I don’t like being caboose

My students line up in ABC order, so the line is very predictable.  So that we won’t always have the same kid at the front, and the kid whose name starts with Q or W or Z won’t always be at the back, I have a line leader and a “caboose.”

This week’s caboose is a very sweet, very obedient little girl we’ll call Plum.  On our way to Music today, she had a hard time herding the boy in front of her to stay in the line.  We’ll call him Zucchini.  Miss Slinger wasn’t at work yet, so there was no adult at the end of the line to see what was going on.  When we got to Music, Zucchini and Plum ran around the corner from the stairs to catch up.  Plum said, very sadly, “he wouldn’t stay in line!”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Plum,” I said, absent-mindedly.

“I don’t like being caboose,” she said, as they walked past me into the music room.

On my way back to the first floor, I bumped into another teacher, who knows Zucchini.  She started laughing.

“Did you see what Zucchini did?” she asked.  “Instead of following you up the stairs to the 3rd floor, he just headed down the hall here on the 2nd floor, like he knew what he was doing.  There was nobody in front of him, but he just marched down the hall.  And that little girl behind him stood here by the stairs and called after him, ‘no, no, no!’ and started to cry!”

Poor Plum.  Zucchini had no idea what he was doing, and she always knows exactly what to do.

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6 thoughts on “I don’t like being caboose

  1. Oh, plums, zucchinis, and the occasional chili-beanies! They are the ones who keep us coming back, year after year.

    I do the ABC order thing, too. Everyone gets one week at the head of the line and when their week is up, they move to caboose spot and the next steps up. They are so excited to be line leader, but no one wants to caboose it! My sympathies to little plum 🙂

  2. I know, poor Plum! But usually kids in my class like being caboose, because they get to turn off the lights as we leave the room, and that’s a big deal because otherwise only adults get to use the lightswitch. They also think it’s fun to close the door. We’ll have Miss Slinger with us at the back of the line for the rest of the week, so Plum will not have to worry about Zucchini heading off in random directions. (Come to think of it, Pumpkin is in line just in front of Zucchini, so he might have been stressing out Plum, also!)

    I will try to make a big deal about the benefits of being caboose, so she won’t feel bad.

  3. My mind is with Plum. If every caboose veered off, there would be anarchy, chaos, ungovernability! What, no rules? But my heart is with Zucchini. May every caboose dream of making fresh tracks.

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