“Mrs. Rackley, why do you have that T around your neck?” asks an inquisitive, sparkling child.
“It’s a cross,” I answer as my ‘whoa, be careful, not supposed to talk about religion in school’ meter goes off.
“What for? Did somebody die?”
“No…it’s just my cross. My son gave it to me,” I have to say and then no more.
These conversations pop up out of the blue and always stop me in my tracks. We’re going, going, going, filling every minute of the day with stations and RTI and reading, and then boom, a little child pulls me back into the real world. I’m usually in deep teacher mode when these moments happen, and it’s almost like a little smack when they ask me real-life questions. Makes me wonder what would happen if I had more time to listen to their thoughts and stories and musings.
The playground is usually a good place to hear the unusual, the off-topic and sometimes, trivial. I actually enjoy going out for recess, unless we’re having a rash of tattling that day. Only outside can you hear the following (which are actual quotes I put into my phone as soon as I heard them):
“I ain’t scared of a ladybug. They’re nice. They might poop on your finger but they’re nice.”
“This rain’s got good flavor!”
So school is rocking on. We’re 18 days into the year, and in the last few days I’ve felt us slowly round the curve. The children are learning routines, finding their way into first grade slowly and steadily (well, I may have pushed them a bit…). We’re trying to find our footing, and I do believe we will. I got my first two ‘I love you’s’ this week…a few kisses on the arm from one loving fellow…and hugs from a few girls I worried might not open up to me at all. All these things are glimpses of bonding…me bonding with them, the children bonding with me. But bonding is more than skills and numbers on a page…these children remind me of that often. I have to listen to their inquiries and tales, and I have to let them hug and love. That’s how they become mine and I try to become theirs.