I have a sneaking suspicion that this kid is gonna be a star. (aka A New Frank Cometh.)

Yesterday was technically my 30th “Meet the Teacher” Ice Cream social. I say it’s 30, but honestly I am brain dead so it could possibly be my 31st or 28th, depending on whether I showed up for all of them. (But we’ll keep that to ourselves, won’t we?)

These socials give the new children a chance to see their classrooms before the 1st day, meet their new teacher, eat four or five ice cream sandwiches and run around the building when no one can yell at them. To be perfectly honest it’s always fun-and I love seeing their reactions to the classroom.

The first little fella who came into the classroom was one of my international students.  I’m pretty sure he’s from China, and his parents have given him the American name of “Hans”.  (I am gonna love that this year.  “Never tell me the odds, Hans.”  or “It’s not wise to upset a Wookie”.)

Anyway, Hans ran up to me and said, “I have sumfin for you!” as he held out his clenched fist.

Because I’m no rookie, I placed my hand under his hand and he dropped something into it.  I was hoping for a diamond.

As soon as I saw what it was I SHUT MY HAND AROUND IT IMMEDIATELY!
It was small, chirps in the grass and frogs love them. Frankly,(I prefer them dipped in chocolate.)

It was a cricket.  A LIVE cricket. “Um, thank you!” I said.   He smiled and ran over to the legos.

And with that, this fella reminded me that even though I’ve been doing this for many years, I am still a rookie.

Some days are diamonds...some days are stones. (aka the end is near.)

I remember the teachers we would look at and think, “Oh my God, how many years have they been teaching? Are they ever going to leave?”

I remember that.

I remember some teachers who would say the were retiring and I would think, “What?  They are so great! They can teach many more years!

I do remember that.  

I remember also thinking, “Gosh, I love my job.  I can’t ever think of a time where I wouldn’t want to be teaching.”

Yep.  I certainly remember that.

I also remember talking to many of these teachers and they would say, “Oh, you will know when it’s time.  You will know when you’re done.  Trust me!”

And then last year, in the middle of a hectic, crazy, frustrating, wonderful but exhausting day I had the moment.  I remember standing in the middle of the room having that very epiphany.  I watched the children playing together (or fighting and screaming) very loudly and thinking to myself, “Oh my God, I think it’s time. I think it’s time for a new, young and energetic teacher to take over this job. I. Can’t. Do. This. Anymore.”  I realized that those adorable kids laughing and playing all around the classroom needed someone guiding them who was all in. Because, frankly, when you’re 58 years old with 2 new knees, a new hip, high blood pressure and a fatigue issue- you are probably not all in.

So now, in the week preceding my last year of school, I  am preparing for the end. I am creating an environment that will be welcoming and inviting. I am decorating my room in bright and fun colors, with plenty of toys and great books.  I am planning meaningful and rich experiences that will creative a loving community, plant the seeds of life-long learning and will provide plenty of meaningful play. I will find all of the books that I want to share that have a special place in my heart.  I will do it all, and do it to the very best of my ability.

Basically, I am preparing for the year as I have every SINGLE year for 30 years.  

Only this time, I will try very hard to savor each day.  I will try to unwrap each day slowly, as you would a gift,  and will be thankful for whatever gifts that day might bring.

Even if some of the days bring me a big lump of stones.


Glitter and tears...(aka the FIRST first/last)

Today was the day, the first of many lasts for me.   It was Kindergarten Camp- the day that all of the soon-to-be kindergarteners come to school for a few hours of fun play.  It gives the teachers a great opportunity to spend time with the children, and to see if we can put them together into groups. We want to ensure that they are with some “friends” and if there are glaring needs, we can find ways to place the children so that they can be successful in this first, critical year learning.

I walked into school excited and ready to go!  I am always ready at the time of year, and can’t wait to see what fun the day will bring.  After prepping my room (i.e. running frantically around looking for the brand new play-doh I JUST BOUGHT THE NIGHT BEFORE) I made way next door to see the two other amazing kinder teachers.

They were standing together laughing, and turned to me as I walked in.  “Hey!” said Lisa, “Happy Last Kindergarten Camp!”

Much to their surprise- and my own SHOCK, I immediately burst into tears.  

“Oh, no!” they both said. “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay!”

I reached for tissues and wiped my eyes, shocked at my response!  “Oh my God, I don’t know where that came from!” I hiccupped again, still trying to compose myself. “I am  happy for goodness sake!” And of course, a few more tears flowed.

They smiled and nodded. (They know by now what a crazy person I am. The new hormone patch isn’t helping!   

If this first/last day is any indication, I’m guessing this is gonna be a messy year!  2018-19 will be filled with glitter and tears, baby.

Glitter and tears.