It seems like I’ve known my kids for months at this point.
I talk about them as though I’ve known them since kindergarten or something. I can tell stories about them and have a vision of them with such incredible accuracy. Spending so much time with a group of kids has been so fascinating (and exhausting). I don’t ask how it’s only been nine days because I’m ready for it to be over; rather, I ask how it’s only been nine days and I love these kids SO MUCH.
I think my favorite moment thus far of the whole nine days has been with a sweet girl who has never been to school in the United States before. She worked with an interventionist the other morning during reading and she came back and literally read me a whole book — in English AND Spanish. It was probably the cutest thing ever (who wants to take bets on how many times I say that this year?). She was so excited to show me and I was so proud of her — it was a true moment of pure teaching joy.
Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t really think I have bad kids. Maybe I just don’t want to think of them as bad. Really though, they aren’t bad. They’re a little chatty and excitable at times, but they are wonderful! Yeah, we fall apart at the end of the day, but I think with a tighter routine we’ll get better about it. Yeah, our transitions aren’t silky smooth, but I think with practice we’ll get there. It’s the beginning of a great year and I think I’ve got some hard workers in my class.
I think I’m most excited about seeing how they develop throughout the year. There are a couple kids who I’ve had to have conversations with about outbursts of behavior/talking, and I can definitely see them coming a long way by the time June rolls around.
Another one of my favorite things about this year so far as been recess (who knew I would love recess, the most non-academic part of the day?). Today I earned a TON of street cred for my jump rope skillz (the z is necessary), and I helped a couple kids with a little four square conflict. It’s nice knowing that you can really help a kid out in his time of need, and I think we can all agree that recess is a crucial time for elementary schoolers. It’s so fun talking to the kids and interacting with them in a setting that’s outside of the classroom yet still at school. I’ve also really loved our dismissal time (not because that’s when the kids leave). Each teacher has certain buses/groups in her room for dismissal, and each group of students is called over the intercom as soon as the respective bus/van arrives. I have the red and green buses (talk about festive) in my room right now, and these red bus kids don’t necessarily have the best reputation with teachers. Despite this, they are hands down my favorite group of kids that I get to spend time with at the end of the day. There are about six kids who come to my room who ride the red bus, and they are so sweet and respectful it makes my heart just beam. I haven’t had a problem with any one of those kids, and I don’t really foresee any problems with them at this point. It’s been really enjoyable getting to know other kids in the third grade, and it definitely makes recess and lunch a more fast-paced time for me!
There have been a lot of parts about teaching that have really challenged me — I’ve had bullying incidents and stress about not having constant TA support in my room (Shaunna, you were a GODSEND last year and I’m so sorry if I ever took you for granted). I’ve had to think on the fly, improvise, and just throw my hands in the air and say “Screw it, we’re doing free draw.” But even for every challenging moment I have, I know that’s making me better. I enjoy these challenges and I know they’re bringing me closer to the best teacher I can be.
The last nine days have been a whirlwind, that’s for sure. Already, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’re getting places. As thrilled as I am to see where these kids end up in June, I think I’m looking forward to all of our pit stops throughout the year even more.