It’s Picture Day – And That’s Nothing To Smile About

It never ceases to amaze me how Picture Day becomes one of the most negative and stressful days of the entire school year. Filled with dramatic twists and turns, it is a wonder how any of us survive.

Really, this should be the day for our Parent Coordinator to shine… this is her big event, her piece de resistance, her organizational coup. (Because really, besides creating type-o filled memos to send home, what else does she have to do? She certainly isn’t planning anything informational for parents or spreading cheer around the building, that’s for darn sure.)

In true form, our original Picture Day schedule informed us that we were to pose for our photos during lunch. And again, in true form, when I informed the Parent Coordinator of this slight problem, she responded by saying, “well, we’re just all going to have to be flexible, aren’t we?”

Um, hi, sister friend? Pretty sure we need to feed the kids…yea, don’t think we can bend the rules and be flexible with that one. And while I acknowledge that having five months to create a schedule must be difficult, and I realize that this difficulty is only compounded by the fact that you must consider the two lunch waves that have occurred at the same time for seven years, it must also be said that you are truly a moron.

After many frantic emails, grunted hallway conversations and a whole shit-load of eye rolling, our scheduled time was changed. Sadly, we were now set for our close ups AFTER lunch. On pizza day.

Cue my pep talk on the beauty of smocks. Not wanting to endure the wrath of parents who are rightfully fuming over their child’s tomato sauce themed photo, I forced each and every child in my class to wear a smock to lunch. Punctuated by fear and guilt, this speech was a thing of beauty and, pat myself on the back, all my friends came back with clean shirts.

We were moments from lining up at the door when, RING!

Freaking phone!

Me: “Hello?”
Angry Voice: “Where are you?? You need to be down here for pictures! NOW!”
Me: “I’m doing well, thanks for asking. And how are you?”
Angry Voice: “NOW.”
Me: “We were scheduled for 1:00. It’s five of one right now. We’re…”
Angry Voice: “Well, we’re ready NOW, so you should be down here!”

My ESP must be on the fritz, because I did not sense that we should be early. Stupid clairvoyance. (Hey new teachers!! Don’t forget…practice that mind reading before you get your own classroom! It sure comes in handy!)

We troop downstairs, smiles plastered on our faces. We enter the auditorium and I am immediately smacked in the face by the stench of our photographer. Now, in reality, I am an adult, and can grin and bear the stench of another person who clearly suffers from body odor/inadequate bathing routines. However, my twenty little friends, fueled by pizza and giddy with their upcoming moment in the sun, cannot. Noses are held, looks are exchanged and I desperately try to send them that “Do NOT laugh” glare that I usually reserve for errant farts on the carpet.

A moment later, I am left wondering why I stuck up for this smelly jerk in the first place as he proceeds to bark orders at me and then man-handle my babies. (And you know I go all Mama-Bear on people who touch my babies!) My friends are lined up in size order, and Smelly VonStinksALot grabs my little Muppet by his skinny little wrist and drags him on stage.

Me: “Um, sir? Can you please not touch my children?”
Smelly VonStinksALot: “They need to be on ze stage.”
Me: (Is he really French? Or is that a terrible attempt at an artsy accent?) “Well, they can get up there without you grabbing at them. We keep our hands to ourselves at this school.”
Smelly: “Whatever.”
Me: “Thanks for you professionalism.”

We are finally all in order on stage. I am posed next to the flag, standing next to Big Boy (of all people!) My hair is freshly tossed, lip gloss applied (Hey…who wants to look back at their youth and think, “My teacher was a dumpsite” ? The answer is nobody.) and a smile plastered on my face. My friends look super cute in their little uniforms. We are like a little family…

And then…

Smelly: “Hey you! Kid! Take off zose glazzes!”

“But Mrs. Mimi, I really like my glasses. My mom said to leave them on.”

Me: “Sweetheart, then leave them on. They make you look super handsome.”

Smelly: “He looks ridiculous. It eez better without ze glazzes. Take zem off!!”

Me: “He will do no such thing. His mother wants them on.”

Smelly: “He is ruining ze picture.”

At this point, my little friend looks devastated. Seriously, is this Smelly Smelly little man going to start with me?

Me: “Do we have a problem here?”

Smelly: “Whatever.”

And finally, Smelly VonStinksALot snaps the picture. Who knows if anyone was smiling anymore…

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  • Ahhh yes…picture day. A lovely time, that is for sure. My favorite is that they always do our pictures in the cafeteria, so not only are we expected to take pictures whenever they so deem (no schedule here, they just stop by and say “NOW!”) we also have to eat in our rooms. Fabulous!

    And we take our pictures SITTING DOWN on risers. Who has ever heard of such a thing?? My first year at this school I wore my cutest little dress and heels for our pictures, only to be plopped on the center of the risers. Lovely… I can’t WAIT until our picture day this year…(insert large eyeroll here)

    February 10, 2009 at 2:50 am
  • Your ability to refrain from punching people in the face never ceases to amaze me.

    February 10, 2009 at 2:57 am
  • Why is it that photographers INSIST that everyone smile? AND everyone MUST show some teeth. Since I have tiny teeth and tend to show A LOT of gum when I really smile, I resent their insistence. I’ve perfected my slightly smiling slash it’s still cute smile by practicing in the mirror just for these occassions. Plus, we’re so artificially posed that we all have that deer-in-the-headlight look. Last year I got so frustrated with the photographer posing me and telling me to tilt my head just so … I refused to show any teeth. And, surprise, the picture turned out pretty good!

    February 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm
  • Been teaching in public schools for 33 years and I thought that I had seen it all…

    Thanks for the fantastic sense of humor…we need that so much in our jobs!

    I laughed out loud!

    February 10, 2009 at 1:42 pm
  • What lovely people they hire for picture day! I feel bad for the kiddo with the glasses. Like wearing glasses isn’t hard enough as a kid!

    February 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm
  • Yeah, that asshat would have been bitch slapped by the end of that story. What? I’m from Chicago! 😉

    February 10, 2009 at 5:55 pm
  • i just stumbled on your blog today…(i also follow angela powell) and picture day left me in tears of laughter…your sense of humor is priceless…the big boy report on your sidebar intrigued me so i read all your older posts until i came to the big boy powwow day…if i had a big trophy to give you, i would…i think your “circle” solution was perfectly timed and well done…somebody else said it better, but its not just about the grades and lessons…its also about helping this little people figure out how to navigate the bigger world…and their age it starts in your classroom…i am a 40 yr old just starting back to college after 20+ years so i can eventually teach…i looked at my life and felt like i wasn’t contributing enough back to society…i want to be in the trenches…and even though its not all roses, teachers inspire me…and i hope to be one before its too late…thank you for making me laugh and for duking it out every day…you and your blog are great!

    February 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm
  • That photographer sounds like a truly disgusting person in many ways! You handled it well, though. I liked the part where you told him, “We keep our hands to ourselves at this school!” Yes, little children deserve to be respected, not manhandled by strangers!

    February 11, 2009 at 12:27 am
  • Oohhhh…..forget my two and a special needs teens who do not do well with changes) you win. The mean smelly man would tick me off a lot more. How rude and mean. So mean. If you haven’t guessed, I am really mad about the mean part. (ChiTown, thought I was the only person who still says Asshat….I’m not alone after all!)

    February 11, 2009 at 3:49 am
  • One Picture Day to smile about.

    I once saw a documentary shory (<10 min.) entitled Picture Day. The filmmakers went to a school on picture day and put together 15 frames from a bunch of different kids. Some were making faces, some just smiling, some moving, some standing still. Just kids.

    It might have been hell on the teachers, but the kids were all obviously happy and the film was full of awesome elementary-school kid-ness. Just try to keep that image in mind when picture day rolls around again next year.

    February 11, 2009 at 4:04 am
  • that photographer was a jackass… i’m impressed your babies kept it together and didnt let smelly von stinks alot bother them.

    February 11, 2009 at 6:48 am
  • Who’s idea is picture day anyhow? At my school we do the individual shots – also in the cafeteria (yup, lunch in the classroom). They are always awful, the kid barely sits down when “click” next. Ever notice the photographers are always personality deprived?
    My “favorite” photo is the whole group shot every fall. We cross the street to the grass by the church and stand in chalked lines to spell out a word. This year it was LOVE. Sorry, not feeling the love when I have to keep getting our of the top of my class’s letter because at 7 we can’t possibly stand still next to a chalkline without touching somebody else and making the letter crooked. It’s always wet and cold and the kids are told they can’t wear coats. We spend forever looking up to the photographer on the ladder smiling (Do you really think individual smiles matter?) Obviously I’m not in charge.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:03 pm
  • We have the world’s best photographers – so the experience is nice and painless.

    I probably would have clobbered the photographer with his trusty camera. At least until he lost the accent.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:10 am
  • What a douche! Pardon my language!

    January 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm

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