Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Important Things

Things are still quite hectic around here, but I suppose the dust is starting to settle.  Or else we've just learned to live in a dust storm and carry on.  Anyhow, I've realized that all I can do is be as organized as possible (Ha!  Hilarious!) and let God worry about the chaos.  He seems to be pretty good at dealing with chaos.  I, on the other hand - not so good.  He can have it.  I'll just sit over here and rock back and forth in the corner until Sylvia is 18. 

Speaking of God, you'll never guess what he sent me this school year!  A handful of a child, that's what.  Some might say I have a few handfuls, but I say that most of them are nothing more than your average, squirmy, nine-year-old boys who struggle with reading and writing and therefore hate school.  Psh.  I've seen them before, nothing new.  They'll end up loving fourth grade, if for nothing else than for the fact that this year they get to do cool stuff by themselves, like build a car and throw paper airplanes.  Hellloooo, science!  Thank you for showing up in the nick of time.  These boys need you.

No, this new handful of mine happens to be a girl, which is a refreshing change of pace.  Without getting too detailed, let me just say that for the first few days I thought I might be able to simply ignore any problems and confrontations, but after this week, she has made it very clear that she is not to be ignored...and I'm so glad.  Sylvain reminded me that I have yet to pick my "pet project" this year, meaning that I usually pick the most challenging kid in my class and bust my butt to help them as much as I possibly can.  As I was putting Sylvia to bed, I realized that this little girl will be it.  And that God has a wonderful sense of humor.

Today, when this little girl was on the verge of a meltdown, I looked at her and struggled with what to say.  Part of me wanted to throw my hands up and scream, "You are being totally ridiculous!" But another, bigger part of me stopped and thought, "This could be Sylvia.  This could be my daughter in about nine years.  What would you want her teacher to do?  What would you say to her?"  I continued to handle the situation delicately and we carried on with the rest of our day.  I've been waiting for the moment that my mom side seeped into my teacher side.

After school I spent a long, long time thinking about this little girl.  I've brainstormed activities that would help her, strategies I could use with her, and phrases I could say that would make her calm down.  I emptied my mental arsenal on my new pet project.  I got very excited about the prospect of teaching her all year, and starting on some real work with her this early.  Then, I switched gears into mother-mode and started putting Sylvia to bed, but I couldn't get this other little girl out of my head.  As I was rocking Sylvia to sleep, I looked at her sweet face and thought, "Oh my gosh.  Nine years ago, someone else was rocking that little girl.  Nine years ago, a parent was putting a baby girl to bed with no clue what would happen in fourth grade, or any other grade for that matter.  Nine years ago, that little girl's future was full of promise and hope, and now it's my job to make sure she gets it."  Then I got choked up and thought, "Oh, thank you, Lord.  Thank you for my own little nugget and that sweet little girl in my class.  I see what you're trying to do.  I get it.  I'm on board.  Let's rock."

If I had met this little girl in the past; if I had been her third or second grade teacher; if she was in fourth grade a year or two ago; our relationship would have been different.  But now I get to look at her like a mother and it changes everything.  I can see her as a mother's sweetest nugget.  And I'll treat her like my own sweetest nugget no matter what.  I hope it's a good year for her.  I hope it's her best year yet.  But I know it's going to be a good year for me.      

1 comment:

Meredith said...

I think parts of my teaching really suffered after I had a baby (I was always dying to GO HOME), but overall, I think I became a better teacher when I realized that all those crazy kids were someone else's baby. That first parent night after I became a mom was really emotional for me. I gushed to the parents about how I would take care of their babies, blah, blah, blah..the parents were probably all thinking, "Whoa. Postpartum crazy lady!"