Last week was Turkey week at school – we celebrated American Thanksgiving. The timing on Canadian Thanksgiving was too awkward back in October. So the week featured lots of hand turkeys and story telling.
I wrote a little story about Thanksgiving for my 3rd and 4th graders. It involves turkey, mashed potatoes and apple pie. When I was trying to get the kids to guess what “mashed potatoes” were I made (I thought) a mashing motion with my hand. One kid raises his hand and goes: “Stabbed potatoes!?” Also, they thought my potato picture showed rocks. (Me, to them: “You’d eat rocks for Thanksgiving??” Them: “Umm… yes!”)
I also talked to my fifth graders about their timetables. I was asking them their favourite day of the week, in terms of classes, and one kid answers, “Every no day.” Every no day? “No day. Every day is work.” He’s ten.
Anyway, sometimes the kids do get to have some fun. Like when their teacher breaks down slightly. In one uncontrollable third grade class at 5:00 pm*, realizing the activity I was trying to accomplish was just not going to happen that day, I taught the kids the Hokey Pokey. Which usefully teaches left, right, body parts AND in and out. Super educational. And I left with (most of) my sanity (somewhat) intact.
Here is a very nice picture that a tiny 8 year old with a devilish smile and a slight unibrow gave to me.
When I leave this school, one thing I’m going to miss in an unbearable kind of way is the affection of these kids. I am regularly accosted by hugging mobs. In a first grade class I bent down to talk to a kid with a question, and after he mumbled incoherently I pulled on my ear and said, “Speak up,” to which he responded with a kiss on the cheek. Okkk…
And speaking of affection, this week I ventured downstairs to hang with the babies of the school, the kindergarteners.
The difference between the four and five year olds is mindblowing. The five year olds are incredible. Such fun. Such smiles. They learn REALLY quickly. We played games and sang songs about Christmas. Today I was gifted a picture – DRAWN IN PEN (big deal for a five year old) – of snow. It is addressed to AƧLNI.
The kids walk in with huge smiles. A couple go, “Oh, you look so pretty” (Ah, ¡que guapa estás!)… Then as more people come in, the kids point: “Mira, que guapa está hoy.” (Look at how pretty she looks today).
One girl, hearing this, nods approvingly, says “Si, igual que mi madre.” (Yeah, like my mom.)
I have this afternoon off, and as I was leaving, the kids crowded me in the hallway – When are you coming back? When will we see you again?
January, I told them. It took them a while to remember what January means. “Ok. But don’t forget.”
*Let’s not get into the logic behind keeping young kids in school until 5:30 pm.