Slice of Life is sponsored on Tuesdays by Two Writing Teachers.
The relief was immediate. Cool air hit my skin and my body relaxed. I moved into the kitchen and sat down in one of the armchairs by the window.
Did I say that out loud? The start of the school year always seems to bring the hottest temperatures of the summer, and today was no exception. I pulled my laptop on my lap and looked up the weather. How long would we have to endure this? Glancing at the site I saw that the current heat index was 113 degrees and we were still under a heat advisory until 7pm Tuesday night. Terrific. Teaching in a building built in 1894 has its perks – character, tall ceilings, large rooms. Air conditioning is not one of them.
I began to look for my responses in Google Drive from a survey I had my students do at school that day. It had frustrated me, was it worth it? I wanted to get to know them as fast as possible. I wanted to get to know each child, not just the ones that came up and talked to me frequently. But the survey had taken so much longer than I anticipated – netbooks that are slow, accounts that don’t want to be logged into, students who haven’t typed in three months. What I had naively thought would take fifteen minutes took seventy, almost our entire period. One glance at the results made me glad I had taken the time.
The start of the year never goes fast enough for me. I want to jump ahead to mini-lessons that are truly mini; classrooms that have a strong community; small group discussions; students who quietly move between reading, tweeting an author, blogging a reflection, and writing. I so want to be there, but I have to remember all of the work it takes to get there. Part of that work, a huge part, is the relationships I build with the students and the community I help to create. It takes time. And while it frustrates me because I feel that I never have enough of that elusive time, I know it will be worthwhile in the end.
So as I pulled my laptop onto my lap, enjoyed the cool air and a glass of ice cold water, I visibly relaxed as I read their answers. Some made me smile, some made me cry, several made me laugh out loud. Yes, we’re on the right track. We’re just setting out and I cannot wait to see where this year takes us.