It’s the third week of school and I haven’t said a word about my class. I. Love. Them. All of them. Already. First of all, they are cuter than ever – each one with their own little mannerisms and characteristics.

There’s a boy who has a very grandiose, proper British sounding name with manners to match who makes formal pronouncements about things (“Ms. K, my grandpa gave me a kite which only real professionals can fly but with daily practice, I shall fly it in the park soon.” He sometimes wears stiffly pressed clothes – but, at the drop of a coin, he can also do whole sets of one-handed pushups (very seriously still, of course).

There’s a girl whose bangs falls completely over her eyes and who spends the carpet listening time twirling her hands as a mock conductor, her eyes closed and appears not to hear a word of class discussions but during independent work time, polishes off superb work which demonstrates total concentration.

There’s another boy who goes through my basket of read-aloud books during snack time and reads all the endings and then comes up to me periodically to reveal he knows all, laughing wildly. But then he still stays mum during read-alouds, riveted. I love him for that. So what if he has a desire to get closure before it’s time?

The class itself gets along amazingly. Usually classes start on the first day with some rules or agreements. But, I like to observe kids at their natural element to see which rules we need to go over. I was surprised to see that it was only on the fourth day of school we had to bring up an agreement about not laughing at others when they share their thoughts aloud.

Here’s the inventory of their interests so far: the Earth’s core, puppies, the color turquoise (I’ve been wearing turquoise hijabs 2 or 3 days a week just to make them smile), the forest behind our school and grasshoppers.

This morning I had a reminder of why I went into teaching in the first place. One of the children – who usually comes in with a bright smile, giggling – appeared tired and sad. I said good morning to her and she didn’t reply. After a few minutes, she came up to me and burst into tears. Her father had been in a car accident on the weekend – rushing home to her birthday party – and spent a night at the hospital. She told me she hadn’t slept well the whole weekend because “he was coming to my birthday and why did he have to rush for me?” To give her a hug and speak with her and reassure her and let her sit beside me at carpet time the whole morning and help her make a special card for her dad – that, to me, is what teaching is about. That and the cute kids.

“To laugh much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affections of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived–this is to have succeeded.” Bessie Stanley, 1905

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