No surprises: Slice of Life #28

No surprises: Slice of Life #28

And we’re back.

Our two week break is over and things rolled out in first day after a break fashion.

There were new haircuts. New shoes. New glasses. New sweatshirts.

And all of us back together.

The smiles were big and sincere. The reality? Most of us were happy to be back into the routine. Despite early wake ups and late nights and tired all around, there was happy.

There was also testing. Pushing to the edge and then a little further. A specific word. A particular tone. Being where we shouldn’t when we shouldn’t. Doing things we aren’t supposed to do. The eyes always giving it away. “Yes, I know better but I’m going to try it and okay, yes, you noticed.” And then it stopped. Or it didn’t. Some of us need a few days to remember the way a classroom community needs to work.

There was magnetic pull. Visiting and reconnecting couldn’t be helped. We made room for it. Recess and lunch just weren’t enough. It’s hard to write when you have stories to tell in person. It’s hard to settle when you have too many wonders. “Did you see . . . ?” “Where did . . .?” “Did you know I . . . ?”

There were highs and lows in terms of emotions. Cranky. Distracted. Silly.

Some of us couldn’t stop smiling all day. School is about returning to a place of safety and belonging. Others were angry. The break wasn’t the best and now away from it, it was safe to express that. Some of us expressed it outwardly at others all day. Purging the angry. It was sad to watch. But our classroom is about all of us and this is what’s going on for some of us. We all experience pieces of what we each are going through.

We had to have one serious conversation about who we are to each other. Over and done in less than ten minutes. I recognized maturity, best intentions and contributions. Reminded that all of our actions are choices. Requested that we choose to give and not take away because we all learn best when we allow for space for all of us to be our best to each other.

There was more silence than usual from some. Contemplative thinking. Readjusting. Observing. Taking some time. Remembering how to be in our space.

There was ease with the familiar. We know reading. This is when the room is at its best. Most of us can get immediately lost in a book. Some went looking for new titles. I heard some children literally greeting books they hadn’t seen for two weeks.

We know listening to stories. If our learning community has tangible edges, this is when it began to take shape, to firm up, to smooth out. Our collective breath slowed. The calm was comforting and became deeper. Muscle memory. The connections were shared. The noticing happened. The building on each other’s ideas. Respect.

We know outside. Racing about. Skipping in time. Charging up rocks. Jumping over mud puddles.

We know each other. There was kindness and irritation as we all settled back in. Amusement. Contented socializing. Happy reunions. Laughter. Impatience.

To be expected adjusting.

No surprises.

We’re on route to recapturing our momentum, our rhythms, our way.

We need a few days.

Some patience.




Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

11 thoughts on “No surprises: Slice of Life #28

  1. This is stunning, Carrie. You captured the truths of a classroom community in such a beautiful, heartfelt way. Your love for ALL of your students shines through on this piece.

  2. What a lovely piece. Clearly you know your classroom! I recognized so much of this piece and so enjoyed your heartfelt rendering of a classroom community coming back together after a break. I especially love the idea of “muscle memory” being involved in read aloud. Well done!

  3. I love this line Carrie, ” Requested that we choose to give and not take away because we all learn best when we allow for space for all of us to be our best to each other.” So powerful — you teach them so much in a day. It is incredible. I love how you assess beyond – the community, the social and emotional needs of each child, the physical needs of each child, the needs you many never fully know or understand. When this part of assessment – that is when we truly engage our learners. Thank you!

  4. Your “there was” structure works well to draw us into your classroom. We all know this well, the ups, downs, and in-betweens of our classrooms. Thanks for sharing your experiences in such a poetic way.

  5. All the ups and downs after a break rolled together in this vignette of your class. A welcoming and smart teacher to know just the right touch for bringing the class back together for the rest of the year. Wish I could be a student here.

  6. I thought of someone’s post today when I read yours, Carrie. You’ve brought me back to that “return”, so much to share, sleepy too, and remember I taught the older ones, many of whom turned their nights into days during break. This other post shared Mr. Rogers: ““There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.” Sounds like your “serious” conversation with your class about each other. Thanks for a lot of good thoughts.

  7. Love this stepping back into routine. Love seeing what your students know – “We know reading . . . We know listening to stories . . . We know outside . . . We know each other.” And I love your bouquet of colored pencils. So joyful!

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