Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Once Upon a Time Inside Room 9...

S walks up to my desk at snack time with a look that was a mix of shock and delight plastered on his face.

S: Miss T. I think I just had a vision from when I was little or something.
Me: What S? What do you mean?
S: I think I had a vision. I was eating snack. I can't believe it.
Me: What was this vision of!?
S: I think it was me when I was three. This is crazy.
Me: What were you doing?
S: I don't know it was dark, and kind of scary. But I was three... Miss T. I think I had a vision!
Me: Wow S. That is so crazy, how do you feel?
S: That was crazy. I had a vision... :::walks back to seat:::

Is it a full moon or something? 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Perfect Sip

It's here...

The time of year when the air fills your spine with a shiver, when three-pm strolls become the norm, and when frost covered windshields remind you to climb out of bed a few minutes earlier tomorrow. It's the time of year when scarves become functional, not just fashionable, and when knitting needles and yarn cover the couch. It's the time of year when pups hibernate under blankets and holiday music pours out of every speaker. And it's the time of year when nights with hot cups of  tea and heavy quilts soothe the soul.

As the holiday season creeps in, I'm thinking of the perfect most thoughtful gifts for family, and the perfect celebrations for friends. I'm thinking of crafts and games for seven-year-olds that make the wait for santa to climb down their chimney a little more bearable. And I'm thinking a lot about what's to come in the next few months.

While I am excited to spend the holiday season with my students, I know that these could be the last few months I have to work in my school. The teacher I am replacing may choose to come back after the New Year, leaving me again without a position doing the job I love. The very thought of it leaves my stomach in knots. And while I try to be sure I have a plan if I leave- a job, going to school, running off with  the gypsies... I am also trying to be sure I have a plan if I get to stay- lessons plans, projects, and "fitting it all in." This eternal limbo state is getting to me again. I don't want to dive into my future one way or another, but really both take a great deal of planning- and I may not know which way things are going until the very last minute.

This time of year makes me not only think about what I will be doing in the coming months, but also who I'll be going through it all with, and while it's hard to admit I am starting to fell a little distant, a little lonely. I have some friends who I see and talk to every single day. Others who I catch up with on the weekends, and some that I don't see or speak to nearly enough. I feel like while I am giving some friendships my undivided attention, others are falling by the wayside and it's frightening to think that I might be letting myself drift away from them. And most of my friends have a someone that they get to spend this festive time of year with, and I have to say I'm a little jealous.  I want to reach out, and bring these people into my life to fill the places they are missing from, but I want to be sure I'm making time as well as room for them; and with my crazy life right now I'm not sure there is enough room on my plate for more.

The other night I made myself a cup of tea and pulled out my heaviest, warmest quilt. The tea was hot and steaming in my hands while I waited for it to cool. Tea has a perfect drinking temperature; it tastes best when it is hot, but not so hot that it burns, and when it gets even just a little bit too cool it leaves a funny taste on your tongue. It's hard to decide when the best time is to take that first sip, to drink the cup at just the right temperature. If you take the sip too soon, you will scorch your mouth. While you still have a chance to try again for that perfect temperature,  the rest of the cup will go down with a scratch from burning your tongue and throat the first time you sipped. But, if you wait too long the tea will be too cool, leaving that bitter taste in your mouth as you drink it down. If you are careful enough, and a little bit lucky- you just might take that first sip at the perfect moment, the moment when the tea is still hot but not so hot that it burns. And oh, what satisfaction there is in sipping at just the right moment.  

I feel like I am waiting for that just right moment in a lot of places in my life right now. I waiting for just the right moment to take a breath, and start planning my future. I am waiting for just the right moment to reach out to old friends, and let someone in my life. I am waiting for the perfect time to take that first sip, to hope and wish that I'll get lucky and the tea will still be hot, but not so much that it hurts.

Once Upon a Time Inside Room 9...
:::walking in from an Evacuation Drill:::
K: Look! There is smoke coming out of the school chimney!
E: Oh yeah! That's a really small chimney.
B: It is really small! Why is it so skinny?!
K: I don't know, but it doesn't matter because Santa doesn't go to schools anyway. Only our houses.

The Daily Sneeze ((or what's fueling the fire today...))
- afternoon sun.
- being heard.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Once Upon a Time Inside Room 9...

P: Miss T. aren't you going to miss me when I go on vacation this month?!
Me: Of course I am!
P: Well, really I'm going on TWO vacations! I'm going to the beach now, and skiing in the winter. My Aunt has houses, well, like... all over the country. So we get to stay in really nice places for free! So I get to go on two vacations!
Me: Wow! You are super lucky! You're going to pack me in your suitcase, right P??
P: :::giggles::: Misss Teeee! :::walks over to seat:::
A: Hey P! You're going to pack me in your suitcase, right??
P: Nah, I think I'll pack Miss T.

Tropical Island, here I come!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Out-Silly Em

" I thought: this is what it's all been for, 
this moment of having my own classroom, 
laughing together." 
-Educating Esme, by Esme Raji Codell

For the past few months I have been dragging my feet as I walk in the door at the end of each day. I retreat to my room where I spread out papers and scissors, books and hi-lighters, pencils and notecards, and I work some more. I put myself to bed every night achey and tired, and wake up early in the morning just to start all over again. And I love every second of it. 

At the end of the summer fate came knocking on my door, or ringing on my cell phone, with the most unexpected opportunity: a long term leave replacement position that will likely last the whole year; and a teacher that was not only willing to hand over her classroom and students, but also all of her trust in letting me run it my way. I spend each day reading, writing, solving, snacking, guessing, and laughing with twenty-three seven-year-olds. Second grade is a fantastic place to be. 

There are some days that are difficult. The days that I have to constantly remind my students that it makes me feel frustrated, sad, and upset when they don't listen. The days when tears flow, necklaces are lost, pencil sharpeners are broken, and juice spills (that red juice that stains everything, of course). There are days that try my patience and challenge the faith I have in myself. 

But then there are other days. There are days that make me smile. The days when every child is wide-eyed and deep in thought while I read them a story. The days when games are played, projects are completed, children laugh, and that red juice goes from cup to mouth without a hitch. There are days that make me feel like I'm making it, like I might actually pull this whole first-year-teacher-thing off. And oh, are these days wonderful. 

While some days are trying, and others leave me feeling like I'm walking on air, there are days in between. Days that surprise me, days that come right when I thought I'd finally figured it all out. Days that prove that nothing is certain when what you get accomplished is dependent on the moods of seven-year-olds. Days when LJ opera sings in the middle of read aloud. Days when R hunkers down in the corner with scissors and paper and glue and won't come out for anything. Days when SI just can't help but stand up and dance in the middle of poetry. And days when little M whispers for LJ to make it rain erasers until he cracks and tosses them above his head. These are the days when try as I might, nothing will get done unless I opera sing through read aloud, unless I cut and glue every assignment, unless I dance during poetry, and unless I gently ask little M to put the erasers in his backpack sans the thunder sound effects. The mantra of second grade: If you can't beat em, out-silly em. 

I'm creating a new normal for myself once again, as I venture closer and closer to my true love: teaching. I try my best to not get too comfortable in Room 9, as I don't know exactly when this dreamy state will come to an end. But I am however using my time with these sweet-faced children to the absolute fullest. I take in every smile, every unlaced sneaker, every "ah-ha!" moment, and I bank it in my memory as a learning experience that will only help me as I move forward. 

But right now? Right now I am only thinking about what tomorrow will bring: math crafts. Unless of course it's more of an opera singing type of day; then math music it is. 

The Daily Sneeze ((or what's fueling the fire today...)) 
- snickers bars
- dry erase markers
- apples by the window
- friendly baristas