Beauty in the day: so, our 5th graders are working to qualify for “Self Manager” status. Many already have, and I was working on special custom badges attached to lanyards for each of them.
One 5th grade boy was sent to the workroom by his teacher to sharpen a handful of pencils, which he did, quite handily. We chatted about the lanyards while he did his chore and I continued with mine as well. He was preparing to leave, and I suggested he wait, while I finished he last of the lanyards, so he could deliver them to his teacher.
I instantly saw that this presented him with a predicament. One the one hand, the beautiful lanyards (which included his OWN personalized edition, complete with picture) would surely please his teacher and fellow students, and would DEFINITELY please himself. On the other hand, he was sent on a pencil-sharpening mission, and his well-earned status of Self Manager was quite fresh, and he was loathe to taint it in any way.
He said nothing, but smiled nervously at me, and I saw that he was delicately walking a balance beam between respecting his teacher’s instruction, and respecting mine. He seemed to be swaying ever so slightly under the weight of this while he waited for me to finish. I thought I detected tiny beads of perspiration forming on his forehead, and he smiled at me with a pinched smile. His eyes darted back and forth, and then he would make eye contact with me and smile again, shyly.
After what surely seemed like an hour (but what was actually closer to 4 minutes), I was finished, and handed the lanyards to him, which he clutched like a trophy. As he left the workroom I called to remind him not to forget his pencils. I got an especially fun look from him for that.
His teacher reported that he came into the classroom and turned over the lanyards. Then he told her, “I have to be honest – I finished sharpening the pencils quite a bit earlier….”
Beauty in the day: you may possibly recall that last night I recounted a happy “Teacher PD” session on FB. A portion of that brilliance centered around teachers suggesting – nay, PROMISING to send students to me with chairs (it’s important to note, that I work with a group of people with a high level of integrity. A promise made, I discovered, WILL be kept).
Now, this week has been Spirit Week at Ardmore. For the “uneducated” on this point, let me explain that Spirit Week is a wonderful, fun, exciting sequence of events that will bring joy to your heart, and drain the energy from your body and mind. Today, Friday, was the proverbial “cherry on top” – you guessed it – Character Day. This is when you get to come in costume, depicting a favorite character. Think Halloween, only in February, and without all the candy (whew!). Suffice it to say, there were a great many distractions all week, and today was the pinnacle. I was working feverishly away – there was much to do on the Friday before Mid-Winter Break.
It was time for Kindergarten Music, and as the teacher (a promise-keeper) led her cuties to the Music Room (which is perpendicular to the office), she made a sudden detour, directing her learners to my desk, each of them carrying a picture of a chair, colored in and labeled with lovely messages. They were delightful, and a few could not contain themselves to follow the (assumed) direction of silence (based on much whispering), but instead burst out in salutations and “I loves you’s”. 🙂
Yet, the day was not over.
I think I have also mentioned before that I work in a “fishbowl” of an office, surrounded by windows. I looked up from an email to discover a small student in front of me, a student chair at her side. “My Teacher told me to bring you this chair,” she said soberly. I thanked her sincerely, and showed her where she should deposit it. Smiling to myself, I went back to my work. But Lo, approximately 6 minutes later, I viewed a little boy coming down the hallway, a chair in tow. Again came the sober pronouncement. This happened two more times, and I halted child number four to wait while I wrote a note to the teacher. “Dear Teacher, Thank you for sending down the chairs! It’s wonderful! Unfortunately, I don’t have a table to put them around.”
It may have only taken 2.5 minutes to look up and see two first-graders lugging a student desk to the Office.
Spirit Week isn’t only for kids.
Oh – and there was a giant Scaredy Squirrel.
Beauty in the day: his teacher brought him in to the office. He’d been there before, more than once (more than twice) under less-than-optimal circumstances.
“Ms. Nordstrom, if you have a minute, My Friend has something to show you.” I did have a minute, and I could see the news was good. I took a minute to tease him a bit, telling him not to smile while he told me his news. Naturally, this was a terribly difficult command, but he did try. He was unsuccessful, both at not smiling, and at getting the news out, since it’s hard not to smile when you feel very happy, and it’s hard to get the news out when your teacher is so proud she beats you to it. “My Friend has had a very good day!” She started to show me his chart, all filled up with goodness, and Her Friend was turning every shade of happiness, as his teacher used descriptions like, “he CRUSHED his math!” Letting inspiration take hold (and having whooped and hollered and high-fived, and used other exclamations like, “NO WAY!!!), I got out my phone to take pictures of his proofs to send to the principal, who was out of the office for the day. “OmiGOSH! I can’t wait for him to see this stuff, dude!” I told him. “I’m going to text it to him right away!”
They left the office then, and I sent the pictures. I know my principal, and tomorrow Her Friend is going to get another shower of glory.
THIS is school. And I can tell you’re all jealous.
Beauty in the day: he had so many curiosities and wonderings today. He was “very uncertain” about the Family Fun Nights that get switched out for things like Family Stem Design Night. Clearly there was an opportunity, at least in his mind, for a Night to end up as something less than Fun, even if your Family is there. He agreed that it COULD be fun, but since it isn’t CALLED Family FUN Night, then surely things could go awry. It would be nice, he mused if someone like me could give him some sort of reassurance on this. Naturally, I told him that I was reasonably certain that such odd-named nights such as Family Stem Design Night, and Multi-Cultural Night would be sure to be quite enjoyable evenings with lots of FUN. He left after the 4th inquiry of the day with a seeming grasp of the possibilities of pleasure that the upcoming mis-named nights would offer.
When he turned up for a 5th time, I steeled myself, partly because I wasn’t sure what else I could come up with to convince him, and partly because his approach to asking questions of me is to frame them in the manner of the DMV sloth in the upcoming Pixar film, Zootopia. I waited…… as…. he…….made his……..inquiry. “The thing I’m wondering……… is……. well……. I don’t quite know……… why is it…..actually…….that 1st graders haven’t yet gone…….on a field trip.” (It should also be noted that these questions are also often framed with the suggestion that the query is also coming from his mother).
Come on 1st grade teachers – get this kid on a field trip. Please.
Beauty in the day: first grade teacher came into the office with the express intent to give some help with challenges to the friend she had by the hand. She smiled and spoke to him in encouraging and uplifting tones. It made me smile too. I re-checked my morning email. Wait – there it was – she DID, in fact, send me an email this morning claiming to be in a very grouchy mood. I’m never believing her emails again.
Beauty in the day: want to find a great way to properly celebrate and honor our nation’s armed services veterans? Next year, find out when your local elementary school is planning their Veteran’s Day Assembly. Or better yet, ask me and come out to Ardmore. Those littles sang like they believed it! The Student Leadership kids gave speeches and delivered readings with such heart! 400 kiddos singing the Star-Spangled Banner is good enough, but that didn’t stop them from putting it over-the-top with some more selections, and they were DE-LIVERING!! Super proud and inspired by all our students, their Music Teacher, and our AP, who kept everyone on track. – – Oh, and also, I got the laminator reloaded without trauma.