Monday, May 23, 2011

Last Day of 1st Grade

Emma had so much fun & learned so much in 1st grade.  A grade level near & dear to my teaching heart.  Having been a teacher I began this year with the notion that I knew what her 1st grade teacher should be like. Boy did this mama learn a valuable lesson!!

When preparing to move here I prayed that she would get a teacher that was extra special to her & thus assist her with the huge transition of moving away from all things familiar. When we arrived & met Mrs.. “B” I was so relieved.  She was that oh so typical early elementary teacher.  Grandma like, cAute classroom, folders of information for parents, schedules & lists of rules, curriculum, etc. She was SO speaking MY language!! Emma loved her too.  We did NOT however love the 42 kids in her class!!!  By the end of the first week it was announced that a teacher was being moved down from SIXTH…as in 6th…as in almost middle school….grade to split the 1st grade class.

To be brutally honest one look at Mr.. “D” & I was unsure.  He wasn’t the “vision” I had for her teacher.  His classroom was NOT the colorful, cutsie Carson Dellousa decor I love & am familiar with.  There was little to NO communication.  Vast differences in our teaching methods & the teaching method between he & Mrs.. “B”.  There was even body language in how the other teachers treated him that stood out to me.  I was uneasy.  An open house to meet him helped some.  First parent teacher conferences helped a bit more…when he referred to Emma as “precocious”.  The EXACT word her Gma uses to describe her…I walked away from that with my eyes more open & my “vision” began to change.

The truth was he loves kids.  He relates to each individual child & knows their learning styles & personality quarks.   He seemed to have a connection with each kid.  He brought humor & fun to the classroom in his own way.  Each child held a job in the classroom that was specific to the child’s “gift”.

So lesson learned in 1st grade…by Mommy. It’s not in the colorful decorations, seasonal bulletin boards & detailed communication. It might be those exact things we (teachers) busy ourselves with that actually take away from time that should be spent connecting with our students. As we build that connection with students so grows their desire to absorb & learn the lessons we teachers present.

Not once all year did Emma complain about going to school.  She left each day with a smile & jumped in the vehicle at the end of each day grinning ear to ear.  Matt & I did have our share of irritation when being told frequently “but Mr. D said ____”. :)  Even in Kindergarten when she knew her teacher from our church & had a very BFF in her class she whined about going to school each day. I even worried in late Oct. when our neighbor girl she quickly attached to moved back to TX that she would begin grumbling about school…but she didn’t.

She loved to tell about the stories he shared about his travels.  She got a kick out of all the things he taught them that even 6th graders didn’t know!! :)  She had a very tender & softened heart about him being a widow.  She on several occasions talked about how lonely he must be b/c his wife died “sick like when your hair falls out”.  Just hearing the way she said it made me want to tear up!

I have a feeling each teacher from here on will be compared to Mr. “D”.  He retired after this year.  He had reached the age  & said it was either time to draw retirement, SS & state pension or pay into it.  I pray he enjoys each day of his retirement with all the things he loves.

Our last day of school was spent playing at the park and having our traditional 1st/last day of school meal.  Like (here her first day of Kind. & I failed to document the homemade pizza the last day of Kind. & 1st day of 1st grade…crazy move got me distracted)

My Lil’ Chef Extraordinaires-


Isaac adding sauce.  Emma & Aidan eating spreading cheese.


Cheese & Pepperoni & BBQ Chicken. Ready to bake.


   Ready to eat!!!


Can’t wait to see what 2nd grade has in store for Emma & preschool for Aidan!!


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