Friday, June 11, 2010

Endings and beginnings

I had a truly fantastic birthday at school. First and foremost, Julio's mother gave me the greatest birthday gift of all by not sending Julio to school on my birthday. As a result, it was a blessedly relaxing day, and I was genuinely touched by the gifts and the love my students gave me. The Sneak's mom even sent in birthday balloons! (Since Julio recently chose a meeting between me, his mother and my assistant principal to reveal his claim that the Sneak had showed him a condom in his wallet at lunchtime, the guidance counselor cynically observed that the Sneak was probably kissing up. Side note: When this juicy tidbit of information was revealed, my eyes literally bugged out of my head. It was followed by my assistant principal asked Julio, "How did you know what it [aka the condom] was?" Most awkward silence ever!)

I wrote thank-you notes to all the kids who made me cards or gifts :)

Of course, just when you're least expecting it, the $#@! will hit the fan. When I arrived in the morning on our Brooklyn-Queens professional development day, I wasn't expecting to find next year's organization sheet in my mailbox...but it was there. With my heart pounding, I quickly scanned all the names of next year's second grade teachers.

And my name...wasn't among them. Apparently my students aren't the only ones moving to third grade next year!

I wasn't thrilled. I did not want to change grades, I did not want to move into a testing grade, I did not want to deal with this year's second graders again, I did not want beginning ELLs, and I did not want to change rooms. And now: I'm changing grades, I'm moving into a testing grade, I have to deal with this year's second graders again, I'm going to have beginning ELLs, and I have to change rooms.

After the shock wore off, I consoled myself with some of the advantages. I will get push-in AIS support for math and reading and push-in ESL support for my ELLs, none of which I had this year. My new room is lovely and has much less bulletin board space (which translates into less wrestling with backing paper and standing on my tiptoes on tables trying to reach the top). And because we didn't do our articulation of classes until today, I was able to selfishly and sneakily place eight of my favorite students in my third grade class.

After dismissal, I went to see Arianna, one of my chosen eight, in her after-school program. Last year, Arianna was in my reading group, and when she was held over in second grade, I was happy to have her in my class. She's a lovely, sweet, earnest girl who isn't getting a lot of support at home and sometimes seems a little lost.

Last year, Arianna's second grade teacher lent her Amelia's Notebook, a book that purports to be the notebook of a young girl who loves to doodle and record her ideas. Arianna kept the book for months. When she finally returned it, I caught a glimpse of Arianna's own notebook. She had copied the pages of Amelia's Notebook -- copied them! -- so that she would be able to save it for herself.

Ever since then, I've been telling myself, You've got to get that girl her own copy of Amelia's Notebook. So today, after school, I presented Arianna with her own copies of Amelia's Boredom Survival Guide and Amelia's School Survival Guide. She gasped, then threw her arms around me and exclaimed, "Miss Brave, you're the best teacher ever!"

And at that moment, seeing how completely thrilled she was, knowing that she would treasure those books all summer long and that she would be coming with me to third grade...I kind of felt like it.

7 comments:

Capt. Schmoe said...

Congratulations Miss Brave, today you received the payoff for all of the Julio BS that you were forced to deal with all year.

I would have to agree with Arianna, for her, today you are the best teacher ever.

Have a great summer!

Mamie said...

Nicely done - you truly made lemonade when handed a big ol' sack of lemons!

DO NOT feel sneaky or bad about manipulating your class list for next year - you deserve some goodness!

Ann T. said...

Dear Miss Brave,
You are certainly one of the brightest and best teachers ever.

I can assure you that this young lady will never forget that thoughtfulness and care. It will stick with her forever.

Ann T.

Angela said...

Wow, I can't believe you found out you were switching grades through a paper in your box rather than a one-on-one conference. Yuck! Interesting that so many teachers were switched around and no real reason was given. (I just blogged about that problem yesterday: http://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/2010/06/switching-grades-teacher-needs-vs-school-needs.html)

That said, you're going to LOVE third grade. You'll be amazed at how much more independent your kiddos are. Assuming you don't get Julio again. ;-)

miss brave said...

Angela -- my school is INFAMOUS for creating that situation. It happened to me last year, too, and last year I was moving from AIS to the classroom for the first time, which is obviously a big adjustment. Last year, a fifth grade teacher did not list fifth grade at all on her preference sheet, but found out through the organization sheet that she'd be going back into the fifth grade. My principal is notorious for informing some people, but not others, that a change is being made. I've been moved to a new position every year at my school, but I haven't met with my principal to be notified about it since my first year.

Anonymous said...

Miss Brave, if you find out that Julio is going to get the placement he needs, please let your readers know!

Anonymous said...

That is so sweet--giving her those books. What a thoughtful and kind gesture. She'll never forget you in a million years.