And I'm about to crush their spirits because of my teacher fail.
I feel horrible.
Every year at this school I order fertilized duck eggs, place them in the incubator, and wait 28 days for our babies to hatch. During the incubation period we learn a lot about life cycles, eggs in general, and tons of info about ducks. Each year this activity intrinsically rewards me: it fills me with joy to see tiny baby ducks use all their might to come into this world, my students adore these little ones and show such tenderness, I am reminded of how sweet the world can be, I see life bloom and grow before my eyes and in my students.
But not this year.
I ordered a new incubator, hoping for better results and an easier process.
This new contraption fooled me, confused me. The thermometer consistently read too high, but adjusting the factory settings to lower the temperature seemed futile. I left the top of the incubator ajar to adjust the temperature myself. I added water to maintain humidity and candled the eggs. The light showed the ducks were growing! I thought maybe, just maybe, four or five ducklings will make it!
On Wednesday I removed the automatic egg turner, as scheduled three days before hatch. The delicate eggs felt heavier in my hand, a positive sign. I reached deep into my soul and hoped to hear a little peep in a few days time. Before I replaced the lid, I noticed something devastating: blood stain inside one egg. Death. I took a deep breath and recalled, just like I teach the children, the circle of life does not always complete a full rotation. I left the egg incase I was mistaken.
On Friday, I packed up the incubator to take it home. The eggs' hatch date was Saturday, but every year they hatch 2 days early. Such ominous feelings consumed me during this entire process that I decided the responsibility fell on me to take the eggs to my house, not allow a family to watch them and call
Saturday morning I woke up at 6am, thinking I heard peeps. I laid in bed and listened, trying to decipher if the sound came from outside my window or in the bathroom where I kept the incubator safe from our pets. In getting up every step felt like a decision: do I check for ducklings and find nothing or maybe something, or turn back and try to sleep and hope they hatch? I pushed the handle of the bathroom door open.
Nothing. The eggs looked the same, except more eggs show blood stains.
Cursing myself for doing whatever it was I did wrong, I tried to go back to sleep.
I woke up 3 more times to find nothing, before giving into the day.
I write this at 8:30pm on Saturday, knowing exactly what I don't want to write.
Changing between verb tenses but honestly too upset to care.
Monday will be a tough day in the classroom explaining to twenty-eager students who monitored every day of the hatch countdown, so excited to name the ducklings, who know random facts about Mallards for no good reason, that there will be no ducklings this year.
Not only do I face their reactions, but my own. I took 14 eggs away from their mother, to be their own mother. I challenged G-d to do it myself, and it serves me right.
I need to leave nature to nature.
This will be the last year I attempt to hatch ducklings. While the rewards are great, the burden of death is too much.
I'm sorry kids, but this year we won't have ducklings.
Massive Teacher Fail.