Tom and I had been teaching buddies for a few years, discovering early our unique sense of humor was usually a catalyst for trouble. We had been unceremoniously ejected from teacher professional development workshops for poking fun at the latest phonics trend, told unabashedly to not ask any more questions during inane faculty meetings, and all but fired for doing a stand up comedy routine while the principal was recovering from a bad case of cafeteria food. But our best and worst prank by far still makes me both howl and cringe.

Bill was our friend and fellow teacher colleague on the second floor, three rooms down the hall from our 5th grade classrooms. Unlike Tom and me, he arrived punctually every day, always wore a tie, always signed in with the secretary as was the rule, and always, I repeat always left his room at the end of the day organized and pristine. Unfortunately, our classrooms nearly always looked as if the art room had exploded with pencils, papers, and assorted crayons the room’s persona. Bill’s room stunk of orderliness and cleanliness. It was so unfair.

One noontime as Tom and I were walking our classes to lunch, we noticed Bill’s class had left a bit early. His room, as always, looked perfect. Chairs in a row, not a piece of paper on the floor, his red pen nestled atop a set of recently corrected papers! Who lives like that? Tomorrow was April 1st and an idea, like spring, was blooming.

The next day, we watched carefully as Bill’s class once again left 2 minutes early for lunch. Not carefully minding the clock deserved a consequence! The combined forces of our two classes raced to Bill’s room; we were skipping lunch today. We quietly moved every stick of furniture, filing cabinets, teacher desk, plants, and one small fish tank… out into the hallway! Not in an unorganized pile, either. No, just for Bill we recreated his entire room in the hallway, including the 4 foot braided rug that always sat obediently to the left of his desk.

Shortly after, with no time to spare, the sounds of Bill and his class coming up the stairs could be heard. Our two classes huddled like quiet mice in the empty teachers’ room. When Bill’s students crested the last stair and saw their room, sitting at attention in that hallway, they howled. Then all of our kids howled. Tom and I were breathless from howling. Bill, however, cried. Oops.

You might be at home, but you are not alone.

What remains during these tense times is ACW’s commitment to building spaces for healing together. Through weekly writing prompts and posted responses, new online classes, and the online display of PoemVillage, ACW is continuing to bring together community members like you during isolation and uncertainty.

Keeping ACW strong in these tense times now rests on the shoulders of faithful supporters like you. So, you are invited to give a gift of any amount. All gifts are significant in keeping ACW alive and well, so when this is all over ACW will be ready to re-launch the important programming you count on.

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