Teacher Let The Monkeys Out Year Two

I have never in my life seen so many students crying.  Today was the last day my kids were in school, and you know how in the States kids get super excited?  My kids cried.  I would like to believe that it’s because I am an amazing teacher and they will miss me so much, but really, it’s not that.

First of all, they have a flare for drama–it is what makes my Mexican students so lovable, fun, and frustrating.  So when the waterworks started in one kid, I knew it was because he is moving in about three weeks to Monterrey.  When two girls started crying, I knew it was because their home lives are a little lonely.  But then, it was like an epidemic.  Before I knew it, half of my class had teared up, and this hormonal teacher started crying too.

Now, here’s the thing.  I love my students.  I care about them.  I have enjoyed them.  I will even miss them to a degree.  But I am NOT sad that it is the last day of school!!  While other first year teachers have been telling me how sad they are all week, I have bit my tongue.  Because saying, “Oh, well, that will change!” isn’t something a first year teacher likes to hear or believe.  I remember.  So I didn’t say it.  But I sure did think it!  So these tears?  I attribute them to hormones.  I knew crying would just make things worse, so I choked them back and hid them from the kiddos.

THEN, we went to dismissal.  A older student found out that his cousin died.  Someone called his mom while they were sitting there waiting, and I was alerted by his tone of voice.

“Que paso? Que paso?” he said urgently.  Then he broke down.  I was worried.  I was sad.  But I didn’t know him–so I was able to walk away dry-eyed when I saw he was being taken care of by the counselor.  Until I started thinking about that poor mama.  Oh, my!  If I were to lose my Bebita!  Ah!  I can’t even stand to think about it!!

I calmed down–and returned to normal.

Then, my little boy who is moving came back with his mom.

“He is sad, because he is going to miss you,” she said, “He doesn’t want to leave.”

“Oh!  You’ll have so much fun!” I assured him.   Before I knew it, the mama was tearing up.  I looked at her a little worried and confused.

I asked, “Are you okay?”

She nodded towards her son and said, “It’s just because…”

I sprung another leak.  I finally understand!  I used to think my Mama was silly when she would look so hurt when we were sick or hurting.  It always kinda made me laugh.  Never again!  I get it!  And while the office staff, other parents, my co-teachers, and students looked on, I stopped holding it back.

And there we stood, us three, crying over the last day of school (kind of).

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The Summertime Blues

Oh, I got ’em.  I got ’em bad.  And you know what they say: Ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.

I feel like such a wiser teacher here in Mexico.  I remember how I used to be so determined to keep things as normal as possible at the end of the year.  I would do word study and writing until the very last minute.  No longer, my friends.  No longer.  And no longer do I have administrators who demand that I stick to content until June 14th.

I am taking advantage of the last two weeks of school.  Don’t get me wrong: we have assessments and reports to write.  I have a list that I am checking twice.  But I have fewer naughties and a lot more nice.  I attribute that to the great wise counsel of my mama.

“Jania,” she used to say, “You just need to have a little fun.  It’s that time of year.”  Of course Mama said this in December too.  That’s the other time of year that teachers go a little nutty.

I’ve finally realized the wisdom in her words.  Fun is to be had by all.

We worked on team decision making skills.  As a team they had to decide their favorite thing about second grade (from a whole class generated list).  Then the team decided their second favorite.  Each team split into two equal groups.  Each group began to design a poster.  Then to make it interesting, they switched posters.  Ahhh… how I love seeing my kiddos stretched all over the floors working their fingers to the bone.

Let me tell you: I’m not thinking of selling them to the highest bidder.  That’s an improvement on past years.

It makes sense you know.  If I am tired and have the blues, I understand why my students groan over the boring assignments.  If my colleagues get on my nerves, it makes sense that classmates are not fun to be around right now.  And if my favorite part of the day is reading Charlotte’s Web to my students–doesn’t it make sense that they would be super excited about having their own book to read along with me?  (I do one redneck Lurvy, if you don’t mind me bragging a little.)

Summertime blues, yes.  They are here with a vengeance.  But I found the cure.  It’s called enjoying-my-last-days-with-the-kids-by-doing-things-we-love-all-the-while-counting-down.  Whew!