Just a Joy

I imagine these six days are close to the longest I’ve gone between writing here. Excepting, of course, the various weeks (or longer) that I’ve spent in other parts of the world, removed from my rather aged computer, the internet, and this white WordPress page.

I’ve actually had both the internet and my time-worn computer close by my side in the past week, but the times for writing are usually used creating lesson plans for the coming days and weeks, trying my best to punctuate curricula with engaging and meaningful activities, and sleeping off the weariness of one day, preparing for another.

I once thought, based, no doubt, on somewhat limited exposure to elementary school teachers, that teaching was rather a stationary task. Of course, there may be times in which it really is, but my experience in fourth grade over the past four weeks has kept me on my toes, quite literally. This is probably compounded by how much I truly enjoy being among the 18 desks in our cozy room. I love walking up and down the aisles; while teaching, while students bend, heads low, over a math sheet, an English paper, a new book. I like the freedom to move. I’m intrigued by the tangible difference in dynamic from one corner of the room to another. I enjoy pausing at the back, balancing on the stool at the side of the room, and yes, weaving my way towards the front once more.

This week, Week Four of my 15 week stint as a fourth grade teacher, marks a shift in the extent of my role in the classroom. Beginning Monday morning, I taught those 18 wonders all but two subjects. The sweet woman who is sharing her class- her precious students- with me, daily presents me with freedom, challenge, and responsibility. It still catches my heart, makes me nearly uneasy, when she smiles, sea-colored eyes twinkling, and tells me, “It’s more your class than mine now.” It’s then, as I stand amongst all those just-turned-10-year-olds, pondering a decision, wondering what might be best, that I’m most tempted to give her the class right back. Not because I’m scared (although I am, a little), not because I’m unprepared, or overwhelmed, or frustrated (although I’ve felt at least a touch of each of those in the past weeks), but simply because who am I, what status or merit do I possess, that I’ve been given the privilege of being with these sweet, complex, funny individuals for these months.

I just don’t deserve them.

But of course, the right response is thankfulness. And humility. And awe. And hard work. And I live in all of those. And joy, oh the joy. Joy when we work on a new math concept, slaving through frustration and confusion and repetition, and yet, when the worksheets are graded they are all correct. Joy when we practice English with Madlibs, and their random answers, their bated breath while I prepare to read the silly story, is so funny to me that I can barely read through my own giggles; and what I do read is drowned out by their uproarious laughter as I read every line.

Joy, joy, joy.

When I greet them at 8:10 in the morning, and when I wave goodbye in the pick-up line, seven hours later. It’s just a joy.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Grandma S.
    Jan 29, 2015 @ 08:27:45

    You’ll be one of the teachers the students remember fondly all their lives. They know you love them and they love you back. I admire your mentor-teacher for being so willing to turn her class over to you. She knows it’s in good hands.


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