Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ant Eater

I'd be lying if I said this hasn't been a difficult week emotionally.  I am so happy to be back in my classroom and with my students.  Yesterday and today, seeing students smile or hearing them laugh has been so comforting and joyful to me.

This afternoon, my students were gathered around their Native American murals working and talking.  I circulated around the room and listened in on groups and monitored their progress.  I had set the timer on the Promethean board to keep them on task and try and get the murals finished up in time for our Friday celebration.

One group in particular was all hunched over their paper looking very intently at a spot on the mural.  I walked over to see what was up.   Five students were watching an ant crawling across the brown, decorated paper and arguing discussing what should be done.   Naturally, when they saw me approach they all began showing me the ant and asking me what they should do.  I gave my standard reply when there is any kind of bug in the room.

"Well, leave it alone.  It's a living thing.  Just let it go where it wants and keep working."

We watched as the ant slowly crawled across an intricately drawn wigwam.

"Well, we only have 18 minutes and 36 seconds left to finish this mural," said one student.  "If that ant doesn't get moving, we are not going to finish.  And if we don't finish it we will have to stay in and finish it at recess tomorrow.  And I always play with [insert student name] and she's gonna be mad if I'm not out at recess!"

The ant continued its leisurely path across the six feet of paper, oblivious to the great decision being made.  Time ticked away.

"I can eat it!" offered one little mural-maker.

All of our heads immediately turned to him. Then they looked at me to see what I would do/say.

"Did you say eat it?" I questioned.

"Yeah.  I can eat it.  I ate one in pre-school," he explained, proudly.  "So did my friend."

"Well, was it good?" one curious student asked.

"Yeah.  It was delicious," he explained.  No one argued, probably because they had never tasted ant.

Their little eyes watched the ant and they all collectively seemed to decide that eating it was not something any of them really wanted to do.   16 minutes left and counting.

Suddenly, one little nature-lover carefully let it crawl on his finger.  He asked if he could go put it out in the hallway.   I peeked out in the hall and watched as he gently placed it in the corner, away from the student shoes that would soon be invading, and back with (I'm sure) countless other ant friends.

When we went back inside the classroom, his friends were all back at work, diligently putting the finishing touches on their beautiful creation.

Today, more than ever, I am so glad that I get to spend my days with the nature lovers, and the artists, and the talkers, and the rule followers, and the thinkers, and the watchers, and the doers, and the bossy ones, and the curious ones, and the organized ones, and the free spirits, and the risk-takers, and the problem-solvers, and the leaders.

And of course, the ant eaters.


  1. Each of them is a gift of course. But not everyone recognizes this. So glad you do!

  2. I love the ending. It is so true! We have had them all, and together they are our world:)

  3. I like how you listed all of the different types of kids...I wish my teachers would have thought of me in that way...appreciated that I was a shy, quiet kid. Way to go again, Dianne! Makes me want to make sure I appreciate my kids that way too.

  4. I'm not sure I have any anteaters this year... I'll have to ask. ;) lol

    I know who the cute little nature lover of yours is, though!