September 8, 2020:
Well, day #1 in the books of my new teaching venture…elementary! My two favorite interactions with kids — I think it has to do with my new hairdo
3rd grader: “Are you an art teacher from New York city?”
Me: “No, I’m from Wisconsin”
Other 3rd grader: “My Dad’s from Wisconsin too!”
Kindergartner: “Are you a girl?”
Kindergartner: “Why do you have hair like a girl then?”
This is my Facebook post from September 8th after my first day of school in my new teaching role. I lost my job at one of the high schools last year after the district’s referendum failed, and I was all set to set up shop with my wife’s one-room-schoolhouse environment and jump back into the adventure of two self-employed parents. But instead, thanks to a district who supports its teachers, I have been hired back to teach in elementary and middle school roles this year.
Which brings me to my facebook post — this is my first time teaching elementary-aged students since my student teaching experience, and there are many things I’d forgotten – and love – about this age.
Here are my Top 10:
- They are so literal! They have no filter and speak their minds. (Questions about my hair).
- They can’t sit still. It’s like there’s a little motor that gets wound up every 15 minutes.
- They don’t have cell phones! I can build relationships with them – without screens pulling them away.
- They look me in the eye.
- They ask to help: “Mr. Thorpe, can I pass out the cups?”
- They are creative problem-solvers. My kindergarteners need to climb on my counter to reach the sink to wash their hands. You can’t make this stuff up.
- Every day is a new day.
- They see the world differently because they’re not rushing from one thing to the next. We’re present in art class – together.
- The grit these young kids are demonstrating is inspiring. They’re being asked to do all kinds of things we never thought possible… including trying to remain socially distant, wearing their masks for eight hours a day, (or telling others to do it) and washing their hands thoroughly and frequently.
- Every day they remind me that we CAN do hard things – things that push us waayyy beyond our comfort zones – and find delight in them.
Keep wearing your mask and please continue to practice kindness and compassion, while doling out generous amounts of grace. My kids do every day.
Yellow Parachute Learning Partners