May 29, 2013
I was just asked a question that provoked an immediate response from me: a response that has been running through my mind with some regularity over the past few months.
The question was “What is the best thing that has happened to you lately?”
My response was “Teaching Grade 4.”
I had no idea I would fall in love with these 23 kids like I have. My days, for several months now, have been flurries of activity. My responsibilities have been, oftentimes, overwhelming. My students have been, oftentimes, demanding. I have been, oftentimes, short at best, impatient at worst. My life has been full . . . And I have been fulfilled.
Who knew I could ever be a classroom teacher? Certainly not I.
Yesterday I was giving one of my “Our time together is almost over” references, and one of the students asked if I was sad. I didn’t even try to mask it–figured there was little point. Instead I pointed out to her, and to the whole class, my tear-brimming eyes. Yeah, I’m pretty sad.
We reminded each other that I would see them again next year. But we knew it would be different. Not that it won’t be good next year. I know it will. But change is hard for us mortals, no matter how beneficial it may be.
Today one of my student’s plants bloomed, a little flower-like bud appearing on his science project. I guess it’s fitting that the first of these would appear on our last full day of school. And I guess it’s also fitting that this plant belongs to one of the kids who especially tugs at my heartstrings, with his tough-exterior-sensitive-interior . . . I think I’ve always had a soft spot for those not-so-tough tough guys :-)
The other day I had one of my moments of impatiently responding to lack-of-attention. One unfortunate by-product of the end of the year is that, as much as I’d like to just be loving in everything, in actuality I find my temper shorter than usual. At any rate, several students were being rowdy and I noticed the group, calling out one culprit by name. He was not one of the usual rowdy ones, so I can’t remember ever calling him out like that. A few moments later I was shocked to notice that he was blinking back tears, hiding it by peering intensely at his schoolwork. I just about lost it myself, horrified that I could have hurt him so with a simple rebuke. I was especially careful after that, quick to praise him, and others, and slow [I hope] to correct. But it was a good, necessary reminder for me of how crucial my role is as a teacher . . . and of how deeply I love these kiddos.