The most personable and actively engaged little people in one of my kindergarten Leveled Literacy Intervention groups really press me to pay attention, stay balanced and teach with empathy. Today I gave them two take home books, explaining that I will be in a teacher meeting tomorrow and Friday. One, the most challenging, active little guy came round the horse shoe table after class with him arms open.
I looked at him quizzically.
“Hug?” he said. I swiveled my chair around and gave him a hug, saying, “Hey, I will miss you guys.” And the two girls each came round to give and get hugs, too.
A girl I taught last year came in after school, with a big smile, and her girl friend in tow. “Ms. B., can I have some books?” she asked. I haven’t talked with A. for quite awhile, so it was a surprise. “Please?” I prompted and she quickly added it to her request.
I riffled around in the take home books and pulled out a few, giving commercials. In the midst of my wonder that A. was asking for books (not a confirmed reader), she blurted out, “My Mom is having a baby!”
“Oh! My, my, you are going to get a baby brother or sister!” I turned to her. “Then you will definitely like this book…” I can turn anything into a book commercial.
She left with the books and I asked her to come back Monday and tell me what she thought of them, but I think she was getting access to talk about her news. Her teacher is out on pregnancy leave — and I know A. much better than the substitute.
I got an email from a bff who totally understood the empath thing when I explained I was flattened yesterday afternoon by a child coming in to tell me the painful memories she couldn’t stop. I was going to talk about a reading test, but she cried, “I miss my Daddy…” and it went from there. I drove home, after checking in with the school counselor about the situation, feeling like someone else’s life and pain had been stuffed in my torso. I felt so flattened that I went to bed at 7 pm to try to rest and read.
The same girl was smiling this morning telling me she camped last night. It was cold and rainy so I was surprised, but she explained that she made a tent under a table with blankets and slept there. “My back hurts though,” she said rubbing her hip. I decided I could wait to give her that assessment I’m hoping is going to equal her “graduation” from groups.
Little threads. Small moments. I like to turn these scenes over in my mind, like little shells or stones, rather than ponder the enormous, whole work day.