The few days before any school break can be very, very challenging for teachers. Our amazing ability to control groups of 20+ kids is given the true test as we try to keep order, routines, and yes, even learning happening in our classrooms while the kids are simply just trying to sit still and make it all stop. Today, I must have been asked over thirty times how much longer until our party. They know when our party is because we have talked about it every morning this week. In detail. The questioning began at 9:12 a.m. this morning, which means we had only been in school for seven minutes.
This is quickly followed by five to ten other little hands.
"Is our party before or after lunch?"
"Will we have good food at our party?"
"Can I eat as much as I want?"
"When's our party?"
After the fourth time of being asked what time the party was, exasperated, I reminded them they are in 3rd grade. They know how to tell time.
"Please quit asking me how much longer until the party," I began. "You are in 3rd grade and I know you can tell time. Figure it out. We have a lot to do today before the party, so let's get busy."
And then I secretly looked at the clock and calculated that I had six hours and forty-three minutes.
But, they did get busy and got to work. We did some math, I videoed their Native American mural presentations, and they went to music. As they were eating their snacks after music, one little girl approached me. She looked at her feet. She looked at me. "Is our party after lunch?"
I sighed. I looked at her cute little bow in her hair and her innocent expression. She, like all the others was just so anxious and excited, she couldn't help herself. For a split second, I remembered that little-kid feeling of excitement for parties, and Christmas, and no school.
"Yes, it is after lunch," I calmly said. And then I turned on my microphone and said, "Just a reminder that our party is today, after lunch, after recess, after art, at 2:15 p.m. That is exactly three hours and fifteen minutes away." I smiled. A big smile. "Any other questions?" They seemed satisfied, if only for a short while.
When in the hallways today, I passed other teachers and we shrugged our shoulders and rolled our eyes and made funny faces at each other as the kids jumped and sang and skipped behind us. When lunch rolled around, I put on a movie to try and remove some of the loud talking, bouncing, and general chaos, and calm them down a bit. It worked.
The kids were excited to get outside for recess as it was our first snow of the year. They bundled up in snow pants, and zipped their heavy coats, and put on mittens and hats. As they waddled down the hall in their full snow attire, I heard one little boy tell another one, "I can't wait until recess is over because it's our party!"
Not. They still had one hour and fifteen minutes after recess. Lucky for me we had art and then did some reading until it was finally TIME FOR THE PARTY.
It was a great success, the kids had a blast, the parents were very helpful, the food was good, and the kids were all well behaved, polite, and enjoyed the crafts. So, teacher friends, we made it! We got through this busy week before the break. Now we can enjoy some well-deserved time with friends and family to relax and rest.
Because no matter how many times we are asked the same questions, or how many hours we have to wait until it's time for "The Party" or how many times we repeat ourselves in a day, or hear our own name repeated in one day, I'm still standing.
And besides that, I'm still smiling. But that could be because I have the next eleven days off.
Listen to Elton John's "I'm Still Standing"