Another Day In The Classroom
As the school year begins to draw to a close, most teachers breathe a sigh of relief and take a moment to reflect on the little darlings who were in her care that year. This year I had 26 classrooms of kindergärtners through fifth graders in my music classes—about 450 children in all when you count the ones who moved away and those who arrived midyear.
Some time during 2010-2011, I began writing down a mixture of the memorable gems my students presented and I’d like to share a few of them with you.
A kindergarten male looked up at me on picture day and announced in all sincerity, “I look handsome!” Cheerfully, I had to agree.
Picture day presents kids who usually are graced with dirty hands, skinned knees, and snaggle teeth suddenly transformed into small men in suits, ties and combed hair. Young ladies may wear full-length dresses, beautiful bows in their hair, and even jewelry not usually seen in school. On the other hand, some parents wisely send their children to picture day looking exactly the way they usually do so that the memories are accurate.
One of my favorite school pictures of my husband is one in about the first or second grade. He had obviously been playing outdoors and looked as if he had brought a considerable amount of the playground in on his face.
One of my infamous school pictures shows me in second grade with beautiful curls on one side of my hair and the other side straight as a board. When my mother asked what happened to my hair, I innocently replied, “I don’t know. I just combed and combed.”
Some days at school are those you’d rather forget. A second grader announced as he entered my classroom, “I just puked and puked all weekend and I don’t feel too well today.”
On Fridays, we have Enrichment classes so one of my tasks was to work with handwriting. Second graders were copying the alphabet and then writing some copies of a sheet of words. Next they were to copy a poem from the board. One little boy looked at me through his wire-framed glasses after he had completed the first two tasks and then collapsed into a heap on his folded arms, “This is the hardest work I have ever done in my whole life!” I assured him that worse was yet to come.
Around Christmas time, the children have a day to draw some pictures of seasonal scenes. One first grader drew Santa, his sleigh and all eight reindeer with a cartoon speech bubble announcing, “Getty up!”
Another first grader had acquired the dreaded head lice, thanks to having a friend at school. He consequently had to have his head shaved. He looked up from his class work and sadly reported, “Life ain’t fair.”
One day I was reading an excerpt from Michael Freeland’s TIME AND THE RIVER to my fifth grade writing class. They were puzzled by the meaning of a “box supper” that was common in earlier times in the South. I explained that this was a method of dating used by our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. With light dawning in her eyes, one of the girls sputtered, “I see. It’s a cross between speed dating and Chinese take-out!”
One afternoon in Literary Magazine, one of the students said she needed a good name for a cleaning service she was using in her story. A bright-eyed fourth grader immediately came up with “Ninja Maids—Look out, dust bunnies! We’re coming for you!”