Sunday, May 29, 2011

Year Eight, In the Books....

While the end of the school year is still a week away, you will be glad to know this will most likely be my last post of the 2010-2011 school year. I hadn't planned on doing a recap post but thanks to Completion Ceremonies on Friday, why not.....

This week I spent a lot of time getting ready for the ceremony. Thinking of awards for everyone took some time and then there was the end of year movie. It was fun but it drove my inner perfectionist nuts! After more hours than I would like to admit, it let it go. There was also room decoration which meant the obligatory talk about how to act during the ceremony. We also had to have a talk about how Ms. LaMore was going to be wearing a dress for the first time this school year and it wasn't going to be a reason to freak out. This discussion was based on the glasses incident in January when I lost a whole day of teaching to kids staring at me instead of doing any work at all. So after a week of prep, we were ready to celebrate!

Friday morning came and I was ready. We got in and settled. We reviewed how things were going to go, what good behavior looked like, and how to show appreciation for each other appropriately. That was the last thing that went as planned.

First, I opened the classroom door and let the parents in. Apparently I should have sent a note to the parents that I would be wearing a dress because they freaked out more than the kids did. One dad went so far as to look me up and down, repeatedly smile and wink, and to tell me in a low voice (and much too close to me) that I should wear dresses more often - with his wife right beside him. A.W.K.W.A.R.D. It also confirmed why I don't wear dresses to work.

We finally get everyone inside and seated. The kids were super excited about seeing their folks. Seriously, they reacted like they hadn't seen them in a week. Once they settled back down, I started to do the welcome. About half way through, one of my girls gets up, collects her three best friends, and goes to the back of the room to get a picture from her mother who whips out the camera and starts shooting away. Seriously!?

We get them seated and start the awards. Just as I was about to start the second award, a huge cockroach decides to join us in the middle of the floor. Oh the joys of working in an old school. All of the kids start yelling and crawling over each other to get away or get a better look. I'll let you decide which were the girls and which were the boys. Overly Attentive Dad steps in to be heroic and take care of the bug.

Once we get them settled down, we got going again. We got to one of my students who has a disablilty. I was talking about what a joy he is to our class and how he makes us all laugh. At this point, one of his peers in the back decided to give an example of something funny that he does and starts to imitate one of his stems - right in front of the child's parents. I wanted to melt into the floor.

Once I got him to stop, we were able to go through the rest of the ceremony relatively easily. We all cried during the video (even though I knew what was coming) and had snacks. While the kids ate cookies and juice, there was lots of picture taking and visiting.

At one point, I noticed a couple of girls crying. I went over to check on them and my heart broke. They were sobbing because they don't want to go to second grade. Why? Because they don't want to leave me. In my eight years of teaching, this has never happened to me. What made it so hard was that I love these girls - L.O.V.E. them! I usually don't do this but I pulled them on my lap and we just sat together. I let the parents entertain their kids but we just sat and cried together. I reassured them I would still see them next year and that we still have all of next week together. One went to her mom and was OK. The other was inconsolable. I finally was able to distract her but as the day went on, I would catch her crying over and over again. Lots of hugs and comforting words were shared.

As bad as this is going to sound, I kinda needed that. To say that this year was not an easy one would be an understatement. I loved the kids but the politics of teaching really got to me. And thanks to the great state of Texas, next year isn't looking any better. I needed a reminder of why I do this job. I needed a reminder of why I come back year after year. I got it - in two pair of tear filled eyes with arms that wrapped around my waist, not wanting to let go. I got in in a smile that snuck out when I told one how proud of her I am for her reading and speaking up. I got it in a hand that held on like I was her last bit of hope. It wasn't what I expected when I started the day but it is what I got.

And I'm thankful.....

Friday, May 06, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, First Grade Style

Today in my classroom, we spent a large amount of time working on cards for our mothers. Honestly, we are in the middle of an insanely two weeks so it snuck up on yours truly. So today, we focused and made cards telling the top ten things we love about our moms. As I was directing the seven year old love, I gave examples about my mom and decided that this adult heart wanted to love on her mama in the way only a child can. So without further ado...

The Top Ten Reasons I Love You, Mom:

10. I know my mom loves me because she reads me.... - everything! I remember growing up that you loved to read to us. No matter what, if we put it in your hands, the story was read. You made reading fun and important. I not only loved that you read to us but you enjoyed being a reader yourself. This has been something that has impacted me more than just about anything as an adult. You not only loved to read but you made me love it too. You made me realize that by giving someone a love for reading, you can change the entire course of a person's life. For that, I love you!

9. I know my mom loves me because she helps me .... - keep overanalyzing things to a minimum. In my nature, you know that I look at everything from mulitple points of view. You know how to ask the right questions to bring me back into focus. You know how to lovingly tell me to let it go, I'm reading too much into it - in good and bad ways. For that, I love you!

8. I love when my mom sings.... - songs to my niece and nephew. Growing up, you would sing us songs that no one else knew - A: Your Adorable; I Love You, A Bushel and a Peck; The San Antonio Song (that hasn't been sung yet but it's just a matter of time). You have this love of singing and you share it with us. I love these songs because they feel intimate. No one knows those songs but us - like a secret love note from you to us. For that, I love you!

7. I know my mom loves me because she takes the time to... - share the gift of touch. Your touch is unlike so many others: rubbing our eyebrows, playing with our hair, rubbing our feet, or just the amazing hugs you give. Each one would be weird from anyone else but from you, its soothing and special. For that, I love you!

6. I know my mom loves me because she makes me laugh by.... - your insane love of the Spurs. Growing up, you didn't care two flips about this basketball team and now you L.O.V.E. them. I roll my eyes when Manu "sends you a message on facebook" but the truth is, its just down right funny. I laugh when I call you during basketball season - especially during the play offs - and one of the first things I get is a run down of the game the night before. I laugh that you are so excited about a Manu t-shirt. If you would have asked me to believe this even ten years ago, I would not. But for that, I love you!

5. I know my mom loves me because she... - saves things for me between visits. Whether you keep Jeopardy games and concerts saved on your DVR or just see an article in the paper you think I will like, it tells me that you think about me even when I'm not there. You not only think about me but know what will catch my attention. That's because you pay attention. For that, I love you!

4. My mom takes care of me by.... - taking care of herself. The way that you desire a good life for yourself sets such an example for me. Whether it is a physical, emotional, or relational need, you make sure you are well. Sharing in your successes with you is an indescribable feeling. Knowing that you are making yourself and your life a priority so you can enjoy life with us takes care of me too. For that, I love you!

3. I know my mom cares because she.... - takes the time to talk multiple times a week. Even if it is just listening to a crazy student story from the day, you are always willing to stop and visit. Not only do you listen but you pay attention and remember what I say. You know my weekly schedule and ask how things are going. I know that I am your priority because you take the time to know about me and about my life. For that, I love you!

2. I know my mom loves me because she works hard to.... - make sure we know we are loved. I know I am loved in the simple things like making sure you have treats we like when we come visit. I know I am loved when you worry about me coming home alone at night even though at my age, you had a six year old and a three year old. I know I am loved because I know you pray over so many areas of my life. I know you always have and you always will. For that, I love you!

1. I know my mom loves me because she is the best mom in the world!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you!