Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adventures in First Grade

So, I have decided to include several blogs throughout the semester documenting solely my experiences in the classroom. My first day in the classroom was last Monday, so I have so far been in the class 3 times. Can I just say those kids are awesome? I think I have finally found my calling... first grade! Let me just share some of the gems from my short time there so far. My first day there I was introducing myself. They had heard from the teacher that my name was Miss Kirchner. One girl asked, "Can we call you Miss C?" "Well, you can call me Miss K." "Oh! I thought it started with a C!" This goes on as she laughs at her own silliness. Then the questions started pouring in. They kept asking how old I was (I could hear them talking amongst themselves making guesses such as 15, 16, 17, or 18), but their teacher told them we don't ask adults those questions, especially ladies. I told them that I started college over 8 years ago! Their jaws dropped and their eyes got real big. "That's right! I started college before you were even born!" That was the craziest thing they had ever heard, especially since it meant I finished school and decided to go back to get another degree. They also asked me if I had a boyfriend, when was I going to get married, when was I going to be a parent, etc. So funny! I also told them I had a couple nephews their age and that I loved spending time with them. A little boy chimed in, "So you knew you'd love spending time with us!" Hehehe :) Later that day (yes, this is still the first day) I overheard one little boy during class telling someone at his table, "That's not nice. We don't call people annoying." "But my sister doesn't listen to me!" "That's still no reason to call her annoying." This is coming from a 6 year old. That kid is going places. After lunch I also had like 4 different kids come up and just give me hugs. 10 points for me!

The next day I was there the kids kept giving me stickers, lol. I had 4 different stickers on my sweater and put another one on my visitor badge. When it comes to actual instructional time, I've had a blast working with the reading group. Those kids are so smart and excited about what they do. They are working on researching animals and writing complete sentences about what they learn to put into a class book. While they were researching I had half a dozen kids crowd around me asking for help finding certain information or wanting me to show them on the map where their animal could be found. I loved every minute of it! Seriously, they keep you occupied and make you feel valued and useful. They make me feel like I don't need validation from adults anymore, they validate me plenty! I also got to do a read aloud with them at the end of the day. We read "How Deep is the Sea?", which is about a penguin who tries to find that out. I got to sit in the rocking chair with all these excited little first graders sitting around me on the floor. I had no nervousness or anxiety; I knew they weren't judging me and didn't need to feel embarrassed about how silly I decided to read the book. Sure they got a little loud sometimes and got distracted, but I'll take it!

The funny story on day 3 actually involved my teacher, Miss D., rather than myself. It was during the math class. Now, the math class is very small, only 10 students or so, and is mostly those struggling a little bit more (still bright as brass though). That day they were learning about measuring and were being introduced to using a ruler. Miss D. had a ruler in her hand (just one of the simple wooden ones) and in an attempt to get the attention of one particular little boy who tends to struggle with his attention span, she hit the ruler on the edge of the desk. That got his attention. Shortly after though we noticed he had his head down on his desk and wouldn't look up. The teacher asked if everything was ok and if he needed anything. He just shook his head so we figured we'd just give him a minute. Once the class was working on their assignment, Miss D. talked with this little boy to see what was the matter. He looked at her and it looked like he was about ready to cry. I could only see him pointing to her and saying something to which she responded, "Oh sweetie, did you think I was going to hit you with the ruler? I would never ever EVER do that!" She goes on to explain she was just trying to get his attention and she was sorry she scared him and she wouldn't do it again. It was a bit of a heart breaking moment. But what makes this ultimately adorable was what happened later in the day. While the kids are getting ready to go to music this little boy tells Miss D. he left something on her desk under the paper towel. She said she was excited to see the surprise when she got back from dropping them off at music. When she came back she saw it was a smiley face cookie he left for her. Even though his feelings were hurt he left her a cookie! I just thought that was so freaking cute. That's something I've always admired about kids, they don't hold grudges and they're generally quick to forgive.

That sums up my experiences with those kiddos so far. I also subbed for a 3rd grade class this morning, which was rather painful due to a ton of behavioral problems (but that's another story) and it just made me appreciate my little first graders that much more. I was subbing at the same school so I even went down during my lunch to pop in and say hi. They were getting ready for recess and I told them how awesome they were and how they behave better than some of the 3rd graders. They were so proud of themselves :) Anyway, here's looking forward to many more adventures!

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