I am on my sixth week of maternity leave. I do not have the itch to return to work. I thank God each morning that I’m able to stay home with my baby boy. That being said, my heart does miss a few things about teaching. And I’m going to write about them because my head is still dizzy with all things baby and my mind is aching to play with words.
What This Mrs. Misses About Teaching
1. Scholastic Book Orders
I’ve said it before, but scholastic book orders are basically why I became a teacher. I get way more excited when The Book Box arrives than when a student “gets it”. The lightbulb moment is usually gradual and often happens when I’m distracted from actually teaching the lesson to the whole class.
The Book Box allows me to slow down and take in the scent of brand new, shiny, silky books. And the look of excitement my students get over BOOKS makes me so happy. When I carry the Book Box from the office to my classroom, I hope to run into some of my students just to give them a big open mouth smile of excitement because The Book Box came!!
2. Donors Choose
The first two years I taught, like most new teachers, I spent a good chunk of my paycheck on stuff for my classroom. Decorations for the walls, prizes for my student store, stickers for days and days, fun colored white board markers, food snacks for parties, books for my class library, and the list goes on and on. I put a big halt to buying stuff for my classroom once I noticed my savings account didn’t have any… savings.
But I still wanted my kids to have a nice classroom and get to experience new things, so I wrote out requests for items with Donors Choose, a website that allows teachers to request certain items, write up a proposal, and then donors get to choose which projects they want to fund. With Donors Choose, I’ve been able to get LEGOs for center time, a huge cozy rug for reading time, a bunch of jump ropes and soccer gear to make PE more legit. It’s such a great program that really helps teachers bring in new supplies to the classroom without spending so much of their own money.
3. Playing Soccer With Students
I’ve never been athletic. So my skill level at soccer is about the same as my 2nd grade students, excluding the ones who are in some type of soccer league outside of school. Those students are way better than me.
My students love it when I play soccer with them and so do I. When I put on a green or blue jersey that team gets super excited. It’s a bonding time where we can play together and build up that teacher-student relationship.
Playing soccer with my students is where a lot of the magic happens.
At times it’s incredibly tough to take on the role of coach because I have zero life experience to draw from so all the coaching knowledge I have comes from sports movies. But it’s magical all the same. At the end of a long day, it’s so refreshing to go outside and have fun. If I were in charge of the education system, there would be so much more PLAY time. For the KIDS. Go figure.
4. Chapter Book Read Alouds
Ok, this is where the other real magic happens. I once was told by a student’s older sister, “My brother hated reading before he came into your class. We were always trying to get him to read at home but he never would. After being in your class, he loves chapter books.”
That was so rewarding to hear because it’s not easy to read chapter books aloud each day to a room full of wiggly kids.
But I’m a firm believer that if someone doesn’t “like reading” he/she just hasn’t found the right book yet. One of my goals as a teacher is to get my students to fall in love with reading. Old Yeller, the kids from Wayside School, and Winn-Dixie are just a few of the characters that help me accomplish that goal.
5. Math Challenge Problems
In second grade, students are supposed to be able to add problems such as 345 + 459. Once my students understand the basics around that, I love giving them challenge problems. I change my voice to sound like a guy from a boxing match, “ARE YOU READY FOR A CHALLENGE???” And I slowly write 347913074 + 392412798 on the board, sometimes pausing before adding yet another digit! Their jaws drop as I write the problem on the board, but as soon as I encourage them, “You know how to add. You can do this. Add it up!” they get going — and when they get it right, man does my classroom get LOUD. They want more, they soon will demand more, and I will increase the rigor as high as they will allow.
It’s one of my tricks so when they see a problem like 562 +432, they have this new confidence. And 6+7, no sweat!
Yes. Teaching has its awesome moments for sure. And while I do miss some parts about being in the classroom, this mama is exactly where she wants and needs to be. It was just fun to remember some of my pre-baby daily occurrences.