Combine Valentine's Day with our annual Variety Show last Friday, and you could have a recipe for disaster. Luckily, the day was just a swirl of non-stop excitement and fun. At least for the kids.
The kids came to school charged up, clutching heart covered boxes and stacks of tiny envelopes addressed to their friends. As I stood in the hallway, donning my one and only festive, red item of clothing, a scarf, the cuties wished me an enthusiastic "Happy Valentine's Day" as they crowded through the doorway. Within minutes my desk was covered with many handmade, personal valentines (my favorite), most of them taped to an Almond Joy bar (also my favorite). Perfect timing, also, as my supply of Almond Joys from all their Halloween candy gifts was running low. They are so sweet! It never gets old to get a card written in little kids writing declaring me "the best teacher in the whole world!"
I attempted to settle them down a bit before the Variety Show. Even with a microphone on it was difficult to keep them quiet for more than a minute or two at a time. They were just so darn excited about the day. They tried. They really did. Soon we were headed off to Act I of the show. My little ones sat down on the gym floor squished together in a row, excited and eager to see their friends on stage. Now, assemblies and author visits and all-school shows are usually lots of fun, especially for kids, but for a teacher we are on a constant, vigilant watch to monitor behavior and shush as needed. Trust me when I say no kid wants to feel "the stare" from his/her teacher and look over to see said teacher motioning them over to sit next to the teacher.
After lunch, my little valentines were so excited for their party that they couldn't stand it. They passed out their decorated cards and candies and then returned to Ohh and Ahhh at their pile of valentines. There is just something really special about getting twenty-three tiny, little red and pink personalized cards all in one day.
During Act II of the show, two of my darling little girls sang and danced to a song replaced with their own lyrics about 3rd grade and our school. It was quite a touching song, tearing me up in some sections. Especially the part where they pointed to me in the audience as they were declaring me the reason 3rd grade was so much fun. Last week, they had casually asked me where I would be sitting during the Variety Show. After the morning's Act I, they asked me to sit in the same place for Act II. Now I know it was so they wouldn't have to pause mid-way in their beautiful song to try and locate me out in the gym filled with five hundred students and teachers. I think the most delightful part was when they walked out on stage and one of the girls looked to the other and whispered, "She's there!" Of course I was there. I wouldn't miss this for anything. I felt on top of the world. I had to fight the urge to storm onto the stage, grab the mike, and imitate Sally Field when she accepted her Academy Award and said, "You like me! You really like me!"
After the show, we had our party, which consisted of reading, eating the candy from their valentine's cards, eating popcorn, and one of my students making snow cones for everyone. Hard to top in the kid world. Was there more talking than reading? Yes. Was it fun? Absolutely.
On mornings like Friday, when I'm being stern and trying to put a lid on the talking, they probably don't love me so much. Or think I'm the greatest teacher ever.
On days when I'm making math or social studies more fun and engaging, they probably love me.
On some afternoons, when I'm tired and cranky, and I'm not being very patient with them, they probably don't love me.
On beautiful days, when I take them out for an extra recess, I know they love me.
On assignments, when I insist they do it over or give me their very best, every time, I doubt they love me very much.
But on days like Friday, when they sing about me in front of the whole school, I know they love me.
And I love them too.