I’ve gotta tell you that this was a great first week back after the holidays. In fact, I would venture to say that it was the smoothest transition that I’ve had since I began teaching three years ago.
The biggest key, I believe, was my determination to RELAX despite whatever stress I might be facing.
That word has been in the forefront of my mind ever since I felt convinced that God was telling me to be more purposeful about relaxing…giving myself permission to not work until midnight or 1am…allowing myself to knit a few rows each night and read a few chapters, for pleasure, as well.
My purposeful refocusing led to some sweet moments, which I’ll share in no particular order (not that you would know since you weren’t a fly on a wall in my classroom).
I learned a couple of new words this week:
flex – lying about something that EVERYONE, including yourself, knows is true. The opposite of this word is the phrase “keeping it real.” You’ll be happy to know that I figured out the antonym all by my lonesome self. My students were proud of me.
jit – a young person; someone who is inexperienced
I was scared to ask for the latter definition until even the “good” kids told me it was okay to listen.
By the way, I have been forbidden from using both words when I talk to the kids.
One of my students, who I think I’ve blogged about, didn’t have food again today. She also didn’t have money for lunch. I scored a pack of crackers from one of the school’s secretaries and then went to the teachers’ lounge. While stopping by quickly, I ran into another teacher who has this little girl in one of her classes, and we began to discuss this child’s hunger issues, which she was completely unaware of.
I only know because I taught this gal last year, so we have a strong bond, so she felt comfortable sharing this with me.
Other teachers sat, dismayed, about the youngster’s situation, and one teacher reached over and gave me $5 to pass along to my student to buy lunch with.
Naturally, my student was a little self conscious when I gave her the money…until I explained that it is okay to accept help from people who care about you. I also told her that one day, she’ll be able to pay it forward and help someone else in need.
Then, she told me that she’d already done this. The other day when she was about to eat a Big Mac, she saw a child going through the garbage looking for food. She GAVE the child her burger.
She finally accepted the money, bought lunch, and returned to my classroom to eat it.
Another of my students, a knitter, observed the conversation between my student and myself, and then said, “Mrs. AuburnChick, you remind of Ms. Fabulous Middle School Teacher.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Because you think of your students as your own kids and are a mama to them.”
My heart melted a little at her sweet words.
One of my classes had a rough class period on Tuesday.
They were so talkative…to the point where I couldn’t even run stations.
I took away a privilege because I had warned them beforehand.
Upon reflection, I had to take part of the blame.
My lesson had not been engaging.
I’d done most of the talking…a sign I should have noticed immediately when they weren’t involved in the learning process.
I believe that this was the reason why they were exceptionally unruly.
The rest of the week went much more smoothly because I kept the lessons short, and they engaged more with one another. Then, we moved into stations, during which they were incredibly well-behaved and productive.
One of the basketball players saw me walking from my car this morning, arms laden with school papers and the goodie bag for the player I’d adopted for the season.
“Mrs. AuburnChick, I wish you were my basketball mom,” he said.
“I’m sure your basketball mom takes very good care of you,” I responded.
“Naw,” he said. “She only gives me pretzels, trail mix, and water.”
Oy. No wonder the kids start asking me, the first week of school, if I’ll adopt them.
I fill up the bags, let me tell you, more so after seeing the way my friend, Barbara, fills her guys’ bags to the top.
One of the moments that I was most proud of was during a discussion I was having with my students about gun control.
I know that this might sound like a strange thing to be talking about with teenagers, but the issue came up after watching Flocabulary’s Week in Rap video.
After explaining the different sides of the issue, I asked students if any of them believed in laws that would make it harder to get a gun.
As the discussion progressed, one of my students shocked me by saying, “Mrs. AuburnChick, I think they need to take the violence out of movies and video games.”
After I picked my jaw off the floor, I asked him why he felt that way.
He told me that a lot of the horrible crimes committed were done to copy scenes from movies.
I was amazed, and I told the class that many people who do not work with young people assume that kids are not deep thinkers and only care about violent movies and video games.
I went on to say that my student’s comments showed great maturity…a maturity that allowed him to view both sides of the issue and then voice his own opinion…one that went completely against what the majority of people would think they’d be hearing coming from a young person’s mouth.
My student beamed with pride.
Were there down moments this week.
I lost a favorite student because she moved suddenly.
I gained a student who I feel inadequate to teach.
I lost my cool and did not follow Fred Jones’s mandate not to argue back.
Despite a few dips, I can honestly say that I felt joy this week.
I know that this was a blessing from the Lord.