September 30, 2010

THIS is why I teach

This afternoon I my 5th grade kiddos magically transformed into pre-school kiddos.  I'm not sure why, but suddenly I was staring at a group of little babies and had to put on my mean Viola Swamp teacher voice.  Yikes!!  Here it is:

I have about 18 pillows in the classroom, ranging in size from huge to tiny.  I bought them when I started doing Daily 5 last year because part of the idea is to spread the kids out and help them find comfy seats all around the room in their own space.  The pillows help a little with that.  Last year I had them very well trained about sharing the pillows, and I have been working very hard to train this group too.  The thing is, I have a very immature group of boys this year, and they honestly are pitiful when it comes to sharing.  This afternoon, I banned pillows (possibly permanently, possibly temporarily).  I had some VERY grumpy 5th graders, including 2 having temper tantrums.  I'm serious, we're talking laying on the floor making, "Hmph!  Hmph!" pouting noises and covering faces with their books.  Umm, what the hell grade do I teach???

ANYWAYS, last year this would have made me SO ANGRY.  But this year, I'm over it.  We're working on it.  And it's kind of comical, in retrospect...
You're probably wondering about the title of this post by now--no that's not the reason I teach.  I definitely DON'T teach to get to yell at kids and witness temper tantrums.

This is why I do teach:
Last year I blogged constantly about a certain tough child who made my life hell and literally almost made me quit.  We worked SO HARD to make growth last year and he made such amazing progress.  By the end of the year, I would look at him sometimes with tears in my eyes, amazed at how far he had come.  While CERTAINLY not perfect, what a difference.  I am a better teacher because of him and what we went through together last year.  Over the summer, his family moved to another school in the district.  I couldn't believe it--I had "wished" for him to move HUNDREDS of times last year, but then by this point, when I found out he actually was moving, I was heartbroken that I wouldn't be able to see him in the hallway and share what we'd worked on with his new teacher.

Anyways, yesterday his mom emailed me!  She told me how well her son is doing and how she is so proud of how far he's come.  She thanked me for all of my hard work and support last year, and said how she missed me.

It brought tears to my eyes.  I teach for moments like this.

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