There are 5 kids around the book.  2 have read it and are showing the other 3 kids passages from the book.

They were holding their very own book talk.

I think nothing of the conversation.  We talk about books all the time.  We share books.  We LOVELOVELOVE read aloud time.  I could read aloud all day. (Heck, I could read all day.  Oh wait.  I think I have done that in my lifetime.)

Kids rotate in and out of the rainbow table.  We get our work done early and head out for extra recess.  It’s Friday afternoon after a LONG week and I am in lala land.  We are the only class on the playground.

I can hear kids talking about Jack and Annie. Same 5.  They are re-enacting scenes from the book.  They have created a game surrounding the book.  They are pretending to hold a book in their hands and are spinning around and around and around until they land in dinosaur time.  Some of the kids are dinosaurs that Jack and Annie are chasing all over the playground.

They proceed to play for 30 minutes.

There are no words to describe how I felt as I was watching this whole scene play out.  I am still just amazed what went on during that recess today.  As we were heading into the building, I could hear them making plans for Monday’s recess.

Moments such as this are why I show up each day to teach kids. #justsayin’

Made It!

I made 30/31 days writing this month!  GO ME!!

There were days I wasn’t sure I had anything in me to write and days I couldn’t decide which story to tell and days on days of paying closer attention to the life around me so I could write.

And then there were days like today.

I sent my kids to lunch and headed to warm up my lunch.  I have taken about 2 bites when the secretary sticks her head in and says those dreaded words every teacher hates to hear:

‘You have a puker.’

Up I go to retrieve his things so he can head out for the day. Dad is on his way. As I make my way into the nurses station, I see my friend sitting up looking fine.  Just. Like. He. Had. All. Morning. I gave him the usual questions…are you ok? how long had you felt bad? And so on. He gave me the stink eye.

When I picked my class up from lunch, everyone let me know that our friend had puked.

The friend that sat on the right of the puker said, ‘Yeah. I thought..WOW He has a lot of food on his tray! Turns out it was PUKE!!’

The friend that sat on the left of the puker said, ‘I let the lunchroom lady know that we had a ‘situation’ and needed some help.’ (Puke is an emergency in our room followed closely by fire and blood)

Turns out the puker had managed to only puke in his lunch tray.  He didn’t get any puke anywhere else. Impressive.

but. oh. my.

We went to extra recess.  We were so hyped up we had to run it out. And when we returned to the room, we Clorox wiped every surface.

Yeek.  I hate puke.  Just sayin’.