On Monday Miss Slinger called before work to say that she was not feeling well, and wouldn’t be in. I said that was fine, and was on my way to work before I remembered that my Monday help (a special ed teacher and a Spanish speaking aide) had both emailed last week to switch to Tuesdays. I was at work before I remembered that someone from the local university was going to be in to do a formal observation of me and my classroom (it’s part of a study I agreed to participate in). And then five minutes later I found out that we had a mandatory staff meeting.
The staff meeting was sad — a disabled boy from an older grade died suddenly over the weekend. I didn’t know him, but many teachers did, and the mood of the staff was somber. When we were done discussing the impact of this loss on the staff and students, I had to go to a meeting with a teacher I would be observing the next day. So I got back to class with only about five minutes to get ready, and there was my observer.
For some reason, this did not stress me out. I’m usually a stress monster, but I was just amused. And I kept a smile on my face all morning.
I smiled as the kids came in, signed in, and got to work on their journals. The woman from the university looked surprised, but I’ve set up some really great routines in my class, and my students know exactly what to do.
I smiled as they worked in their centers, and as I rotated from center to center to talk to them about their work. “Oh, the house corner is on fire again? You guys know what to do. Call 911 so the firefighters can come put it out….”
And mostly I smiled because I am no longer a first year teacher, and I have years of rich experience to draw on. My classroom is a humming place because my years of struggle and trying to figure out what I was doing are behind me.
Sometimes it’s nice not to be young anymore!