Friday, September 17, 2010

Every summer I pray for the students that will be mine in August.

I learned the hard way that spending a summer in prayer was sometimes all that stood between me and a complete nervous break down sometime the following school year.

And I'm not just kidding.

Early on in my career I mostly prayed for immunity to the various stomach viruses especially the throw up ones.
(My vomit phobia is still alive and kicking by the way but that's a whole 'nother story.)
I prayed for sweet children and patience.
I prayed for patience a lot. Big mistake.
I prayed that the parents would be nice to me and that I would be able to get it all done....the plans, the documentation, the!

I was all business. I took lots of pride in quiet, straight lines, an organized, well run classroom, lesson plans done weeks (again, not just kidding) in advance and a calm, quiet classroom.

I became known as a strict disciplinarian.  And I was.  I can bark orders with the best of them and I'm pretty sure that I can levitate a kid with the 'teacher glare' I've perfected over the years.

Many times, I fell for the line ALL principals use.
(Y'all know you do it to us. Smile.)
You know...the one that begins with...I don't think anyone else can handle this kid and ends with you somehow volunteering for that one kid whose frightening reputation has preceeded them.

Anyway....somewhere along the way I changed. 

I found that I liked the challange of looking for that one little way to connect with a kid. That one thing that would make a difference. I liked civilizing them.

I still pray for immunity to the stomach viruses-especially the throw up ones-but that's about all that remains from those first several years. I never, ever ask for patience anymore. That's just asking for trouble.

Now I mostly ask for kids that make me laugh.  I have learned to relax and enjoy five year olds and after 25+ years I'm still not sick of them. I have found that a belly laugh goes a long way towards turning a bad day into a good one.

Learning to relax and enjoy them was the key to surviving this long in the classroom.

I love, love, love the quirky ones and the ones who have no filter.  I love the ones who leave us wondering what in the world is going on in their heads.  They are all a little like puzzles.  You have to line up all the edges and then fill them in with lots of little pieces of knowledge. Sometimes everything fits together easily but more often than not the pieces must be coaxed together.  

The longer I teach the more I love it. I wish I could spend more time teaching them what they really need to know and less time pushing and rushing them to grow up faster than they should. That, my friends, is also another story.

Anyway, this was my long version of a disclaimer that while I find my students infinitely entertaining I really do attempt teach them something.

Hopefully, if I can't manage to teach them their ABCs they do leave my classroom knowing that I love them and that they matter to me.

That said, this is one of the funniest classes I have ever had.

So when I post about the funny things they do and say,
just know...
the laughter
they bring me
is an
to prayer.

Just sayin'.................

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