Every Friday morning I have "book club" for my former students before the school day starts. They come to my room whenever they arrive at school and get to walk past the patrols (which makes them the coolest kids ever). We chat about what they are learning in their classes, look at old photos, and read books. It's fairly unstructured, which means no extra planning for me. There is usually a core group of fourth through second graders who come weekly. They are usually joined by a few kids who decide that just for one morning they really need to hang out with their first grade teacher. I think we all have mornings like that.
I love these mornings. I get to catch up with my kids and hear about what they are learning. They show me their books for guided reading and I get teary eyed with amazement that they've come so far since first grade. It's a great reminder to me that I don't have to solve every kid's problems within the year. Sometimes kids learn at their own pace and it's the woven mixture of teachers that produce the final product, not one amazing year.
This year one of my visitors looked at me and said,
"In third grade my hopes and dreams are to listen to the teacher, because I don't think I've done that yet in school. Not for you, not for second grade, not ever."
It certainly was something we (as the teachers) worked on with her in first grade and something I heard they worked on in second grade. Now, in her 4th year of school, it's suddenly occurred to her to take ownership and put this as her working goal for the year. How grown-up she sounded telling me her plan to pay attention. "If someone is talking to me I'm going to say, 'please stop, I'm trying to listen' and then I'll move away from them"
I loved the realization that all those days filled with patience in first grade finally paid off, two years later.
My hopes and dreams do not need to be for success by the end of the year, but to be a step in the ladder of a child's whole learning career.