One of the best parts of my job as a teacher is getting to chat casually with students throughout the day. It's incredible how a hoo-hum day can be instantly improved and made more positive after some verbal exchanges with a child. Many times during lunch or in the mornings as they are arriving, a student will approach me and tell me a story about something that's on their mind or ask me a question. You can tell the urgency of each student based on the decibel and amount of times your name is repeated and/or the by the urgency of the poking in your arm. I've become a big fan of the 8 to 9 year old kid and the thinking going on in their brain and have collected some of my favorite conversations.
3rd grader: "I have a connection!"
Me: "Super! I love connections... please tell."
3rd grader: "We read a book about a girl in the city on Monday and we read another book about a girl in the city today [Wednesday] and you have the same pants and shoes on that you wore on Monday."
(sigh) Busted by an eight year old fashionista.
Me: (Trying to get 3rd graders excited about the math lesson) "I (heart) math!" Writes it on the board with a giant red heart in the middle.
3rd Grader: (raising arm excitedly) "Hey! I have a t-shirt that my grandma gave me that says that!"
Me: "Really? I think that's great! I have never seen a t-shirt that says that. I would love one."
3rd Grader: (moving finger across shirt and air writing) "Ummm.. wait a minute. I think it says, I heart Maine."
Well. Close enough.
3rd Grader: "Want to come over to my house and play on Saturday?"
Me: "Well, that depends. What do you have to play with?"
3rd Grader: "Well, I have papers and worksheets and books. We could play school!"
Me: "Ugh! I get enough school during the week. No thanks!"
3rd Grader: "OK then. We can play house!"
Me: "I'll give you another spelling list, for the third time this week, but what are you going to give me?"
3rd Grader: "Hmmmm....ummmmmm...errr.....ummmmm...."
Me: "Well, hurry up. I don't have all day."
3rd Grader: "You're kind of pretty and I like your dress!" (smiles)
Flattery will get you everywhere. Or at least another spelling list.
3rd Grader: "Do you like your job?"
Me: "Yes. Do you like your job?"
3rd Grader: (look of confusion, nervous laugh) "I don't have a job. I'm a kid."
Me: "Sure you have a job. You are a student. You have an important job. You have to listen and learn and think and write and do homework. You have to work all day."
3rd Grader: (purses lips, shuffles feet, tries to become invisible) "But I don't want a job!"
3rd Grader: "Guess what I did last night?"
Me: "You did all your homework and made me some cookies?"
3rd Grader: (stunned) "Well, I did my homework, but my mom wouldn't let me make you cookies."
Sure.... blame the mom.
3rd Grader: "Do you like being a teacher?"
Me: (shrugs) "Do you like being a kid?"
3rd Grader: (shrugs)
And there you have it.
This one never gets old. If you're a teacher I highly recommend you try it.
Excited 3rd grader approaches.
"It's my birthday party this Saturday!"
Me: (with even more excitement than the 3rd grader) "Great! I absolutely LOVE birthday parties! What time should I come over??"
3rd Grader: "I can't think of anything to write about."
Me: "Then write about not being able to think about anything to write about."
3rd Grader: (squints) "Are you trying to trick me?"
3rd Grader: "My mom forgot to put my homework in my backpack."
Me: "How could that be?"
3rd Grader: "What do you mean?:
Me: "Well was it your homework or your mom's homework?"
3rd Grader: "Mine."
Me: "So.. let me get this straight. You took your homework home, you did it, but your mom forgot to put it in your backpack?"
Again... blame the mom.
Take my word for it. Talking to kids every day helps keep one positive and inspired.