A last-minute call landed me as a classroom aide with a group of fourth-graders at one of the schools I hadn't yet been to.
These kids refreshed my brainspace. They were earnest, sweet, and as attentive as possible for kids ages 9 to 11.
Going to a new school makes me a little nervous, but as soon as I walked into the office, they knew who I was. My contact at the district had filled them in on me; what pleases me about this is that apparently I've made enough of an impression that I'm remembered.
I was taken upstairs to meet the class teacher, a kind man who reminded me of Carl Fredricksen of Pixar's "Up." Mr. L had actually retired three years ago after 28 years as a teacher; a maternity leave gave him the chance to take over this classroom in the spring semester.
After we got to know each other a bit, the time to start was upon us and the children trickled in. They were a diverse mix, and friendly. Sometimes the kids are stand-offish, but most of these you could exchange greetings and a smile with.
I was there mostly to help with one young man who has some focus issues, but other than a couple of instances, he had a productive day. One of the great things about a situation such as I experienced today is that you get the full array of courses. I assisted with writing, reading, math, science and history.
It was so much fun.
By lunch, I'd gotten invitations from a couple of the students to eat with them. I couldn't really do that, because I needed to be a monitor during the lunch. But it was a great honor to feel welcomed like that.
That's one of the great things about kids... they can be so trusting.
Fortunately some of the topics that we worked on today fit nicely with some of my strong points: writing and history in particular. I was able to jump in and augment their learning with some perspectives that were at least different from what they may have experienced before.
A good day...