Posts Tagged ‘families’

Pretty much

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

I saw one of my former first graders, now in 5th grade(!) this morning. She came over and wrapped her arms around me in a side hug. “So,” I said, looking down at her, “when I talked to you in June you predicted you’d spend the summer on the computer and text messaging. Is that what you ended up doing?”

“Pretty much,” she said.


Bulletproof logic

October 22, 2013 Leave a comment

The nine-year-old I work with explained to me today why he knows Santa Claus is real:

“I believe in Santa Claus. My mom and dad don’t believe in Santa Claus though. My mom says that when I go to sleep and wake up and there are presents, she leaves the presents. But that’s not possible! How can a mom and dad get presents in the middle of the night? They can’t go to the stores in the middle of the night. The stores are even closed! It doesn’t make sense. So I know Santa must leave the presents.”

I guess it okay, I guess

March 30, 2012 2 comments

Today was our last day of school before Spring Break.  My most active boy was very, very active today.  Literally bounced off the walls (and doors), and told me several times that I “so mean a teacher.”  About 5 minutes before dismissal all that activity. Stopped.

Completely subdued, he came over to me, worrying his bottom lip. “What’s the matter?” I asked him.

“I-I-I no want to go Spring Break.  I don’t know what do.”

“Who’s going to be with you when you’re at home?”

“I don’t know…I guess a babysitter?”

From what I know of his family, that truly is a guess.  He and his sister might have a babysitter, or they might be dropped off at different neighbors or family members each day, or honestly, they might even be on their own for stretches of time.

“Do you want to bring some books home?  Some math games?”  [Head shake no]

“How about one of our jump ropes?”

[Slow nod] “I guess yes.”

He and I spent the last few minutes of the day walking around the classroom, opening cupboards, drawers, and cabinets, collecting anything of interest and stuffing it into his backpack.  When his bus was called he said, “I guess it okay, I guess,” then zipped up his bag, said “I going to miss you,” and ran off.

Year-end thanks

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking a lot this fall about how different my life is now than a year ago.  While some of the positive changes may have happened on their own, there are an incredible number of people who have helped change my life for the better this year.

Paul helped me kick off 2011.  At a point when I desperately needed someone to see me as more than a teacher – yet also needed someone to care about that part of me – he did both.  We didn’t last long, but our time together helped me find my balance again.

When Paul and I broke up, Melanie understood that my Facebook request for new activity ideas meant I was sad and she invited me to trapeze with her.  I didn’t go that night, but the invitation changed the course of my year.

Through the spring, summer, and fall, my coworkers have been there for me, unfailingly supportive and always willing to talk through classroom difficulties.  In the end, I returned for a second year because I couldn’t imagine telling them I was leaving.  And I’ve been happy with that choice.

At the trapeze school, Mandy has almost single-handedly provided the sense of belonging, significance and fun that I kept looking for in Unitarian churches and other activities but never really found.  She knows my flying better than I do and always knows exactly when to push and when to pull back.  I know that when I fly with her I don’t have to self-advocate – she’s got my back.

And there’s the rest of the staff and students at trapeze.  From my very first class they’ve welcomed me, almost literally, with open arms.  They listen to stories, give support and advice, and are completely fun to be around.  Becoming part of that community has been one of the most enjoyable developments of my post-college life.

And finally, there are my students.  It’s been wonderful to see H. blossom; it makes all of last year worth it.  This year’s class is full of such wonderful, vulnerable kids, and I am regularly humbled by the trust and love they give me, even on the days I don’t think I deserve it.  I know I’m not doing it all right, but they think I’m getting a whole lot of it right, and that’s definitely helping me sleep better.

While many of these people may come and go in my life, my family and close friends have been there every day of this year – and of the last.  They’ve dealt with my lows (and I know there were a lot), but I hope they’ve been able to share in my highs, too.

In the end, I feel like a very lucky girl, and am thankful for the happy, interesting year that’s gone by.

Building stamina

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

End of our first five-day week: found one of my boys curled up crying about 30 minutes before dismissal. “I’m tired of school.  I just want to go home and see my mom.”

It’s a long week of long days when you’re just six-years-old!

Teaching 2.0

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s a new school year and I’m happy to say it’s off to a great start.  I have 16 kids on my roster (although I’ve had two days so far with just 13), and they could not be more different in personality or tone from last year’s group.

The kids are so remarkably well-behaved that I’m getting almost-shocked feedback from other teachers and administrators, complimenting me on what a good job I’m doing with my class.  Many have implied that it’s the difference between being a first year teacher and a “veteran” second year teacher.  I’m sure that’s part of it, but really, I have very different kids this year.  They are highly verbal kids from stable families and they all have basic reading skills – and some are already reading at end-of-first-grade levels.  When I asked them to turn and talk to someone on the carpet about the question I posed, they all turned to someone of their own choosing, with many looking around to check that everyone had a partner, and took turns whispering quietly with their partner, then turned back to me as soon as I called for attention.

Here’s that same scene in last year’s class.  I tell them they’re going to turn and talk with a partner about the question.  I assign partners, trying to keep the aggressive kids away from each other and the limited-English proficiency kids paired with a (supportive) higher-level speaker.  I can’t do all of these things, so I partner with 3 of the kids no one else will work with (or who won’t work with anyone else).  I tell them which partner will talk first, and give them a sentence frame to help structure their talking.  While I try to coax something out of the kids I’m working with, I hear a child behind me yell “he won’t talk!” and another yell “she said YOU go first!”  When I’ve dealt with this and try to call them back together, they keep talking, even louder than before, but not about the question.

I know I’m doing a lot of things better – shockingly, it does help to know what one’s doing – but I can’t take full credit for an awesome class.  They’ve come in to me ready to learn, and it is astounding how much easier it feels to teach when that’s the case.

Life chores follow up

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

I just mailed in the prescription discussed in my October 23rd post.  Would never have happened unless my mom had 1) made the doctor appointment for me and 2) given me a stamp.  Thank god for moms.

Categories: Relationships Tags: , , ,
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