This is my first week back to my own classroom after a long, long hiatus. I worked as literacy coach on a campus and at the district level for many years. I left that world to join the confraternity of self- contained teachers of 4th graders learners. How did my first week go? I came home today and crashed. I was overwhelmingly tired and my head was spinning. I felt completely and utterly tired. It was a good tired, though. After many years as a literacy and Science coach, I became tired of the same ole, same ole. I wanted to get back to teaching students, my students on a day to day basis. I wanted to get out of the long-winded meetings that I didn't have the patience to tolerate. I kept thinking about the classroom. The classroom...where I could let my creative juices flow and be me. The classroom...where I could work with wonderful children who want to learn. The classroom... where wonder and curiosity abound. Finally, the classroom....where I could try out all of the endless ideas that I have been bouncing around in my head for years. Yep, the classroom. So how did it go? Was it everything I thought it would be? Good question.
There are some fringe benefits to being in the classroom that I did not completely grasp until the past two weeks. I never really thought too much about my team and how important being a part of a great team could be. I knew that when I accepted the 4th grade position at my school, I would be completely comfortable because I knew everyone very well and they were fun people. I never knew just how much I missed the camaraderie of being with a grade level team again. They have totally supported me in so many ways. I enjoy planning and joking with them. We plan very well together. It all runs so smoothly. Lastly, I am grateful for such a team that really cares and helps me adjust to the schedules and meetings. I am getting used to the routines because of them. If I make a mistake and forget that it is time for specials (I lose track of time sometimes) they send little reminders and wait for me. They have shown me the ropes from picking up the grade level kids in the morning, to lunch duty, and dismissal. Oh, the craziness of dismissal! Those darn dismissal tags! Where did I put the dismissal tags? Again, they wait and give me the little tips that I had long forgotten. Truly, my first week would not have been as rewarding if it weren't for them. They have no idea how much they have helped me. Now I am feeling somewhat in a groove. Thanks, fourth grade team. Y'all are dynamite!
I attend numerous meetings, collect and fill out a ton of paperwork, walk out in the blazing Sun during fire drills, clean up spilled milk, watch students declare states of restroom emergency, collect and disperse numerous dismissal tags, and tolerate unforeseen interruptions. For what? These are a part of my job and necessary, but not my favorite. I can get through all of these tasks because of nineteen young learners. I have never been so happy as to be back teaching. Some colleagues of mine thought that I must be crazy to want to go back to the classroom because of the endless paperwork, planning and workload. It was perceived as an inexhaustible energy drainer. Those things can truly be exhausting. I won't deny that, but... I get to teach! I get to work with students all day! I get to see the light in their eyes. I get to see the synapse fire! I get to see wild readers emerge and reluctant writers become crazy-confident-writers. I get to see the wonder, excitement, and sweet creativity...everyday. I know that some days will be better than others and each day will hold its challenges and magic. Today my magic moment was when the students took time for ludic reading or reading for enjoyment. Afterward, they debriefed about their books in peer groups. They were so engaged as they spoke about their books that they were currently reading.While they were talking, I heard a knock at my door. My colleague was reminding me that it was time to line up for specials. I completely forgot! We were so into reading and discussing that I lost track of time. My students promptly lined up and we were on our way! No biggie!
Still another highlight of my week was when we went to the computer area in the library. The technology person from my school is a close friend of mine. She is easy to work with and we team taught the lesson. I am going to rely on her a lot this year, as I have lots of ideas that I would like to try out. With her lead, we helped the students log into their Google accounts. They then found me on Google along with my photo. They all laughed when they saw my photo! That photo was a probably one of my best. I don't take great photos ever. You should see my official badge photo. America's Most Wanted comes to mind. The students found a way to email me! When I looked at my phone after school, I had a zillion new emails from them. There were lots of great little messages from them, along with cute little emojies. So very sweet! It made my week. I can put up with all the other things that I do not find invigorating about my job, if I get a little slice of heaven like this from time to time. Those little moments take up a big part of my heart and make all the hard work and endless hours worth it.
My first week? Not too shabby! I know I will have many more days, weeks, and months to enjoy, problem solve, and create alongside my young learners. There will be peeks and valleys. I am not worried. Why would I? I have a great team to rely, share ideas and joke around. In addition to that, I have nineteen wonderful students who always know the location of the dismissal cards and my coveted keys! Their smiles abound! Here's to a great year!