And now, being with these kids every day, I know I'm where I need to be. Even on those days that seem like the wheels are falling off - well, usually it's the noise level is off the charts - I still know I'm doing what I am made to do. I just want to do it better.
People (those that don't know me very well, usually) often asked in the past why I would want to spend time with preschoolers or young children. I don't know why people don't want to do that. Yes, they are noisy and messy. (I am, too, sometimes.) Yes, they are needy. And there are days I contemplate changing my name so I don't have to respond to a chorus of "Mr. Wiley" that echoes through the room. But I do love it.
I love the funny things they say and the funny stories that always seem to happen to me. (Check out my Facebook page for some of those things, if you're interested.) Here are two photos that help explain why I do what I do.
Grading math papers I came across this. I took a photo because I felt that no one would believe me without proof.
In case it's hard to read, the problem asks "Explain how you found 10-6." The student wrote "I found it rihgt (right) here" with an arrow to the problem. (It's a true, undoctored photo!)
Yesterday, our morning message included spaces for the kids to fill in. (We're talking about sequence in stories and so forth.) Here's what they came up with - and I did no prompting.
Can you tell what they think is important? (We did do more than this. I promise!)
With material like this, why would I want to do anything else?
(And, of course, there are the fringe benefits: surprise hugs, being told that you are the best teacher ever, drawings, rocks, other small gifts, the brightening smile of a child, the light bulb moment when a child makes a connection. I'm a blessed man.)