This school year has been quite a challenge for me. I've moved schools and grade levels. I'm teaching a much younger age group than I am accustomed to, and that has come with its pros and cons.
Pros include very affectionate children that are extremely enthusiastic and appreciate the tiniest things.
Cons include tattling, tattling, lack of independence, and tattling.
Being in a building with teeny, tiny children has been a lot of fun. Every morning I stand in the hallway and watch the teeny little children in their puffy coats, hat and mittens. They don't even know me, but that doesn't stop them from telling me all kinds of details. I feel like a goddess when I walk down the hallway. Little adorable children come up and fling their arms around me saying random things like "I love you!" "You're my brother's after school bus holding area!" "Today is my teacher's birthday!" "I ate cereal for breakfast!" It doesn't matter if they don't know me, or I don't know them.
Back in my classroom, my students are taller than these kids, but their enthusiasm is equally high. The week before winter break means that my students are at MAXIMUM ENTHUSIASM!!!!!!!! They speak a mile a minute, they fight, and they come in on a sugar high before school even begins. And let's be honest. I'm tired and less than patient. Not a good combo.
On the last day of school, we were going to do hot chocolate in our classroom. I'm ten miles from the nearest water source, and have two outlets in my classroom, so planning was of the essence. I filled a Crock Pot with water, carried it the ten miles back to my room, and plugged it in to make sure it was warm on time. Our grade level was showing "The Polar Express" and was going to have hot chocolate
after the movie. As it turns out, very few of the teachers got the supplies they needed, or the movie, so I ended up with several classes in my classroom. It was packed, and my room smelled like stinky feet. A little trouble maker from another class was seated near my Crock Pot and I basically told him with my eyes that anything that would happen to the Crock Pot would mean eternal torture.
The movie ended, everyone left the room, and I went to prepare the hot chocolate only to find...
HE HAD TURNED THE CROCK POT OFF.
I had cold water. Miles from a water source, no way to heat up water.
I seriously thought I was going to beat the kid with my ladle.
All day long, the kids were wild. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. Ms. Non-Mommy was NO LONGER HAVING FUN.
So what that the kids were excited about hot chocolate?
So what that they didn't know that I was planning to load the cups with huge globs of whipped cream?
So what that they didn't know that I was going to put sprinkles and a candy cane in the hot chocolate?
All the fun was sucked out. All I wanted to do was go home and rock in the corner, sucking my thumb.
I felt like Kate Gosselin. You know what I mean. Kate "We're going to have fun and make memories, damn it!!!!!!!" Gosselin. Kate "I make everyone miserable" Gosselin.
I mechanically made the kids large, sweet hot chocolates. I was grumbling in my head. I just wanted the day to be over. Why do I bother trying to make my classroom homey? Why do I bother to do fun things that the other teachers don't even do? Why do I put myself through the trouble? No one even appreciates it.
And then, a sweet, sweet child said something that jerked me right out of my pity party. This child is a very angry child due to sad life circumstances. Everything in his life has changed in the last 6 months, and he's been fighting it every step. He's always so unhappy.
I gave him his hot chocolate. He smiled and said
"This is the best day ever. I feel so cozy and special."
Cozy and special.
In two words, that child summarized the reason I go to school every day. It isn't unnoticed. And from that child, it's high praise indeed. Of all the children in the world, this child needs to feel cozy and special.
With a little pep in my step, and a second wind, I went around and squirted a blob of whipped cream in each child's mouth. And they loved it.