I can't believe I'm saying this, but this year's back to school season has been I think the least stressful one yet. And trust me, that's not the way I thought it was going to be.
I spent the whole week before school started in my classroom getting set up. Or rather, going through all the mass quantities of stuff that the previous teacher had left for me to use. She left our school to take a non-enrolling job in another district (which means she doesn't have her own class) and since she wouldn't need it and knew I was new to teaching primary - and mostly cause she's a fantabulously terrifical person - she left me pretty much EVERYTHING she had to use. Posters on the walls. Resources in the teacher cabinet. Art supplies in the cupboards. Toys and mass quantities of manipulatives on the shelves. She even left me her personal collection of illustrated, laminated poems written out on chart paper in perfect primary printing. (Yes, Tammi, I'm taking good care of them!) My room is STOCKED. All I really had to do was go through everything so that I just knew what was there. I can not TELL you how grateful I am for that, and how much stress it has relieved.
And then there are my teaching partners, Vicky and Sharon. One teaches grade one, one teaches grade two, and they are both amazingly helpful. They always have time for me and my myriads of questions. They have given me copies of whatever they are doing and encourage me along SO much. They have helped shape my attitude towards my job this year for SURE. Sharon is constantly telling me, "You know, I think you're going to like this more than you think."
And she's right.
Shhh! Don't tell anybody, but I think I just might be a primary teacher at heart!
I can't get over how blessed I feel. I am SO grateful for the support and encouragement. (and I don't think these three teachers read my blog, so if they do, I'll be slightly embarrassed. But hello! And thank you!)
From a strict "job" perspective, yes, there's a lot of prep, but it's all fun and low-stress prep. I enjoy the crafty little projects and have fun with finding poems and writing cutsie little rhymes out on sentence strips. I mean come on, my last Friday night consisted of gluing paper pencil labels on writing books, cutting out brightly coloured cardstock stars, and writing out a few poems, all done in front of a movie with a friend and a margarita in hand.
What? School work... relaxing???
And of course, the marking is easy peasy lemon squeezy.
But what I really love are the kids! (as I should!) My class is SO cute! Yes, there are a few behaviour challenges (oy VEY) but still... they are CUTIES! For example...
- Lenny.* He's a very serious little fellow in grade two. He tries his best in his work, is neat and tidy, and is very prim and proper. And obsessed with germs. In PE the other day, another boy asked if Lenny would be his partner. Lenny gave him the cocked-head, one-squinty-eye look with his index finger pointed at the other boy and asked, "Do you wash your hands all the time?" Ha! The partners weren't even going to have to touch each other. And Kiddo, that ball you're holding? WAAAY more germs on that sucker than on your partner, I guaranTEE it.
- Krissie. She's in grade one, and smart as a whip. She usually wears her hair in pigtails, which adds to the cuteness. Her birthday is on October third. I know this because ANY time we talk about birthdays, or October, or the number three (and the number three comes up a lot: One two three, look at me. Three chances. Three reading groups. And you know... counting!) she tells me in her little squeaky voice, "MY birthday is on October third! I'm gonna be SIX!" I tell her the same thing every time. "Wooow! It sounds like you're getting excited!!" I love it!
- Dylan. He's in grade one and has next to no impulse control, but is super SUPER cute. For example, that kid cannot WALK anywhere. He runs. All the time. A little shuffling-foot flailing-arm run. The other day when he was picked up for LAC, he and his thundering feet TORE across the classroom to the door, then realized something. Putting his finger to his pursed lips, he said (or rather yelled, cause just like this kid has one speed - full steam ahead - he has one volume: blaring), "OUP! Ah fuggot tah wuk!" (I forgot to walk.) Instead of the teacher saying, "Go back and walk, please," he promptly turned himSELF around, ran halfway back across the classroom, and then walked to the door for LAC. I just about peed myself laughing.
Dylan aslo has a rather heartwarming habit. Every time I read the class a story, he's sitting "criss-cross-applesauce" on the carpet, and he sits waaay up high, puffs his little chest out, purses his lips into a cutie kid smile, and applauds! Stiff and quick claps a-way up in front of his face. He's the only one, and he does it every. single. time. How can you not love that??? (I've tried bowing slightly and saying, "Oh, thaaank you!" and leaving a pause for the other kids to join in. Anyone? Anyone? Clearly we have some training to do! Teeheehee!)
- Raymond. On Thursday, I was in a rush leaving the house in the morning, and I didn't have time to blow dry my hair. I had to resort to the 'aim the heat vents at my face and comb my hair out with my fingers all the way to work' technique. More effective than you would think, actually. But what it does is leave my hair a little more poofy than I have it usually. Well, usually, it's pulled back. Now when the bell rings, the kids come in and put their stuff away then come to the carpet for reading time. I was talking to another student when little grade one Raymond came up to me while I was talking to another student. "Miss Hillary, Miss Hillary, Miss Hillary, Miss Hillary, Miss Hill - " "Just a minute please, Raymond, I'm talking to someone right now." (ah yes. I AM in primary now, aren't I?) So Raymond just stood there waiting quietly, his little hands clasped in front of him. When I was done, I turned to him with a smile. "Yes Raymond? Thank you for waiting."
Eyes big, he looked up at me. "Miss Hillary, you buuutiful."
AH hahaha! Melt. My. Heart.
"Oooh, thaank you, Raymond, What a kind thing to say!" At which point Dylan, hearing the praise Raymond was getting and not wanting to miss out, piped up. "Yeah! You bootiful!" Laughing, I thanked Dylan, too. And then, for the rest of Thursday and all of Friday, too, Dylan piped up with "You bootiful!" at random times throughout the day. Like just when I've finally gotten everyone quiet in the lineup, or listening at the carpet. I've had to stop saying thank you cause now it's just becoming a distraction. But seriously. I'll take that distraction any time! hehe! Raymond's initial one was the best, though. Adorable.
Oh there are so many more. These kids are awesome!
* All student's names changed