Today was the first day of the last half term of the school year for me. Seven more weeks of my class, my kids, who I have gotten to know so well over the last 10 months. Yes, there are times when they frustrate me, annoy me, and make me question my ability to be a sane and rational human, but they are amazing little people growing up and maturing in ways that make me so proud of them. They don’t always get it right, how could they, they are only 10! However, I am so privileged to see the little moments where they shine each day, where I see their personalities develop, where I get a glimpse of the person they are becoming.
A few weeks ago, when it felt like I had been saying a lot of negative things for days on end, I sat them all down on the floor and shared this list with them, giving a lot of examples of the points. I have slightly amended it for here.
- You are developing into 30 very different individuals.
- You don’t just accept things, you question things that don’t seem right or that you don’t understand.
- You care about each other, you show concern when a classmate seems upset, or cross, or confused.
- You want to know about the world around you. You ask about what you hear in the news or observe when you are out, you want to make sense of the world you live in. I know some adults who are happy to just carry on.
- You remember the little things, and ask about them. You show that you care so often.
- When you produce work that you are proud of, I can tell by the way you share that with me. I think you deserve to have that feeling as often as possible.
- I feel that I have a good relationship with all of you, we can have fun, you tell me jokes and you try to play harmless tricks on me. (They pretend they didn’t win something or get a reward from another member of staff, then all laugh saying, just joking!)
- You are honest with me. You let me know when I have assumed the wrong thing when I am trying to sort out a conflict, even if it means I need to tell you off.
I told them that the reason I get frustrated sometimes is because I care about them and I care about the type of people they are becoming. I want them to succeed in whatever it is they want to do and I that I am trying to do everything I can to give them the tools to do that. It frustrates me when they don’t use the opportunities I am giving them.
After a moment of silence, one of my boys, one of the ones I have many conversations with, spoke up. He said (paraphrasing), “I don’t know about the others Miss, but I appreciate the time you have put into making this list, we know you care about us.” It was a truly heart warming moment.
I have been through so much with these kids, including some pretty big, scary events over the last couple of months. The way they look to me for support, encouragement, and comfort is so humbling sometimes. It’s crazy thinking that in seven short weeks I will be focused on my new class, preparing for a new school year.
I hope that after the next seven weeks they still are ‘my kids.’ The ones who hide and scare me, the ones who hang back at lunch or at the end of the day to tell me something they are excited about, or a new joke they learnt, the ones who will peel me a stick because I looked sad (I still have said stick on my desk, it is definitely the most unique gift I have received), who have taught me the correct way to dab, the ones who now request classical music when they work. Standing at the front of my classroom today looking at all their eager, happy faces reminded me again that despite all the challenges of being a teacher in the current climate, it is still the most rewarding professions I can imagine being in.