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 

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Thanks for taking some time to smell the sneezeweed!