Monday, October 8, 2012

Space Week

There are some memories I have of elementary school that sometimes make me hope that someday, my future will work out that I'll decide the right path to take is become an elementary school teacher.  Space Week is one of them.

I'm not sure which teacher came up with the idea for Space Week, but I hope they know how many awesome memories it made for so many little kids.  It all started when the whole school was called to the gymnasium for a routine assembly on Monday morning.  This was not unusual, we had assemblies from time to time and certain classes would perform a song with sign language, etc.  However, a couple minutes into this assembly, the lights started flashing and fog started pouring onto the stage.  Coloured lights blinked on and off, and a couple of creatures in tin foil suits stepped onto the stage from the wings.  When the smoke cleared, they announced that they were aliens from another planet and they had kidnapped our principal.

The crowd.  Went.  Wild.

The grade four teacher tried to confront the aliens.  "Wait just a minute!  You can't just barge in here and kidnap our principal!"  He was cut off as one of the aliens shot him with a ray gun.  He collapsed to the floor.

The aliens continued.  They had kidnapped our principal and replaced her with an alien lookalike, who they brought on stage.  This lookalike did look a LOT like our principal, but she wore a tin foil suit and had other various alien features.  She was going to do the job of our principal for a week, and on Friday night, at the wrap-up of Space Week, our principal would be returned to us IF we could find all of the pieces of a secret alien document they had hidden all over the school.  (To sweeten the deal, anyone finding one of the clues would receive a large chocolate bar if they returned it to the alien principal.)  Then, the aliens left, again in a cloud of smoke and blinking lights.

The grade four teacher groggily awoke and everyone filled him in on what had happened.  We kids spent the rest of the week at recess and lunch hour scouring the school for pieces of the alien puzzle, and I remember leading a search party one recess but one of my friends found the clue and not me :(  The alien principal, who looked just like our principal, continued to wear her alien getup ALL WEEK.  Now that is a teacher dedicated to doing something awesome.

One of the best parts of Space Week was the ending.  On Friday night, we all gathered again in the gymnasium with our parents, anxiously awaiting the return of the aliens and our principal.  A couple of teachers and the alien principal waited onstage.  With the same flourish as before, the aliens reappeared.  The teachers presented them with all of the clues that had been found by students over the week, and the aliens pronounced they were satisfied.  We were getting our principal back.


OUR PRINCIPAL CAME ONSTAGE.  She was onstage WITH the alien principal.  All the junior skeptics who all week had insisted that the alien principal was just our principal dressed up, and that the aliens were really grade eight boys dressed up, and that it was just a giant teacher conspiracy were shocked.

Eventually of course, a kid whose parent was a teacher at the school explained how it had been done and we learned the truth.  But the planning and effort that all of our teachers put in planning Space Week is still something I remember so fondly and makes me sad that such a thing probably wouldn't fly in a school today (I can just imagine all the calls from parents, livid that they have to explain to their terrified children that aliens aren't real and the principal wasn't actually kidnapped and the aliens aren't coming to get them too blah blah blah) because it might just be my favourite memory of elementary school.

So thank you, Humboldt Public School teachers of the mid-nineties.  I hope Space Week was as much fun for you as it was for us.

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