Looking for a recent draft, I found this unpublished post written at the end of the 2018 school year. I’m not sure why I didn’t publish it at the time. Finding it brought back sweet memories. That’s reason enough to publish it now.
Thirty-four souls are members of room 32. They are a well-intended group that meets and often exceed expectations. Discussions have brought out insight and kindness.
As the days of this school year wind down, their growing selves barely fit inside this fourth-grade space.
I go out to meet them in their lines. They enjoy being little kids, but I notice signs of fifth grade in the air.
Today, emotions ran higher than usual.
She said. Her secrets. Tears.
He’s hogging it. It’s not fair. Tears.
Pressure mounts. Anger flairs.
What others think and say. Matters more than before.
Fights. Hurt happens.
But still, they squeal when they find out I’m reading the sequel to the Wild Robot. They are thrilled to start independent writing projects. Choice literacy options of poetry, blogging, new books, and art every week gives everyone reason to smile.
These are the waning days of fourth grade. They are bursting at the seams. Their learning is clear as is the loss of their younger selves, never to be seen quite as before.
The loss is felt by some of the sensitive souls in the classroom. The ones that see the nuanced thematic messages of books we read. The ones that read into what you say. The ones that push back when asked to do things that are clearly driven by adult expectations and ask, Why do we have to?
And my answers aren’t what I would like them to be. Because I know. Life is waiting for them. Just around the corner. And that is scary sometimes. Oh to stay in fourth grade.