I was off for a week. That was our Thanksgiving Break. It came just after our Veteran's Day Break. I liked the Thanksgiving Break because it was longer. This was the wisdom I took away from the second grade class that came into my room on Monday morning. I had no way to refute them. I listened to other teachers in the hallway, admonishing their students with reminders like "Vacation's over, back to school." I heard the grumbling response and understood. That's one of the big challenges I have as a teacher. I know how these kids feel, and yet I routinely find myself asking them rhetorical questions like, "Don't your remember how to sit in a chair?"
Well, of course they do, but part of my job is to find new and increasingly diverse ways to encourage them in proper chair management. And how to stand in line. And how to be quiet. All of these skills are not necessarily at the top of the list of conditioned behavior for five to eleven year olds. They would much rather run and/or talk in hallways in free-flowing mobs than follow one another in single file, silent to the world. During the week we had off, none of them stood in line, except for those who waited outside Wal-Mart with their parents for those screaming Black Friday deals.
But we all came back to give it another shot. What I loved the most was that first class of the day, when I came in and took off my coat as they were taking their seats: "Good morning, class," I said.
"Good morning, Mister Caven." Their welcome sounded like a song. It's the genius of a room full of children. Whenever you can get them to say things in unison, whether by chance or practice, there is music in those little voices. We were all there again, ready to begin anew.