So far we have had two days of school in the Early K and I feel like I have learned and been reminded of so many things, so many treasures. Reminders like how quickly we make assumptions about people – students in our class – and what we expect they will do or like AND how we can push back at those assumptions by watching closely and listening.
I found myself constantly in these first two days being surprised by what children said or did, children that were more shy or nervous than I thought they would be and children who I thought might struggle who completely jumped into the fray with two feet. These children are complete individuals, and though I already knew that and trusted its importance, it is always good to be reminded that we are each ourselves – so special and unique with our own feelings and responses and likes and dislikes, thoughts and expectations.
Two girls, head to the collage table. They create vastly different pieces, one about Harry Potter in jail, the other organized, systematic, mathematical. It makes me wonder…what is at work for each of them, who are they and what gifts does each one bring to their relationship and to the classroom.
Two groups work in the block area two different days, one wild and crazy with a chocolate factory spewing chocolate out everywhere, the other active, but calm and detailed – a penguin city with a house and a road that led to the hot coffee for the penguins. These two groups will come together in the classroom for the first time tomorrow, how will the energies blend, what will they hold on to and share with one another?
As a teacher, it is my job to be open, to get to know each person and to support connections, relationships, communication and understanding.
The other piece I want to hold on to from these first days is that smiles and laughter are universal and they feel GOOD. I hear Caroline and Kimie talk about starting the year with funny books and I watch Caroline out on the playground playing with her students, pretending, including and laughing with them. Nicole, my teaching partner is silly with our students, she forgets her name and the kids remind her and laugh. My own daughter comes home from her first day gushing about her wonderful new teacher and how she read the funniest book and used great voices to make it even funnier. Students look at books and I hear them… is that one funny? Is it funnier than this one? They want to laugh together because it feels so good. And, laughter usually happens between – between people or a person and a book or an idea. Laughter and smiles do not live in isolation – they are meant to be shared. I know everything cannot be funny all day long, but laughter is great medicine – it helps us relax and breaks down our fears, it gets us giggling together and sharing moments of JOY. I have my moments, when I share something funny with the students, but now I am looking for more – for songs and books, for their humor and for my own silliness. Classroom communities are created in so many different ways. I want ours to be created with joy, togetherness and laughter.