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.
I love being a teacher. It’s what I was created to do… but… it’s not an easy job. I’ve often described my emotions like this:
Teaching is hard. It’s difficult. A kid spends the morning crawling on the floor and another sneezes on me.
BUT then a child brings me a “flower” at recess and compliments my hair and makes it all worthwhile.
Then it’s hard. It’s difficult. I question what I’m doing. Meetings go long, kids talk during my lesson and cut up tiny pieces of paper all over the floor.
BUT then I receive a note that says “You r da best teacr,” and it makes it all worthwhile.
Then it’s hard. It’s difficult. Students tattle all day, the SMARTboard stops working, and then 12 kids step on my toe.
BUT a student surprises me with a hug and accidentally calls me “Mommy.” It makes it all worthwhile.
Having a calling doesn’t make your job easy, but it gives your job purpose. This calling, one to be a bright spot in a classroom of children’s lives every single day, is not an easy one, but it’s the one for me. ❤
Whack-a-Word is my student’s new favorite game! Each Wednesday we practice spelling and sight words using our boards and pool noodle mallets.
-game board (I made this easily in Word)
-glue or tape
-2 pool noodles
Print an alphabet board and glue or tape it to a file folder. Once it’s laminated, it will last for years!
Cut a pool noodle with a bread knife- I made 16 “mallets” from one noodle. Stick a sharpened pencil into the side, and you’re all set!
I create a PowerPoint each week with words we’re going to practice. The kids look forward to Whack-a-Word Wednesdays!
This has been such a fun weekly routine. What do you use to practice spelling?
For me, being a teacher means being intentional outside of school as well as in the four walls of my classroom. I always tell students and families that if you invite me to a game, recital, or birthday party, that Mr. Donnahoo and I will make it a priority to attend.
Going to multiple parties can add up, so I like to be thoughtful, yet thrifty. We always stop by Dollar Tree and buy about five items that remind me of that child. It’s not as much about the present that you bring as it is about setting aside time to make your students feel special.
1. Baskets: Dollar Tree has various sizes and colors of plastic baskets. I have had some for a few years and many are still in excellent condition! They are great for holding manipulatives and center supplies.
2. Zip Ties: Join two Zip Ties together to secure desks in groups. I have saved a lot of time now that I don’t have to shift desks every hour! I also use them for basket labels like 1-9 like in the picture above for tidy and speedy clean-up.
3. Party Cups: If you need more compartments of a supplies caddy, party cups are an easy solution!
Happy Dollar Tree shopping!
I’ve only had five days with my littles, but they’ve already captured my heart! This weekend, we had a birthday party to attend of one of my students. With only knowing students a week, I wasn’t sure if any of the kids would be that excited to see Mr. and Mrs. Donnahoo. Yet when we entered Chuck Cheese, I heard a few kiddos shout, “It’s my teacher!” We’ve talked a lot at school about how relationships are everything, and in my experience, relationships outside of school are key. Sometimes it takes a couple hours of watching kids spend tokens and eat pizza to build lasting friendships with our students and their families.
As a teacher, I have been given a perfect opportunity to not just teach, but reach students and their families. I have 17 kids in my class, and with siblings, parents, grandparents… this means I have been intrusted with about 100 people this school year. 100!!!! My room needs to be covered in prayer so that God can use teaching for His kingdom and for me to be a tool in seeing children and their families come to know the Lord.
I pray for each student by name and over their desks. I ask others to do the same! The Holy Spirit has been invited to every corner, nook, and cranny of B19, and I specifically pray over the threshold of my room. As a child, family member, or even other teachers step foot in my class, it should feel different. A mom that we spoke to this weekend during home visits said, “Your room felt so inviting and you have a warmth about you.” That’s Jesus! I can’t wait to see what God does this school year and how He continues to bring a “warmth” to my firsties and their families.