Thursday, November 8, 2012

Childish Relationships

You could say my relationship with children is somewhat (or a lot) childish.  We laugh together because I speak freely and allow them to do so as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.  For some reason when children say, "Mrs. Traci" as if to ask a question, "I usually respond with a, "Yo!"  They still look at me funny and then laugh as if they don't expect that response from a teacher.  I've been known to tell a student that it looks like their cubby is "throwing up" because of the mess that is falling out of it.  Somehow saying it that way makes a kids smile and they jump right to taking care of it.  That's not very teachery but it seems to make children respond without feeling judged or ignorant.  Of course when a child falls out of their chair or shows some other form of clumsiness I should ignore it, right?  Nope, not in my class!  Something like that generally turns into a teachable moment.  I take a sec to share what happened with the whole class and say that everyone gets their moment of clutsy fame!  It IS funny but it isn't you we are laughing at!  We are laughing because we all know how it feels to fall in front of other people.  You might as well enjoy the spotlight and move on.

On a daily or minute by minute basis I can turn into a new character.  Some days I'm from England, other days from France, and sometimes from Mexico.  My accent changes and so does my personality.  The kids never know who they are getting next but they like it.  There are days when I'm flat out in a bad mood.  It might be sickness, fatigue or just a mood.  In this case I usually start the day by asking them if they have ever been in the same mood that I am in.  All of them always say they have.  I will tell them that I'm not in a funny mood today and to also please forgive me if I am a bit cranky.  Now they all feel free to share how they re feeling with me.

If you've ever been a teacher then you know about the inevitable "fart" that sneaks out leaving a student mortified.  If you have figured me out then you know that I can't ignore it!.  I usually just say, "We have a gas leak!  If anyone needs to go to the restroom by all means do so!"  No one even flinches anymore when we hear the echo of flatulence!

My days are full of laughter, frustration, hugs, smiles, and learning.  It's just not in the normal way of running a classroom.  Yes, there is a lot of learning but sharing knowledge is secondary to building up a child and filling them with confidence, trust, friendships and joy.  Sometimes the teacher has to become childish herself to allow it all to grow.

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