Monday, March 3, 2014

Let them be Little?!

This week, I have already experienced one of the most *precious* moments in a student's life! To introduce this wonderful moment of truth, I first have a confession.

I didn't want to teach fifth grade. Many of you already know this about me. I convinced myself that I could do it because I taught fourth grade last year. I always said, the two grades I NEVER. EVER. wanted to teach were kindergarten and fifth. Kinders are too babyish and fifth graders are too growny! Still, when given the opportunity this year to teach fifth, I knew they were really little kids at heart and that they wanted to have just as much fun as those little kiddos!!! I convinced myself that I would be the fifth grade teacher that kept those babies CHILDREN! After all, they want to grow up way too fast now-a-days!!! I knew that parents would love my take on keeping their children engaged in their childhood innocence. After all, they are still ELEMENTARY students. That was my plan, keep them children, let them enjoy their childhood!

While reading in Where the Red Fern Grows, my school phone rang and it was an early dismissal. I HATE GETTING INTERRUPTED WHILE I"M READING...and my class knows this very well! I told the student to go ahead and pack up and head to the office and have a great day. While he packed up, I continued reading and my students were they always are when I read...a little sarcasm here because this is also always really close to our recess time! No one but me saw this encounter take place and even the two boys that were a part of it, have no idea the impression they made on me that day! The student who was being dismissed early left the class, but before he shut the door behind him, stepped back inside and gave me a look of hesitation and then put his hand on another student's shoulder in our class that sits very near to the door. He then said in such a soft whisper that I didn't hear him but was able to read his lips..."I hope your brother feels better soon." He turned and responded with thanks and the early dismissal left the classroom.
The one student's 6th grade brother was diagnosed with bone cancer this week and he was very worried about his brother.
This may not seem like much of a story to you, but as I sat in my director's chair in the center of the class and witnessed the care and expression of the boy being dismissed early...a boy in who I would have NEVER expected this...a boy in who had no desire for anyone to notice him or even know that he was talking..I was met with a moment of truth. The boy who took the time to come back in and express his concern changed that day in a way that he doesn't even realize, in a way that petrified me when I thought of fifth graders. In that moment, he went from being a childlike boy to being a supportive young man.
The wonderful truth about fifth grade is that they are children...but they are in the process of becoming young men and young women. I'm proud to be a fifth grade teacher this year and experience such a vital part of their "growing-up". I no longer resolve to keeping them children, but rather determine to show them how to be young men and young women.
May God help us set good examples before them each day!

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