It is a hot, hot day.
Our Memorial Day assembly was solemn and lovely, but now my kids are restless, and anxious to talk. It is physically impossible for sixth graders to be quiet for more than ten minute spans, and the assembly lasted almost two periods. They try to settle in and begin the reading/writing/conferring work that is our multi genre writing workshop now…but our classroom ripples with hard-to -contain- in- one- seat energy.
It is a hot, hot day. And there is a lot to do.
As we close in on the last weeks of school, I am ever conscious of the clock and the work to be done. I catch myself beginning the period before the bell has rung, and ending the period after it was supposed to be over. There is never enough time in any given school day as it is, but at this time of year the clock seems to be ticking faster. Today, as we break for the Memorial Day weekend early (those unused snow days!), I can hear an unpleasant pitch to the tone of my voice: it’s the sound of an anxious teacher, a teacher too conscious of the ticking clock, and lessons still needing to be taught.
It is a hot, hot day. And there is a lot to do. But, the children need me to choose kind.
I thought about that this morning, when a student came to our room early to discuss her photo essay (what she said she needed help with), but spent half an hour talking through a “friend situation” instead (what she really needed help with). This is the time of year when friendships have frayed, and long summer days without friends to hang out with loom large.
I thought of my first writing conference of the day in which my student let drop that he was “actually, really not looking forward very much to summer after all”. One of his parents is moving out of the house and across the state. It will be the summer he has already begun to call “the divorce summer”.
I thought of an eighth grader who had walked me to my car the other day. He is going to attend high school elsewhere, leaving all his friends behind and having to start all over again. “I will be a nobody,” he said, mournfully, “and where I am a somebody, they’ll just forget all about me”.
I thought of the student who stopped by our classroom at lunch to announce that the boy she’d had a crush on all year (the one she’d called “the devil’s spawn” just the other day) had finally asked her out. I took in her beaming face, and the way she hopped around with delight, and I let myself “forget” (just for a few minutes) that she is quite behind in her writing project. We’ll get to that later, I felt, right now this kiddo needs a happy hug.
It is a hot, hot day. And there is a lot to do. But, the children need me to choose kind. Especially now.