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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's always something.....Thank God!

I teach 4th grade.  During my typical day I have a 30 minute lunch break each day.  In addition,  I have enrichment breaks.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my total break (if I combine all of the times together) is about an hour or more!  I get to go home at 3:30 if I want to.  I get off on all of the holidays and ALLLLL summer long.  What a dream..........

This is what you don't know about your kids' teachers. 

.................I never get one of those breaks.  I inhale my lunch so I can quickly jump to whatever task has BEEN waiting in my room.  Other than that, my other breaks typically are taken by a student who can't find a lunchbox, or needs to check out, or needs to make up work, or is sick, or hurt, or needs an ice pack, is being bullied, needs to "talk", lost their recess, needs help with an assignment, can't cross the road alone, needs the key because the gate is locked, has a knot in her shoe, can't find someone to play with, lost a sweater, or a sweatshirt, or a backpack, or a recorder, or some book that the library NEEDS right NoW! {just to name a few}....

Sometimes there is a well-meaning parent who just stopped in to say hi! {but as long as she's there} We end up talking about Susie or Joe for most of, all of, or more than the alotted time I have on my "break".

Then, there's the other faculty and staff.  If a teacher dares a stroll through campus without 22 children trailing behind her, she undoubtedly WILL be stopped by 2, 3, or 5 other faculty or staff members who have meeeeaning to assk you this question!

Dismissal?  This is open conference time.

So, as the day ends, I always look at my desk and think of how much work I have to take home, and how I got "nothing" done all day long!

The truth is I did get A LOT done that day and every day.  I helped a child that needed a band-aid, who felt sick and needed to feel loved, was a friend to a child who felt she had no one, stopped a bully, helped a struggling child to really "get" a concept, listened ~[no, reallly listened]~, and found a sweater, lunchbox, sweatshirt, library book, and notebook.

I may have helped another colleague in someway with that thing they had been needing to ask.  I may have solved the problem of how to create this prop or that one for a play, or helped with the Promethean Board, or at least contributed to an idea in someway.

I helped a parent to understand how to help their child at home with that darn reading comprehension, how to study, why he acts that way, why homework takes so long, where to go from here. 

This whole post was inspired by one thing.  I didn't send home signed papers today.  I've been swamped with grading papers lately {still finding that 4th grade rhythm} and had not recorded my class's grades in my book yet.  Well, there's lunch break (where I helped a child), then there's PE (when I had a much needed conference).....Then, there is always those last 30 minutes after PE and before homeroom when we usually have a little extra time. 

...................But, Susie brought a King Cake today.  Susie makes it a point, apparently, to always bring the first King Cake of the Mardi Gras season.  In my first year of teaching, I accidentally made a child feel like her treat was unwelcome because there was just too much work to do.  Of course, that is not at all what was said, but it didn't matter.  That's how she felt.  I didn't do that to Susie today.  We had no time for her scrumptious treat.  Zero.  I served it anyway.  The kids loved it.  Susie was the class hero.  Everyone left happy....with NO signed papers.
They'll get their papers tomorrow, and Susie will go home today and tell her mom how much everyone loved it with a big, fat smile on her sweet face.

Teachers ARE busy, all the time, even on breaks, even at home, even at night when they are up later than anyone grading papers, losing sleep over a student's class performance, getting to school earlier than anyone to get started on work.  Even during the summer when we plan and organize and clean and decorate.  Even during the holidays when the classroom is quiet.

I do it because I am selfish.  I love the feeling of helping a child feel important, smart, beautiful, needed, wanted, confident, or "cool".  I can't get enough.


P.S. If you have a child in my class, signed papers will go home tomorrow. ehem... Sorry.

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