My teaching career began in the early 1980s and lasted until 2009. During those years, I had the honor of working with some wonderful educators, administrators, staff, students, and parents at Lowndes Middle School and Lowndes High School. I enjoyed being able to help my students build their skills and learn about things which would prepare them to function in our society and have success in life. Some of the incidents that occurred during those years made a lasting impact on my own life — from funny to tragic, from mischievous to heartwarming — each day was a day that is imprinted in my mind and on my heart.
I hesitate to give a date or any names for the event I am sharing with you in order to protect the identity of the innocent and not so innocent. I volunteered my team to move into the portable classrooms when Lowndes Middle School was going through renovations. I was the team leader and my team was composed of an awesome group of teachers–Mr. David Wells, Mrs. Peggy Lester, Mr. Scott Wildes, Mrs. Gwen Bergman, and myself. We were the academic teachers for The Green Giants, or Team 8C.
Since we were not connected to the main building and did not have access to an intercom, Mr. Fred Davis, our Principal, assigned me a walkie talkie (this was before cellphones were actively being used). My code name which Mr. Davis chose was “Queen Bee.” I later began to think I had figured out why he chose that name. After I finish relating this incident, I believe you will figure it out, too!
With the help of our students, we began to transfer our furniture and personal belongings. Now, you have to visualize the conditions with which we were working. We had four large classrooms with no restrooms or water fountains. We had to plan everything around our schedule, which would include mass restroom and water breaks with as little disturbance as possible to Team 8A (The Red Devils) and Team 8B (The Blue Jays).
After about a month of guiding and escorting our 120 to 130 students to the restroom and to get water, we made the decision to see if they could go into E-Wing on their own! After all, they were 13 to 15 year old young people. They had been following our directions really well, and we thought we could trust them. Well, the majority of our students had returned to class when I heard Mr. Davis on the walkie talkie. From his voice, I could tell there just may be a problem. “Office to Queen Bee! Come in Queen Bee!”
I picked it up, and said, “This is Queen Bee. ”
Mr. Davis urgently said, “Mrs. Guest, what is going on in your direction? I am looking over your way, and it looks like a dust storm!”
After teaching eighth graders for around 15 to 18 years, I thought to myself that there wasn’t much more that could surprise me. Well, I have to say I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. I ran to the door of our building, and I was stunned and amazed at what I observed. A group of our boys were running back to our building, and they had been kicking up their heels and dragging their feet all the way back to our classrooms. It looked like we were in the middle of the desert during a real sandstorm! They were laughing and having a great time. I All I could do was gasp and stare, but I had to explain to Mr. Davis what was occurring. His only reply was, “Mrs. Brooks is on her way!” Mrs. Josie Brooks was one of our Assistant Principals and worked mainly with eighth grade.
As I returned to my room, I thought to myself, “Queen Bee, your worker bees have been very productive today. However, I don’t think Mr. Davis or Mrs. Brooks are going to be very impressed! Although it could have been much worse, they were only having some ‘not so clean’ fun.” Looking back on it now, I realize that it wasn’t nearly as dangerous as some of the things that are happening in our schools and society across the country and world today. Another thought I had was that every single one of those students have developed into wonderful grownups and awesome members of our community and society. God is Good!