Last night was the first night teaching my fifth grade class. Before we finished the year this past May, I made the decision to move up with my fourth graders, and I was really grateful that just about everyone signed up to have me be their teacher again.
Yesterday was like a family reunion, and we had so much fun, just talking and learning. We bonded very well last year, and I think that will only continue. I can't wait to see it happen.
For the last several years, I have gotten progressively deeper into my role as an administrator of a huge faith formation program with over 1,000 children. There is so much to do, and over time I found myself consumed by the day-to-day administration. It was exhausting.
So, on a lark, I mentioned my idea of teaching a class to my coworkers, and they loved it. It was just what I needed, and the time I spent with my little class of fourth graders was, hands down, the highlight of my week. It was great to see them ponder what I said and take it to heart. It didn't always translate well, but they tried their best :)
Now, a year older and a bit more wise, they were perfect last night. I can tell they feel very comfortable with each other, and I know it's going to be a great year. We have much to learn, me as much as them. In fact, there were some nights last year when I walked out of the class convinced that I learned more than the children I was supposed to be teaching. Kids have a way of doing that, don't they?
Stories of parents who lost their jobs, houses in foreclosure, fighting parents, sick relatives (and pets), bullying and neglect were shared all the time. So were stories of new baby brothers and sisters, touchdowns and tackles, winning science projects and choral concerts. It was and will continue to be a joy to share a bit of their lives with them each week.
We have much to learn from each other, my class and me. I hope the year goes slowly...