Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Think I Do Love It

When I began my first grade teaching adventure in August, I got lots of affirmation on my decision. Friends, family members, and lots of others all commented things like, "You will be a great teacher" or "That's just what you should be doing" or "Those kids are so lucky."

As you can tell if you read posts here, it's been a challenging undertaking for me. I've learned so much. And I keep learning a lot. Some days are draining. I get so tired. I work and work and things are still not like I wish they were. At times my class feels like controlled chaos...and not that controlled.

Since I've began, people ask me, "Do you love it?" (or other variations). I smile and make a short reply. But the fact is, I haven't been feeling like I love it. I do feel like it's the place I need to be. I don't regret making the change. But I don't feel like I'm doing as well as I should. And many times I don't feel like I love it.

But, as I look back, I see something else. I guess those challenges get a little dimmer or filtered out. I see things that I would not want to lose.

I see a boy who avoided writing in his journal at the beginning of the year. He draws wonderful pictures; he's an artist. And I would say, "Remember, you need to write some words, too." I just wanted a few words...not necessarily a sentence. Now, he writes several sentences...on topic...with some transition words. And sometimes chooses not to draw a picture with it. That I love.

I see a girl hurry across the room, book in hand. "I read all the words in this book," she says with a huge smile. A few weeks before, she struggled through it. In our last reading assessment, she read book after book after book. "I can read lots of them," she says to me. That I love.

I hear kids call, "Look! It's 1:30!" They couldn't tell when it was 1:30 on our clock a few weeks ago. Now they can. That I love.

"Look, Mr. Wiley! A table of contents!" says a girl as she turns pages in a new book. That I love.

I smile as my line of kids see words in the hallway they recognize and point them out to me. Or they see a familiar word in a book. Or find a book in the library that's the same as we read in class and check it out so they can read it at home. That I love.

I love hearing kids read. I love feeling a quick hug in the morning. I love the fist-bumps I exchange with each child at the end of the day as we leave. I love that one girl waits by the cafeteria door for me so we can walk to bus line together.

Usually when someone asks, "Do you love it?" I think about the struggles I've been having. And I wonder if I do.

But, yes, I think I do love it. It is what I was meant to do. I'm just where I need to be.

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