My first, second and third graders (that I was able to work with today) all expressed how much they had missed me and, of course, I shared how much I had missed them. After catching up with each others lives we got to work. We read, we discussed, we shared our thinking and we wrote. The lessons weren't amazingly inspirational by any means, but they were meaningful. We worked as if we hadn't missed a single day together. Then, sadly, I had to send them back to their classrooms. What I didn't realize at the time was that the best part my day was about to happen with my kindergarten students.
First of all, if you have never worked with kindergartners you have missed out on some seriously hilarious experiences. Kindergarten is an adventure to say the least and one day is never like the next. For example, in one afternoon I witnessed a twin going all WWE on her sister in an effort to help her pull up her pants up so that her butt crack wasn't showing while a small group in the drama center was playing out an elaborately dramatic story filled with a level of misery and mystery that was way beyond their years. (By the way, when I asked the drama center group why their story was so dark their response was, "Well, this IS the drama center." I couldn't argue with that.) One of my favorite stories is when I was challenging a student to write different words. I told him that the last word was REALLY hard. He pushed up his sleeves, sat back in his chair, looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Lay it on me."
Today I walked into the Kindergarten classroom and pulled my two students over to a table to work on saying words slowly and writing down the sounds they hear. For one of the students this has been a particularly difficult activity. Not today though. She owned those words. She was doing such a great job and had a confidence that I had not seen before. I asked her how it was so easy for her now and she said that she'd been practicing at home. Then she went on to explain to me that somethings can be really easy for some people and really hard for other people; that everyone has something that they are good at. She said that she just needed to work on words until they were easy peasy lemon squeezy. My heart has been smiling ever since! THIS is why I teach.