Wednesdays are my days to volunteer in Natalie's first grade classroom. I'm in there from 12:00 to 1:30 and in that short time I learn more about Natalie's school, her teacher, her friends, and what she is learning then I EVER do when I ask the standard "how was school today?" question every afternoon when I pick her up. Here is a sample of what I learned today:
1. When Natalie came home the first week of school and made the grand statement that everyone had a pair of Skechers Twinkle Toes she wasn't exaggerating by much. Just in Natalie's class alone there were three girls wearing them. That doesn't sound like much until you realize there are only seven girls in her class. And two of the girls NOT wearing Twinkle Toes were wearing a different style of Skechers (including my daughter).
2. Teachers have the hardest job in the world. Even when there are only twelve kids it can be completely overwhelming. It is so hard to balance the classroom so the more advanced students are not bored and the not-so-advanced students aren't completely lost. On top of all that there is the discipline, the praise, the questions, the answers, the complaining, the random singing (yes, random singing), the crying, the protesting, the out and out hostility, and the time management.
3. Teachers have the best job in the world. When you get past all that other stuff it really is fantastic to see that light bulb go off over a kids head and you know that they are finally getting it. When they are having trouble with a problem or a work sheet or life in general and something you say, or a piece of advice you give, makes things better or easier for them it is the best feeling. I especially like the hugs.
4. It is odd to be called Mrs. Roat. Just odd.
5. Kids will ask questions that they totally know the answers to. Maybe to get some attention? Maybe to see just how much you are willing to do for them rather then them doing it themselves? Maybe just to hear themselves talk?
6. Having to sit two extra minutes in silence before you can line up for recess because you got especially rowdy is TORTURE for six and seven year olds.
7. Natalie's teacher is awesome. She is young and kind and sweet, but can also turn it around and make a kid behave. She is just the kind of teacher I liked having and wanted Natalie to have.
8. I am completely at peace with my decision to send her to this new school. All summer I fretted and worried that it wasn't the best choice. Now I couldn't be happier. It is a great school with a great building and great resources. The staff is caring and involved (as I was walking down the hall the principal stopped me to ask if I knew I had one of the pickiest eaters in the school. How many principals know that about individual students, and care enough to stop the parent to tell them.) I love the small town feel. The everyone-knows-everyone vibe. It is perfect for our family.
I love volunteering in Nat's class. I can't wait to see what I learn next week.