Celebration: (Brief) Ramblings and the Happiness Train

There's a Book for That

Little love notes are the best part of being a primary teacher

It is the first day of the holiday break. My thoughts aren’t entirely organized. Often a celebration moment or theme is clear to me by the end of the week and I know what it is I want to share in my celebration post. This morning I woke up with the need to celebrate and the self-permission (is that a thing?) to just start typing and see where it goes. Then I looked up the word ramblings and found it defined as:

talk or writing that goes on for a long time and is boring, annoying or confusing

Related words?

burble, murmur, patter

Boring and annoying? Oh dear. Burble? That sounds quite charming.

But what from my week “burbled up” and “murmured” to me?

Hmmm . . .

The last week of school before the holiday break is intense for everyone involved. Teachers, students, parents, school staff . . . At my school, woven into the excitement of special events, musical performances and holiday treats is the anxiety of a long break away from school. Many of our students don’t look forward to winter holidays with eager anticipation. They instead feel worried, sad, even angry. A two week break from school means no breakfast program, no hot lunches, no expected routines or days filled with people who start each day (with them) with kindness and acceptance, no matter what.

It’s hard. It is emotional. There is lots of crying, upset and confused feelings. I barely had a break all week. Some children wouldn’t leave the room when it was my prep time because transitions were just too much. I couldn’t get everybody out for recess every day because “can’t we just stay with you?” Some lunches, I had to promise to sit in the cafeteria with children to lure them down to eat. Sometimes, I felt completely exhausted.

Yesterday, I was the last one in the cafeteria with two of my students and a little guy from the Kindergarten class. We had recovered from the tears that had explained and unexplained reasons. The eating began with carrot stick crunching contests and ended with silent yogurt swallowing. Smiles had returned. We had to get outside. So in the spirit of much needed silliness, I invited them all onto the Happiness Train. Tickets? A big smile.

We hopped out of the lunch room chanting “Chugga Chugga Chugga, Chugga Chugga Chugga, Choo Choo!” Out the doors into the school yard, all holding on to the jacket of the person in front of us. We snaked through the school yard, chanting and giggling. And then, our train grew. Contagious happy, contagious silly, contagious laughter. I hopped around the playground leading my train of little gigglers for close to 20 minutes.

Some boarded our train, eagerly just joining in and starting to sing with us. Others stood and asked,”Why are you doing that?” We didn’t answer. We just told them to hop aboard!

There is something freeing about leaping about and laughing with a bunch of five to eight year olds along for the ride. Freeing and needed.

Finally, one of my little guys leaped in front of us. “This is the terminus! Last stop!” he shouted. And, we all agreed. The children ran off, lighter, ready for the last ten minutes of playtime. I walked inside, lighter, but loaded down with connection, calm and the feeling of “just right.”

Here I am at the end of my ramblings. I didn’t know this is where I was going to end. But it is the last stop! I am changing trains and stepping on to the Holiday Downtime Express.

I celebrate all of these journeys.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!

Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.


Happy Winter break to all!

16 thoughts on “Celebration: (Brief) Ramblings and the Happiness Train

  1. Even Imi, whom you will see I kept a couple of days this week because her Montessori pre-school take three weeks off, was rather un-settled. For children, the routine feels safe. Oh Carrie, you are so clever with your students. That Happiness Train might carry on into vacation fun. I hope so. Merry Christmas with extraordinary rest and happiness with your family. (I love the ‘burbling’.)

  2. I think we should all celebrate a teacher who understands kids and works sooo hard to make them feel safe and comfortable and happy! Thanks for all you do!

  3. I’d never really thought much about self-care before I started working with children and families. I love what I do, and assumed that would be enough to carry me through anything. But the reality is that sometimes you can just care too much, and the constant desire to help, to nurture, to problem-solve and support and be there can wear you down. Make sure you take this winter break to recharge and care for yourself, so that you can keep being so awesome for all those amazing kids who look up to you so much. πŸ™‚

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