Notes From a Teacher: Kids turn out their New Year’s revolutions

Going to back to school after a long winter’s break is always difficult for members of the school community. Everyone is used to napping whenever they please. Everyone is used to shutting off the alarm and sleeping in every day. Everyone is used to snacking, wearing their pajamas all day long, staying up late to watch a favorite movie and not having to worry about bedtime. And that’s just the teachers.

The children are usually just as cranky when the new year rolls around and it’s time to get back to their school routine. Frankly, I’d been out of school since November with my double knee replacement and couldn’t wait to get back to my school routine — but I was worried that the children wouldn’t feel the same way.

I was prepared for them to be just as cranky as everyone else. Would they cry? Would they fall asleep in class? Would they remember the rules? Would they forget who I was? But after an hour into the day, I realized I worried for nothing.

The children ran into the room smiling and happy, ready to share all of their news from the long holiday break. I reminded them that I couldn’t listen to 20 children shouting stories at me at once, and we sat for a nice telling-sharing session.

As we wrapped it up, I reminded the children that we were in a brand new year. Most looked at me confused, and one fella raised his hand and asked if they were going to be going up to first grade.

I tried to explain that even though we were in the middle of the school year, it was the beginning of 2015, a brand new year.

Ben raised his hand and said, “Oh! I know the new year! Something in New York City drops out of the sky!” He turned to his friend and muttered, “I think it’s a big ball or something ...”

“Well, boys and girls,” I said, “At the beginning of the new year in our country people celebrate in many different ways. People have parties and celebrate with families and friends. And then, many people make a special thing for the new year. Does anyone know what it’s called? It starts with New Year’s ...,” and I looked around hoping for someone to finish the sentence. They all looked at me like I had two new heads instead of two new knees.

“Has anyone heard of people making New Year’s ...?”

“Cookies!” one boy shouted.

“Ice sleds!” someone else shouted.

“I know!” said Mila. “New Year’s ice ’culptures!”

I thought for a minute. “Well, people sometimes make promises to themselves about what they want to do during this new year. They make a New Year’s ...”

“Wedding!” Chioma said with a smile.

“No, it’s a New Year’s revelation!” Emma said.

I smiled, relieved that we were getting closer to the center of the dartboard.

“Revolution!” another boy said. “People make New Year’s revolutions.”

I explained to the children that these resolutions were promises to themselves, and that many times people promised to become better at something, or perhaps they wanted to help others. Here are some of our kindergarten New Year’s resolutions:

Jigen wants to do more push-ups.

M. wants to play with her grandmother more.

Z. wants to go to the park every day.

Lyle wants to build stuff and help people do very difficult things.

Susie wants to eat more chicken. (I’m sure the cows are happy about that.)

Ben wants to play more football.

Garin wants to make more cookies. (I completely support that.)

We came up with many more wonderful resolutions, but Mila shared one that made me smile. “Ms. Marsh, my revolution is to just be with you.”

And that is the best kind of New Year’s revolutions I could ever ask for.