Monday, May 16, 2016

What I'll Miss

My fabulous homeroom
I've been doing a pretty good job looking forward, listing everything I cannot wait for regarding my move to middle school. At the top of the list, behind teaching the new age group, would be the air conditioning and lack of 35+ stairs to climb each day. But, if I'm being honest, the one thing I will miss is my homeroom. See, I'll still have a homeroom there, but I don't think it's the same. In my building I'm with my homeroom just a bit more than all my other classes. I take them to specials, have an extra 30-60 minutes per day with them, depending on the schedule. And by this point of the year we know each other well. Too well at times. It's a bit like being snowed in with your family for a week. We need time apart, but we know each other better than anyone else.

My homeroom kids know me, they get me. Three girls immediately gasped when they saw that my current read (for myself) is Blood of Olympus. They know I've put off reading it for two years because I'm terrified I won't like the ending. They've told me - my former student Hayden has told me - that I just need to read it already. But still, I've waited. Today I decided it was time to dive in. The girls patted me on the back. One said she was proud of me for facing my fears (I had to laugh at that comment). 

The end of the day found us with 30 minutes of extra time, so we read. The kids were in various prone positions around the room, absorbed in their books. I fell into mine, the room melting away. As I read, I grew nervous. One of the main characters, Jason, was in a rough fight. And then, it happened. He was stabbed, dying. I closed the book and looked up. Payton looked at me from across the room, considered my expression, and said, "Just read." 

"But, Jason... his guts have just been stabbed. I can't..." I tried to explain.

Payton grinned, "Read it. It will all be ok." Lydia, Zoe, and Estella looked up and me and laughed. They tried reassurance, but I was having none of it.

I told them if my favorite characters are killed off in this one I'm never forgiving them. I told them I thought I should just stop. Some boys looked up from their books and gave me some looks that indicated I might have gone from their quirky teacher to downright nuts. Many of them smiled and whispered, "Read it." So I plopped back down at my table and began again. 

We're at the finish line, nine days left of school. The kids are squirrelly, they're fighting, making bad choices. I think I used the word "crap" at one point today. I really wanted to use the term "asshats", but I refrained. And yet, there is no where I'd rather be, no one I'd rather spend time with. Tomorrow I'm heading back and will share where I've reached in the book tonight. They know me, I know them. While I anticipate loving middle school and middle schoolers, the experience with a homeroom in elementary school is unique. This is what I'll miss.