Ten minutes into my most recent author visit with first graders, I decided we should all be kissing the ground that teachers walk on. As I was trying to politely tell the kids to sit on their bottoms, the literacy coach accompanying me asked, "Are you all sitting criss cross applesauce??" Criss cross applesauce? Seriously?
Well, whoever thought of such a cutesy, but effective phrase deserves a year off with pay. These kids were on their rear-ends in no time.
Then, not even halfway through my presentation, a little boy raised his hand insistently. Knowing that I had a 50/50 shot that his question would actually pertain to what I was saying, I answered him. "Yes, friend?" I asked.
"My grandma died."
Could anyone else hear crickets chirping?
I searched for the best answer. Yet, I was more puzzled that the boy didn't look at all sad.
I briefly comforted him before having to move on and tend to another little one's inquiry. What energy these kids had! And I had this many more first grade classes to visit! To be honest, the morning went very well. The kids loved meeting the polka dot shoes and trying on my storybook boa. I walked away feeling good about spending time with them - like I had made a difference.
But, I ALSO walked away with a sore throat (which I carried all the way to bed), and the need for a nap and/or huge vat of caffeine.
The thing is, I COULD walk away. Teachers don't get to. (Until summer break, which they need just to wind up for the next year.)Teachers take home their work, spend countless dollars of their own on lesson plans, etc. and carry around the added pressure of test scores, among other things.
And for that, teachers, thank you. Thank you for all the criss cross applesauce-ing you do all day. Thank you for your God-given ability to shut down the never-ending unrelated "questions" students have. And thanks for hanging in there when it seems like you can't do it another day.
Thought For the Day: I come from a family of teachers and know just how hard they work. It is my belief that teachers are everyday heroes.