Good Life

Notes From a Teacher: Spring has sprung before teacher is ready

Spring has been a long time coming.

We here at school (and those of you at home) have endured numerous two-hour delays, sub-zero temperatures, sudden school cancellations, early dismissals, 5,000 days with no outdoor recess and a billion days of somewhat cranky and cabin-fevered children. At this point we’re not sure how many days we’ve been in school and exactly how many more we have to go. We’re not even sure we still know how to count.

Yep, spring has been a long time coming.

Typically spring break comes just in the nick of time for everyone involved. The children have usually been working hard all winter, making great strides in their academic learning and their social graces. They are usually so tired of the grueling eight-hour days and five-day weeks that they are practically dragging themselves to school. Not this year.

This year we’ve been juggling the schedules of our three- or four-day weeks to make the best use of the valuable teaching minutes that we manage to squeeze out of each day. We feel a bit like estranged relatives who are so very happy to see our “children” each day and we have tried so hard to make the most of it.

And now, just when we thought she would never come, spring has sprung. This particular season has taken its sweet, sweet time.

After our “spring” break, many of the teachers have to remind the children about the rules we follow while at school. We were going over line rules last week, and I asked for appropriate line behavior. The kids offered many suggestions about what to do with their hands while in line. (I was hoping for a suggestion that did not include hitting, touching or pinching the person besides them.) One boy shouted, “You could keep your hands in your pockets!”

“That’s right!” I said enthusiastically.

Just then he leaned back and whispered to his friend, “I am touching my privates right now.”

I looked at him. “Um, uh, let’s keep our hands out of our pockets this time, okay?”

“What? I have a hole in my pocket. It’s easy that way.”

We went over the rules again, this time stressing the no-hands-in-the-pocket rule, and walked to down the hall for spring pictures. While we were standing in line getting ready, I saw Jack chewing. We had enjoyed snack over an hour ago, and I couldn’t imagine what he was munching on.

“Jack, are you eating something?” I asked. He nodded. “What is it?”

“It’s just leftovers ... from snack.” Oh great.

After the “walking in the hall” rule review and the picture taking/don’t chew leftover popcorn activity, we ended the first week Monday back with an animated discussion about spring. I asked all the children what they knew about March. I was hoping they would remember our morning conversation about how March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb ... and they were close.

“Boys and girls, remember what the month of March does? It comes in like a lion and….”

“Eats everybody!” shouted Ben.

“Goes out like a lamp!” added Paige.

“No, March comes in like a lion and catches a fox!” said Z.

“I know, I know,” said Garin, “It goes out like a sheep!”

Then I realized that amidst all this chaos, someone was listening.

Sure spring seemed like a long time coming, but now that it’s here I’m shocked that I’m a bit more sad than happy. When I look at these beautiful children and listen to their animated discussions I realize that this year has flown by on a sheet of ice. I know that when the last day of school comes I will wish that spring hadn’t come quite so fast.