Saturday, October 9, 2010

With the Fourth Graders

Time has been moving along at warp speed since school started. Here we are, already into October!

  Working with the 4th grade kids has been great. I love the kids I teach and get such a kick out of them!  Meeting in small groups, we sit around a kidney shaped table in close quarters. When kids sit that close to you, they get a close-up view as they, often unabashedly, study you. Last week one girl was looking at me closely and asked if I waxed my eyebrows. They often tell me I smell good. A couple of years ago, a student asked me what the bump on my lower eyelid was, prompting me to finally see an opthomologist, leading to its removal and a "not cancerous" verdict. I hadn't even considered cancer! Even from a distance, kids notice you. The other day, as I passed him in the lunch room, a Second grader told me he "liked my hair." On the other side of the spectrum, I was once told matter-of-factly that I had "a big tummy."
My job is intervention. The kids I teach are usually 2+ years behind their grade level in Reading. I see them for 30 minutes, working on mostly phonics and fluency, then I leave and go on to the next group.
 I have so much respect and appreciation for every minute their classroom teacher spends serving these kids. It is hard work, exhausting work, take home from school work.
You know how grandparents say, after spending a couple of days with the grandkids, "there's a reason you have your kids when you're young!", I think it's the same with teaching. My job is kind of like being a grandma. I don't have all 30 at a time. I'm not there, with them in the classroom, all day.I don't deal with the myriad of problems that come up in the school day. I hope that, by my small attempts to serve them, they know how much I admire and honor them. It really is, largely, a thankless profession.
The best thanks I get is when my students feel proud of themselves after presenting a Readers Theater to their class with all the giggly jitters of a broadway production, or recognize one of their vocabulary words in another book, or when one asks me why he can't come to be tutored in the morning, as well as the afternoon. After all, everyone likes to go to grandma's.
So if I complain, know that I love my job, that I'm ever grateful for it and that even with the frustrations, it is usually a great source of happiness, and purpose, for me.


just call me jo said...

There's no greater or more exhausting job...I'm sure those kids appreciate everything you do for them even though they don't always say it. When they notice eye bumps it's like acknowledging your connection to them. They're little mysteries who are just a little behind like my one grandson. Thanks for all you do.

Clair said...

I'm sure you touch their hearts deeply, and many will carry memories of you throughout their lives.

I have fond memories of caring teachers from my elementary years who I only saw for short periods time. One in particular, I remember the love I felt from her. I knew she cared for me. Her smile and beauty. And yes, I do remember that I thought she smelt lovely. :) Just having the knowledge that someone cares for you, it's hard to forget that.

Congratulations on your new grand baby, btw! She is so adorable!