Nearing any break as a teacher, patience is easy to wear thin and days and problems seem twice as long. About a week ago, my class got a new addition. In the midst of kiddos tiring of one another and talking nonstop, I was nervous to add another little into the mix. Our new friend doesn’t speak any English and is very new to our country, and I was concerned he would be too frightened in my room of rambunctious firsties. I was so wrong to worry!
Of my 18 students, 9 are from other countries and speak Spanish or Portuguese as their native language. Also of my 18, most are boys and like to play too rough outside, throw pencils across the room, and fight about Pokémon cards. Our new friend was scared his first day, and I was so surprised to see every one of my students welcome and comfort him! In the past week, no one has played too rough outside, no one has thrown a pencil, and there has only been one argument over a Pokémon card!
I have been so impressed with the empathy each of my students have shown. Students have begged for a chance to translate for our new friend, sit with our new friend, or write our new friend a note. Even my students who do not know Spanish have been learning phrases to say or write to him.
As an adult, it’s so easy to focus on the negative. We see current problems and are constantly looking for new problems. This past week, I have been reminded of the lens of a child. A child sees no problem, but opportunity. A child seizes opportunity to play, to love, and to create new friendships. As Spring Break approaches, my desire is to do the same. I will seize opportunities to play, to love, and to build relationships with my classroom of littles in these next few weeks.