Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sweet First Grade

I still can't believe how much my first graders teach me every day. 

I have a few children this year, and every year, that are a bit more difficult to love.  All of them are individuals with unique personalities and characteristics.  All of them are little, and want approval and acceptance, and love.  And I can say that I do honestly adore all of them.  Sometimes it is just difficult to remember that every day.  Some are easy-going, happy, clean, and learning comes easy.  Some are excited, talkative, playful, and creative.  Some are shy, nervous, struggle with academics, and lose interest easily.  Some are rough around the edges, noisy, impulsive, and emotional.  But we are all in this together every year.  And it surprises me how much I depend on some of my sweet kids to help all of us get through and thrive as a complete class.  We are all in this together.

A few days ago I decided that I really did need help with one of my students.  I had tried various techniques to try to reach him.  Some would label him as aggressive, impulsive, loud, and difficult.  Desperate for some help, I pulled aside a few of my more centered and well-adjusted kids.  I asked them individually to be a friend to the this boy.  I told them he needs to learn how to be a good friend and a good student and I told them that I needed their help.

Just as I expected, they were eager to do whatever they could.  For no other reason then me just asking them.  I saw them helping him to follow rules, playing with him at recess.  Explaining assignments during independant time, and re-explaining our class policies with kindness to him when he forgot.

One of the sweet girls I asked to help noticed immediately when he was on task during singing time and made sure he got the chance to go up to the front and be the leader right away.  I was so impressed with her for looking out for him that I pulled her aside again to thank her and tell her how proud I was of here for being such a good friend.  I don't always give rewards, but I gave her a sucker to just really let her know the depth of my appreciation.

Right before lunch while we were I line, I noticed her quietly going up to this same boy, and giving him that sucker.

I try very hard not to cry in front of my students, but the level of compassion was just so strong from this beautiful little girl that I just lost it.  The rest of the class started worrying to make sure they were happy tears.  I just told them all its because I have the best class in the world and I really do appreciate each one of them so much.

It is just amazing how those sweet little kids can solve problems and come up with their own ideas of how to make the world a better place.  Our classroom becomes more beautiful every day.  Even though we all continue to make mistakes, and there are still tears sometimes, and tempers flare, we really care about each other.  How could we not with such amazing kids.  I feel so lucky to be where I am and to do what I do.  There are times, especially at the beginning of the year when I feel so overwhelmed and stretched so thin.  I have so many goals to complete and things I would like to do but just cant fit in.  My home and personal life are scaled back to the bare minimum.  I find myself constantly apologizing to my own family for falling short in so many ways.  But  they believe in what I am doing.  And I love them for it.  And I love my sweet little class more and more every single day.