Tag Archives: first grade

Rocking On

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“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!”

ladybug

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.

 

Back to School

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Back to school, back to school, oh how I adore you!

Not really – it’s just too stinking hard to adore, but still there’s nothing, not anything in the world like it.  It’s exciting, hard, terrifying, exhausting, fulfilling, energetic and fresh.  Unique to this time of year, it can only be explained and comprehended by people who have lived through the experience.  And somehow, not sure how, I’ve made it through the first week of another back to school.

You parents know, other kids may remember, but the little ones are t-e-r-r-i-f-i-e-d on the first day.  For example…my sister was in the car line on the first day readying to drop her daughter off.  As they pulled to a stop in front of the school, she noticed that a teacher had to pry a child out of his mom’s car as he screamed and cried.  My sis could hear him yelling, “I don’t want to go to school.  I don’t want to go in that Mrs. Rackley’s room!”  (And yes, that’s me and I’m not mean, I promise.)

Bless him – whomever he may be.  Luckily, no one was wailing in fear by the time they made it down the hall to the dreaded Mrs. Rackley.

It’s a little early to tell the personality of my class.  Will they be spunky or inquisitive?  Bright or sweet?  So far, all I’ve gathered is that we have promise.  Lots of it.  This group of children came in my door reading…like really reading.  They can track print, know gobs of sight words and can keep up when others are reading like nobody’s business.  I listened to them read this past week and all I could do was grin and do double high-fives.  Yes!  Oh the places we’ll go!  And you Kindergarten teachers, let me just tell you…you rock!!  Every day I’m thankful for all the hard work you put into your job.

I’m thankful to work in a building with teachers who aren’t afraid to work their tails off.  We push and love and never give up.  The older I get, the more I realize it’s a true gift to be surrounded by dedicated people.  So here’s to another back to school, another school year.  God…grant us peace of mind, a whopping dose of patience and more than anything, an abundance of love.

teacherpoem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartbreak

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I teach first grade.  Never before have those words held quite as much meaning as they do right now.  After the utter heartbreak of last Friday, I went back to work on Monday and found it so very hard to concentrate and simply do my job.  We were told to greet our students in the hall, to put on a happy face and welcome them all to school.  Of course we did – we would have whether we had been asked to or not.  We greet them every day, that’s what teachers do.  I smiled at each one, said good morning, but I was so very distracted.  I kept watching their faces, thinking of what I would do if someone tried to harm them.  I kept thinking of how I could protect them if a mad-man was in our building.  Those children are my kids, my students.  It almost made me sick to think of them being harmed in any way whatsoever.

Monday was a long, hard day.

Oddly, there were no questions.  Not one asked me about it or had a story to tell.  I praise their parents for keeping them shielded from the horror of it as much as possible.  The only words I got were at the end of the day.  One of my little fellows saw a parent in the building, one who had on the proper identification by the way, and he simply asked, “What is that stranger doing in our building?”  I knew where the question stemmed from but there were no direct statements about the horror of Friday.

My heart aches for the babies in Connecticut, for their parents, for the other students and teachers who survived.  I pray they can find peace again, that one day going to school will hold excitement instead of fear.  Dear Lord, please ease their painful memories.