Must Have Love

I was with 3rd graders this morning. It was the nicest forty minutes of the day. And they were just so wonderful. The homerooom teacher said I was lively – well I can’t help it! I’ve always said that if you put me in a room with kids, close the door, and let me do what I want, that is utter paradise to me. The orchestra of running a class is just the best. It is a community and you get to have a hand in deciding how it will run. What’s not to love?
My only regret with the work I did with the kiddos was that it wasn’t something exciting like writing or reading, but it was conducting a day out of an Academic Vocabulary Toolkit that we have purchased. We were filling in frames for the word topic. I just sighed and jumped right in, reveling in the goodness of being surrounded by twenty something eight year olds one of whom told me that I looked like a student! This youngster who was about as tall as me said that when he saw me, he asked himself, “now who is that student? Are we getting a new kid in the class?” I had no idea how to respond, I smiled and said thank you, but the whole time I was musing, “jesus kid, are you blind? I have got a load of wrinkles on my face and about as many white hairs as you are old!”
I cringed only slightly when these brilliant eight year olds stumbled through the completion of the frames…oh jeez, why, why, why?
And when it was all over and I walked out of the classroom and headed towards the main office just in time to realize that I had parked my car in the back lot so I walked through the large blacktop only to get crowded by these munchkins who ran up shouting, “Miss Lopez, Miss Lopez, when are you coming back?” Then the hugs began and I wanted to cry. I had spent just a short amount of time with these kids, had taught them little about one word and here they were hugging and wanting to know if I would visit again.
What had I done?
These children are such treasures, such precious minds that go into our hands every day. All I know is that we need to love them and show them that they are capable of doing anything they want. Here is where my therapist friend would interject and with a bit of a snort tell me, “But Lorena that is exactly what you have to do as well…with the teachers that you work with.”
Ok, I need to send a thank you card to the teachers whose classrooms I used and I should explain how impressed I was with the classroom environment. I think they might even appreciate a few Oreos…

3 thoughts on “Must Have Love”

  1. L1 you deserve a bunch of loving third graders after the hours of pd writing and pd presenting. You paint the scene with them so well that I recall a photo I snapped of you at a Saturday class with EL kids and parents. So lit up. So delighted to be there and so expertly guiding the lesson in a playful flow. Glowing with joy. We left the enlarged photo on the office wall all last year, along with Jen K. smiling at a slice of pizza. (BTW nobody notices any wrinkles or grey hairs. Trust me.)

    Now, I don’t know who your therapist is, or how many letters he or she has after his or her name, but adults are not kids. Haven’t we noticed? I’ll grant love is love is love. So the corollary should work, huh?

    However, teachers are not kids. Some days teachers not only forget to be childlike, but leave their humanity at the door. Does not the sheer production of regulated curriculum sometimes drive the shwaa out of even a lovely teacher? (Gads. What’s this frames and boxes thing again?? I thought we did that 20 years ago…)

    I apologize for my naggy sounding voice. I am wrestling with something important. Why can we not — as teachers gathered in a room to work together — let down our guard, let down our hair, let down our yeah buts, let down our clock resentment, and get over our little competitive selves? Is it perhaps because of peer pressure, our habit of wearing a little coating of iron to insulate us from all the daily pressures and from each other’s judgment? Those filters that kids only sometimes employ?

    Granted, some good snacks and a few funny slides help. A joyful, loving presenter can relax us. But kids, when you love them, will play any game with you! The world is their playground. Teachers, nudged into a lesson are supposed to be critically analyzing it and learning. Being professional, ya know. Certainly not playground and not a picnic. Kids love to learn but don’t notice they are doing it. Teachers are like shoppers in a pd: “Yes, I can use this piece, nope that doesn’t fit, what’s this? too expensive, I already do this…”
    Woe to you if they think they’ve wound up on the aisle of KMart and you’re offering the Blue Light Special.

    Being together in joy. Sharing happiness. What could be more conducive to learning? Your smile and easy laughter…your energetic teaching style…the way you are with everyone. I am glad that teachers notice that. I think it is THE big ingredient. When SJAWP teacher consultants would come to my school on the writing grant, teachers would say, “Oh we teach that stuff. They just have a nice personality.”

    Duh. (In the silence afterwards, did those teachers listen to what they just observed? Make any connections?)

    I’m thinking next time I agonize over my slide presentation, and worry about the time and how to allow interaction, I’ll spend more time on my personality. I have been ruminating on the difficulty of teaching fluency to my elementary LLI students – and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve just been too serious and I have to come back from break and love them more and have fun. Yep, not worry so much about the comprehension but get in their with them and do some word play and bust out some reading moves. Yes, inspiring teachers to write. Inspiring teachers to have fun. Inspiring teachers to love.
    Thank you, L1.
    L2

    1. Whoa! LB! Did you have a tough day? Ha, you just blurted out all the pain that presenters go through especially PD people…God it sucks! You are so right, they come just shopping and it is always to get a strategy or a technique: “Oh I can make that… Oooooh I will get their attention that way…I can use that book…” All in a mindless state – AAAHHHHH! Yes and when they are in front of their kids, it is so boring. No personality, nothing fun, not a hint of emotion, just blah blah blah… I think I have to go finally drown myself in a tub of green tea.

      1. Just grappling with the truth. Too serious may be my life problem. Let’s just say teaching teachers, like difficult students can be a challenge. I am up for the game! Work is inspiring when I’m “in the zone.” I have decided that my classroom and my after school pd classrooms are my Playground. You have figured that out around kids. I’m going to figure it out with the over sized aging kids.

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