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My First Week of School or Help Me Name My Frog

Updated on June 6, 2011
ACSutliff profile image

A.C. Sutliff has been a teacher since 2010. She self-published a realistic fiction trilogy for teens and is now writing a fantasy trilogy.


So much has happened since the last hub I wrote about my teaching job! I am teaching sixth grade this year, my very first year of teaching, after only two years of experience with student teaching and substitute teaching, and I have so much to tell you about my first week of school!

Why do I only have a week to get ready?

The week before school started, a reality check hit me like a two ton truck. I had to get ready for my first year of teaching... in seven days! Don't ask me why I waited so long to finally go into my classroom and start setting everything up. All I can say is that I was enjoying my summer, working hard at Wally World, and procrastinating, big time. So it's no surprise that with only seven days until the first day of school, I entered my classroom and had a huge meltdown.

By day two, things had improved somewhat. Instead of a completely empty room, I finally had furniture, for starters. And I had tons of teacher books! Hurray for teacher books, they make everything wonderful! So I got to work, rearranging my books and my desk and my student tables, and before I knew it, my classroom was starting to look like a classroom instead of a basement.

But it was still missing something. A class pet! Yep! I knew that despite it being my first year, and I still didn't have a single lesson plan written, I wanted to use some of my precious time to set up a class pet in my room. I wanted my room to feel like a science teacher's room, and I wanted there to be frogs everywhere. And what's a science classroom with frogs all over the walls if you don't have a real frog in a tank?

The best part about my class pet is that I didn't have to spend a penny of my own money (I had just found out that I only get paid once a month, and it would be over a month until my first pay day). I had an old fish tank from my own middle school years, as well as a mother who was eager to buy me something to celebrate my first year of teaching. She gave me three plants, something every science teacher needs (a bamboo, an orchid, and a spider plant). Then she heard that I wanted a frog, so off to the pet store we went!

We soon returned with a happy little White's Tree Frog and a dozen yummy crickets. All in all, I spent a day and a half setting up my frog's home with nice plants to hang out in, a little water dish with the letters H2O on the side (a nice touch for a science teacher, don't you think?) and a bed of moss that would keep the little guy's home nice and humid.

The biggest project was to cover up the back of the tank, which had a nice opening for a water heater, which wasn't so nice of an opening when the fish tank is now a frog tank. I got a net and used Velcro to block the hole. The sides were a little loose, but it would be fine! My little tree frog was actually not so little. He was what they call a Large White's, costing almost 30 dollars. Not only was he large, he was also a pig! With the net in place, I put the little guy in his new home and tossed in the 12 crickets. He jumped! He lunged! He chowed down. ...He ate all 12 crickets!

I went home that night and used to find a name for my tree frog. I knew he would be a big guy, and my goodness, he could eat! So I named him Gourmand.

The next day, I returned to my classroom, set on the task of cleaning out my file cabinets, which were full of worksheets that I couldn't use. I managed to work almost ten minutes before I just had to take a break to go check on Gourmand. It had been almost five years since I had a pet, and I just had to go play with him!

My heart skipped a beat! Gourmand was gone! I peered into his tank, but I couldn't see him anywhere. In a full blown panic, I opened the tank lid--and there he was! Gourmand was fast asleep up in the corner of the tank, behind the blue plastic that goes around the top and connects to the lid. Phew! He hadn't somehow gotten loose in my classroom. That would have been a disaster!

After misting Gourmand's home with a spray bottle, I went back to work, attacking my file cabinets with renewed vigor! In fact, I think I attacked them a little too hard. At one point, I had the two middle drawers of one cabinet opened, and then I opened the top drawer as well, and the next think I knew, the whole file cabinet was tipping!

It came right at me! I tried to catch it, but it just kept right on falling. The cabinet knocked me out of the way and hit the desk right behind me. Lucky for me the desk caught the cabinet, and the papers didn't go all over! I had to take the drawers out of the cabinet in order to push the darn thing back up. I never thought a filing cabinet could be so dangerous!

There was already learning going on in my classroom, and there weren't even any students there yet! Lesson number one? Don't open more than one drawer in the filing cabinet at the same time.

Getting Ready for Open House

The rest of the week went by incredibly fast. I planned my first week of lessons, rearranged the student tables in my room FOUR times, and put up tons of posters and pictures on my walls in preparation for open house. Because I had no money, I had to get creative with my decorations. So I went online and found a website of educational comics. Here are some of them:

Not all of my comics were about frogs, but what can I say? I picked a theme, and I was sticking with it. So when my in-laws came to see my classroom on the day before open house, they decided that they wanted to buy me a frog too! So, off to the pet store we went!

My in-laws had no idea how expensive tree frogs are! So we bought a small one this time, a tiny little guy with the cutest little sticky finger pads. And boy, was he a climber! I took him out of the bag and tried to put him in the tank, and he crawled around my arm for at least a whole minute before I finally got him off of me. Okay, so maybe I liked to have him crawl all over my arm. I confess, it was fun to feel his sticky feet climb up and down.

Anyway, the next night was open house, and almost all of my students came to meet me. I met tons of parents, and my frogs were a big hit! I realized that I hadn't named my newest frog yet, and I decided that I should let the kids think of names and do a class vote.

So I did a couple last minute things, fed my frogs the rest of the crickets, and went home, determined to enjoy my weekend. It was hard to believe that I would be teaching on Monday! As it turned out, I had to return on Sunday, but only to feed my frogs.

I unlocked the door, walked in, flipped on the light and went straight to my tank. "Hi guys! You hungry?" I didn't spot them right away, but I wasn't worried. I knew they both liked to sleep up behind the blue plastic trim around the top of the tank. So I lifted the lid and dropped the crickets in. But something was wrong! The little frog wasn't there!

Uh oh, Gourmand, where'd your brother go?

I checked the tank and double-checked the tank, looked behind the plants and checked under the moss. I even took out the water dish to see if he somehow got under it, but he wasn't there. Then I realized how the little guy got out! He was small enough to squeeze through the net I put in the back to cover that stupid hole. By now, I was panicking. Gourmand's brother was somewhere in my classroom, and it had been two whole days since I last saw him! What if he was dried out and suffocating? What if he was slowly starving to death? 

I began to madly search my classroom. I checked the window and the wall by the table,  because I knew the little frog could climb. Then I checked under the table and all along the floor. Before I knew it, a whole hour had gone by and I still hadn't found him. I went back to the tank and searched the moss again, checked the whole table again, and pulled the table out just in case he was wedged in there, but he really was gone. I started to realize that I might have to leave without finding him, and that sent me into another frenzy. I left my room through the adjoining door to my team teacher's room and checked her whole classroom as well. Another hour went by, and still no frog. I went home with a sad heart.

The next day, the first day of school, was a hectic marathon. I passed out schedules, took my students on a building tour twice (two different groups of kids) and played some getting-to-you-know games. Somehow, I managed to get a classroom full of 25 children to all stay quiet and listen to what I had to say. I taught them my signal for quieting down so I could tell them something (I have a frog key chain that clicks) and somehow I made it through the whole day without running out of activities to do! I felt like a pro!

Then my planning periods came, and I finally had a chance to go talk to my fellow core teacher. I told her what had happened with my frog, and we spent another half an hour looking for him, but still no luck. I told her the frog needed water or he would dry out, and we both agreed that he was probably dead. 

The kids came back for study hall, and I quickly forgot about my frog. I spent at least three hours after school was out, making sure I was ready for the next day of school. Then I watered my plants and went home.

The Week Flew By!

The rest of the week, I left home by a quarter to seven and had an hour before school to prepare for the day, then came the marathon schedule of back to back classes for five periods, then my two planning periods (which are about an hour and a half, but fly by like the blink of an eye). Then, as is apparently mandatory for first year teachers, I spent at least three hours after school every day to get ready for the next day. I was busy.

I learned almost all of my students' names and got to know most of them. I have about 45 students which I share with one other teacher, and we had a great first week. I found out who would be the students I could rely on to lead by example, and who would make my job fun, who would challenge me, and who would push my buttons. Mostly, I found out that I am going to love teaching.

I managed to plan for the entire next week on Thursday night, and that made me feel like a pro. I did my bus duty, returned to class to water my plants on the frog table, misted Gourmand's tank with the spray bottle, and left school on Friday afternoon only twenty minutes after all the kids (but only because I didn't have a choice, I had to be at Wally World by 5 o'clock and needed to go home and eat and change clothes!).

Finally the weekend was here! I spent ALL DAY on Saturday hubbing and eating out with friends and just relaxing, not thinking about school at all. Then I remembered that I hadn't fed Gourmand since Wednesday! He was probably starving! It was too late to go buy crickets, so the very next day, I woke up before 8 (a crime for the weekend!) and went to the only pet store that was open, to buy some crickets for my fat little frog. I realized that I needed a cricket holder so I could buy more crickets at once and I wouldn't have to go to the store as often, so I bought two dozen crickets and a plastic cricket hut.

I practically ran down the hallway, burst through the door, and chucked about six crickets into the tank. Gourmand was sleeping in the corner as usual, and he looked a little irked at me. I guessed it was because he was hungry, and not because I woke him up. Anyway, he promptly ate the six crickets. I misted him with my spray bottle (he was really sticky and needed the shower!). I decided that it was time to change the moss in his tank. So I put him in my gold fish bowl and changed the moss.

Before I left, I grabbed my watering can to water my plants, but it was empty. I set it on the floor and grabbed the water jug from under the table. I was about to fill the can when I saw something. There was a green blob in the can!

I put my hand in and felt a jump!

My frog! He had been hiding in the watering can ALL WEEK LONG! Can you imagine the smile on my face as I returned the little guy to his tank and promptly fed him some crickets. I can't imagine how hungry he must have been after a whole week with no food! He was never a pig like his older brother, but he ate three crickets and jumped into his water dish... and then began to climb up the glass, to the back of the tank and that stupid net covering that stupid hole. I knew I had to do something, or he would probably go missing again.

I'm not a very handy person, but I am a very spacial person, and I could see that the back of the tank was about the length and width of a ruler, and I just so happened to have a box of rulers that would perfectly fit. I took the rulers out of the box and covered up the hole. Then I went home and wrote this hub.

Now comes the part where you get to help me out. I still haven't named my little froggy, and I would love to have some input from you. Here are some names I came up with, but if you have another idea for a great name, please leave me a comment.

Please Vote on a Name for My Frog....

What do you think I should name my White's Tree Frog?

See results


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    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      I'd love an apple! And a computer would be splendid.~ I appreciate you leaving me your thoughts. You have brightened my day, good sir.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      .....there is enough wit and charm in your writing to fill several classrooms - and you have such a natural flair for it - you may be a fine teacher - but you're also a darn fine writer too!!!!!

      Bravo to you and just let me sit in your front row - and bring an apple to school for you (an apple computer, that is - lol lol)

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      Thanks for voting Tina! And I'm so happy to hear that you read the whole thing and enjoyed yourself. You have made my day.

      I think the biggest reason why I have had success as a teacher is because I tell so many stories to my kids. They eat it up! :) Thanks again for leaving me your thoughts!

    • gr82bme profile image

      gr82bme 7 years ago from USA

      This was a great story. I usually do not read ones this long.( ADD). This one I read till the end. LOVED IT!

      You are a great story teller. I am sure you are are great teacher too.


      PS. Clicked all the thingies!

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      Hi you two!

      Houdini did show up, and I have learned my lesson with the filing cabinets. Thank you both for leaving your thoughts.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL, I loved this hub so much. you sound like a great teacher, the kind that all kids love and remember for the rest of their lives. So hope Houdini turns up okay, it sounds like he has been pretty resourceful so far :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, ha ha you sound like me! not only the frogs made me laugh but the file cabinet! I did the same thing! hee hee great story, cheers nell

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago


      I can imagine how many crickets you were buying! Gosh, I would have loved that! As it is, I'm having trouble getting my kids to do ANYTHING if I feed my frogs during the day. They all practically run up to the tank to watch if the frog so much as twitches.... I feed him during study hall now because of that!

      I am going to pick up a steel mesh top this weekend! Hopefully, Roger finds Houdini tonight....

    • Tom Cullen profile image

      Tom Cullen 7 years ago from Livonia, Michigan

      We had that problem too. Fortunately, pet shops usually carry steel mesh tops that fit aquariums perfectly. Just to be safe, we also put a rock on top of the screen. Worked like a charm!

      Your parents were wise! Our reptilian summer house guests usually became permanent family members, because the teachers in question preferred to get new class pets every year. You can't even believe how many crickets we were buying every week!

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      Tom Cullen,

      I'm glad you think Houdini fits, it's his name now. And sadly, he has disappeared again! My custodian keeps finding him and putting him back in his tank, but by the next morning, he's gone again! ARG! It's driving me crazy!

      I wish my parents had let me take care of pets over the summer! I guess I never had teachers with class pets, but it would have been fun! Oh there was a science teacher in HS with a snake, that was fun times!

      Thanks for sharing your story. :)


    • Tom Cullen profile image

      Tom Cullen 7 years ago from Livonia, Michigan

      Hi AC! I'm usually terrible at naming pets, but I think Houdini fits. If he bails out a few more times you could also go with Lucky Lindy.

      This reminds me of my kids' days in elementary school. I don't think there was a single year that they didn't bring home some kind of reptile or amphibian at the end of the year. Their teachers loved to have class pets, but never seemed to want to take them home for the summer. During most of the late 90's our home looked a lot like the reptile house at the zoo! Good times.

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago


      I do so love to see you come by! I vaguely recall you mentioning something about a plan to write and post now that you are back from vacation..... *wink wink*

      The kids and I have already started calling him Houdini. I'm trying very hard to get to know my kids. There are a few who always seem happy to see me, and most of them actively try to strike up conversations with me. I enjoy going to work so much!

      Thank you for coming by Lissa! You brighten my day with your encouraging words. I hope you are also happy, enjoying your job, and all that. I feel so special to be an object of your pride!


    • lisadpreston profile image

      lisadpreston 7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      AC- You are a funny girl.You crack me up with all of the predicaments you get yourself into. I feel like Im watching a weekly sitcom when I read your hubs because of the visuals that come in my mind.

      The frog is cute and I picked houdini but I like Christophs name greendini. dini for short. Its so cute to get your updates play by play of how your teaching job is coming along. You are well suited for teaching and Ill bet the kids adore you already. Your enthusiasm brightens my day. I love seeing you so happy. Keep up the good work, I am proud of you.

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      Christoph, that name made me burst out laughing. Greendini! Too funny!

      Blue Jay, hi there! I'm glad to know I was entertaining you. Yes, my students have already ignored me to check out my frogs a few times, and it's only been six days since we started. I will be competing for attention all year.... Thanks for sharing your story!


    • bluejay900 profile image

      Jessie 7 years ago

      Haha, that's sooo funny! My science teacher has a little bearded dragon named Saphira from the eragon book, and she had some kind of a spasm-thing in her tank while my science teacher was teaching. Then, it was like he wasn't even there. All eyes were on Saphira! Don't worry, though, she wasn't hurt. Awesome hub, though.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Yeah, give him all the names. Then you can call him Prof Columflage Greendini.

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago


      Well, it looks like Houdini won.... but I really do want to combine all the names together: Prince Christoph Columbo Camouflage Greendalf Houdini.

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Oh yeah! That will mess up the polls. You SHOULD get another frog and name him Greendalf. That's so cute! Have you decided on a name yet, Mrs. Teacher?

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      Thanks Silver Foxy,

      Yes his name is officially Houdini. Thanks for wishing me luck! Teaching is hard, but I think I got off to a good start, so this should be a great year!


    • silverfoxygirl108 profile image

      silverfoxygirl108 7 years ago


      I can tell that you're a great teacher! You're students are lucky! Yay, you found him! Houdini sounds just right. haha I guess we all know what I voted for now. :) Good luck in teaching and have fun!

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago


      Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad you like the name Houdini too. A whole tree of frogs sure would be fun!

      I have written two hubs about working at Wally World. They are "Feeding Little Miss Piggy" and "The Cookie Monster Threw Up." Thanks for asking about that!

    • KKalmes profile image

      KKalmes 7 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Hello AC, I loved this hub, and I am so happy for you finding your place in teaching it sounds like a great fit. I too chose Houdini.

      I read males are larger than females, so don't be surprised if you come back after winter holiday to an extended family of tree frogs... and Houdini might not be appropriate for a female.

      thumbs up and awesome because we don't have an excellent rating.

      much good luck throughout the year... and working at Wally's World is priceless where's our hub on that?

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago


      I wasn't sure if you'd be disturbed to have a frog named after you or not. I did have a busy week! I'm glad I didn't tell the kids that the frog was loose in the classroom all week.... Wonder if I will tell them eventually....?

      I have too many good names now.... I might just have to string them all together into one really long name, starting with Prince of course. Prince Christoph Columbo Camouflage Greendalf Houdini. ^^

      Lizzyboo, your idea is awesome. I have decided to name a frog Greendelf, maybe I'll get one more just for that name? I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

      K Alto, I agree, and I would add that name to the polls, but it would mess up all the votes that already came in.

      How do you do, Freya. Nice to see you come by. Thank you for reading and for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


    • Freya Cesare profile image

      Freya Cesare 7 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

      hi, how do you do? I really enjoy this hub. You write it well and funny too.

      By the way, I like prince for the frog name. ^_^

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Christoph! I gotta laugh at the whole shenanigans with Kiss and Prince and all that. Too funny! I was waiting for your response and wondering if you'd notice my comment. haha.

      I like LizzyBoo's name for the froggy. Greendalf is a cool name! You should add that one to the polls! Nice!

    • LizzyBoo profile image

      LizzyBoo 7 years ago from Czech Republic

      lol I would name him Greendalf!

      Amazing story, well written, great fun. Thank you very much.


    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Bite your tongue, Kalto! Mama Mia, I thinka we-a know who I-a voted for-a! Christoph Columbo!

      Actually, I think all the names are good. Although, you could name him Prince, then put a little stereo system in the tank playing "Kiss," cause if you kiss him, he turns into Prince. Sounds like you had a busy week.

      By the way, I'm sooooo glad the little fella turned up! I was losing sleep!

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      Thanks Tectonic! I'm glad to see you voted, and you enjoyed this hub.

    • tectonic profile image

      tectonic 7 years ago from Singapore

      haha....pretty funny stuff....i would name him camouflage

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      I was devastated! Can you imagine? He's just a helpless little frog, and because I didn't take the time to cover that stupid hole in the back the right way the first time, he nearly died! I thought he was dead, and I felt so bad.... but now I am determined to be the best frog owner ever to make up for it!

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Oscar the Grouch! Good one. I much prefer Sesame Street to the creepy Muppets any day. I used to get nightmares about the Muppet - tragic childhood phobia. :)

      I'm so happy you found you frog! I remember how worried you told me you were. Yay!

    • ACSutliff profile image

      ACSutliff 7 years ago

      You're right Kim! I should name my file cabinet Oscar the Grouch. LOL! I know that's sesame street and not the Muppet's, but it just seems to fit.

      I was so very relieved and overjoyed to find my frog. Can you believe it? The watering can! For an ENTIRE WEEK! Man! I still can't believe it!

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Houdini! I love that one! Don't name him Christoph or else Mr. C.R. will get ideas... hehe. AC, I really love the way you wrote this whole Hub. I can tell you're really enjoying this. I'm so glad you found Houdini - still yet to be named! Yay! That's great!

      I've never thought of having a tree frog as a pet but now you're beginning to influence me.

      Oh and that part about the file cabinets. Priceless! How are you always getting yourself into these predicaments. At least it wasn't cookie monster or miss piggy this time. You ought to give your file cabinet a name now.

      Great Hub. I really enjoyed reading it!


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