Tintinnabulation

\tin-tih-nab-yuh-LAY-shuhn\, noun:
A tinkling sound, as of a bell or bells.

What a strange word.

What an emotional day.

This morning after teaching the 7th grade boys, I lost it. I saw my lead teacher in the hallway, explained some of the morning, and started crying. I had to go stand by the window in a third floor office and pull myself together before heading to the next grade. The 7th grade class wasn’t even that bad. They have calmed down a little since a veteran teacher came in and read them the riot act. One of the most problematic boys – the one who punched me in the face – did much better, since I have rearranged seating and have him right at the front next to me. But a lot of the class is still in revolt.The kids who are following directions and doing a good job are getting bored and restless, because I’m spending so much time doing crowd control.

I feel helpless. It was a very bad morning. I spent lunch break as a snotty mess. But in the afternoon I pulled myself together and had some very good moments.

We used our newfound vocabulary of animals and colors to talk about pets in one of the 5th grade classes yesterday, which opened an emotional can of worms. I had three kids in tears because their pets died or ran away. Note to self: start with the zoo next time? Something less emotionally charged? Today I veered away from tragedy and had them sorting out the color and animal words, to see if they could figure out a pattern. They figured out the noun-adjective agreement all by themselves. One girl who spent all of yesterday crying about her dog came up to me today to say thank you; she had a fun time and felt much better.

My last class of the day is the 2nd grade. It’s a crazy class. Bad time of day + tired, young kids + tired teacher + a few rowdy kids in particular = an entire rowdy class. Today they got to crawl around being “burros” while practicing Spanish vowel sounds. There was some chattiness, and they lost all their free time due to talking, and I had to call home for two students… but that was all, and in comparison, that is a good day for them.

I left a sweater in the 2nd grade room, and went back to get it after dismissal. I walked past all the kids lined up outside, and a few of my students came up and hugged me. One girl, one of three kindergartners who I made cry today, hugged my legs and said “I love you, Ms. K!” Another line of first graders was going by, and several of the kids waved at me and two of them ran up to hug me… except this was a class I haven’t had yet, and kids who don’t even know me.

Amused by this, I made my way back to the classroom, but was distracted out in the hallway by the 2nd graders’ “About Me” sheets that the teacher had posted on the wall. It was a list of sentences for each student to complete, with different answers from each:

I like… (cookies, chocolate, games)
I need… (family, food, mom)
I fear… (cats, dark, spiders, “zombaes”…!)

But next to “I give,” just about every kid had written “Love.”

It was a very significant reminder for me, of what it’s like to teach little kids. They’re very fragile and need and want and do a thousand different things, but they’re still so open at that age. They’re still ready to learn anything and love anyone.

As an aside, not one of the 7th grade boys came up and hugged me or told me they loved me… ha ha.

But it was a good end to a bad day. I need to keep my perspective intact, even more than my composure.

I need some food. I need some sleep. I need the weekend to get here.

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5 Responses to Tintinnabulation

  1. nkelber says:

    Lucky the little ones remind us what’s important.

  2. d.cous. says:

    Hi Sara! Thanks so much for keeping friends abreast of your situation with this blog, you have a gift for storytelling, in addition to your poetry. I need to come out and visit you and buy you a beer, it sounds like you’re having a rough time. Aside from writing lesson plans like crazy, how are your evenings? Any free time?

  3. saracita says:

    Well, this way you can teach vicariously. It’s less stressful.

    My evenings are pretty free; I usually spend them lesson planning/working and then go to bed. I would love to see you(s). I’m out in Ypsi-area on Sundays, also. How is married life going? How’s the apartment? More importantly, do you have an in-sink-erator?

  4. d.cous. says:

    Does that extend to Sunday evening? I think we’re free in the evening. Married life is really great, though I get asked that question often enough that I’m always tempted to just say “meh” and see how they react. The apartment is pretty nice (complete with in-sink-erator), a heck of a lot nicer than it was when I lived there on my own. We have furniture and everything ­čÖé

  5. saracita says:

    Sorry for asking a cliche question. Saying something indifferent or downright creepy might deter the question, indeed.

    As for Sunday nights, I am around for a 4pm bible study and after that am free… I just try not to drive back to Hazel Park too late.

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