Monday, January 5, 2009

recovering from vacation-brain

i've never been good at forgetting about school over a break. usually i think about it every other waking moment, hypothesis what i can do better, mentally plan lessons, write social stories in the shower, unit plan when i'm stuck in traffic. this break, for some reason, was different. i couldn't think about school if i tried. i'd sit down to blog and become stuck. even now, after being back a day, i still have vacation-mush for a brain. i poured my coffee through bleary eyes this morning still trying to decipher what i'd be doing with the kids today. this is a new phenomena for me, one i'm not sure i actually like.

today was our first day of intersession so we weren't with our normal kiddos. i am teaching a scrapbooking class to first and second graders, which is fairly low key. i introduce a concept, let them get artsy, stop them, teach them something new, let them go be artsy again until it is time to clean up. today was a nice, slow way to ease back into the life of teaching.

a few things struck me about today:

*i was reminded how much i miss having my own classroom, setting my own tone, leading discussions, and creating a class environment.

*there is something incredible about having a perfectly organized classroom. i've never been able to do it, no matter how hard i try, but i'm teaching in one of my coworkers rooms while she enjoys her extra week off. the feeling of order was so freeing. *sigh* i'm not sure if i go back to the classroom that i'll ever be able to re-create that, but i can enjoy it for now.

*today we sent home the letter telling the families about how we might be losing our modified calendar. i went ahead and read it to the children so they could tell their parents what it said. even if their parents can read in english, which most can't, the wording is too academic for many of our families. i tried to explain it to the children the best i could (without sounding biased).

the most touching part of this discussion was when i finished explaining the first paragraph that only stated the school system is in financial trouble. the children asked if they could bring in their pennies. they asked how much money the school needed, that santa claus brought them $30 they could bring in. they wanted to know if they should bring in their own glue. without even asking why the school system was in trouble, or asking how it would impact their lives they wanted to help. it says something about the community we've created at our school, but also that our children really do appreciate what our school does for them. when they are in trouble, we help them. when we're in trouble, they'll help us.

when i got to the paragraph about our calendar they were heartbroken (although a few were excited to not go to school in august- in some ways i can't blame them- they are missing prime swimming pool hours community building in school). one raised his hand and asked if he could have intersession at his house so it wouldn't cost the school any money. "my mom could teach a class!" he said, "she babysits. she'd love to have kids over during intersession."

i love these kids. i didn't love getting up this morning, or the fact that every copier in the building was broken (!!!) but i love these kids.

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