Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting the Magic Back

It's that time of year, folks. Not Christmastime, not holidays in general. It's the time of year where my students start to drive me a little crazy.

Now, don't get me wrong. My kiddos are just as cute and hard-working as ever. Easily distracted by mentions of the upcoming holidays, sure, but mostly fine. It's me that's the problem. I'm frustrated that our winter benchmark scores aren't higher, worried about the ongoing evaluations I have to submit to as part of being a non-tenured teacher, and antsy for the two week long break that begins next week but still seems so very far away. Last week, I found myself getting downright snippy over stupid things. I even uttered the phrase "shame on you" to two of my students who were food fighting at snack time. Seriously, I said "shame on you" to two students who are still learning English and are clearly a few generations behind any person that would actually be shamed by that phrase. Except for me, of course. I shamed myself by using it. But I digress.

The good news is, I got my mojo back with my kids at the unlikeliest of places: a field trip. Today, we spent the whole kindergarten morning at the Chicago Botanic Garden Wonderland Express, and it was, quite frankly awesome. I had lots of parents show up to help supervise, the kids were fairly well behaved, and we were all in awe over the tons of model trains, hothouse plants, and Christmas trees that we saw. The museum even had a scavenger hunt bingo sheet for the kids to mark with stickers to help them focus on specific things throughout the museum. It was awesome.

Like married life, I sometimes find myself looking for ways to keep the magic alive with my kids. Spending 8 hours a day with tiny, pesky, humans is a lot. Sometimes it's easy to see their flaws instead of what they are: developing humans who are learning one day at a time to make their worlds better. Days like today remind me that when I find myself in a rut with them, that it's time to start something new, so that I can see the best sides of them. One of my naughtiest kids even begged me to sit by him on the bus today, and asked me to hold his hand throughout the exhibits. Say it with me: awwww.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed and bored with the routine. It's easy to take the people in your life, both under and over five feet tall, for granted. It's harder to do something unexpected, to break out of the norm and shrug off the responsibilities for a day to get out there and remind yourself why, exactly, you continue to fight so hard for the people that you have in your life. But it's so, so, worth it.

I think I might even survive these next three days :)

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