Conversations to Community

Originally posted on Miss P’s Ponderings on August 5, 2012

     Wow!  With our balanced school calendar, I’m about to finish my second week of my 17th year in third grade.  I usually joke that “someday” I’ll graduate to another grade, but for now…nothing beats the joy and excitement of third grade.

     As of today, I’ve had 9 days with my 44 students.  Before you gasp in disbelief, be assured I don’t have 44 at one time.  As of Monday, I have 22 in my homeroom, and as of Tuesday I have 24 in my language arts’ class.  Of those 24, 2 are from my homeroom class, which gives me the total of 44 students.

     The thought I keep pondering on these past days is how conversations lead to community.  You see, on August 3rd, I didn’t know anything about my homeroom students outside of their names and what the names mean.  Now, I’ve learned several things that have helped us gel into a community.  I look forward to our community getting tighter as our 180 schools days go by.

Our first theme of study has been feelings….

“Feelings….woh-oo-oh-oo…feelings…trying to forget my…feelings for you”

 [Now to sing that “right”, you must start with a low gravely voice and sing “you” in a high-irritating voice. As that’s the way I generally begin our chats about “feelings”.]
     As we’ve read our text and discussed feelings, it has prompted stories of when students have been angry…or stressed…or felt grief.  Through those stories, we learn about each other…we have conversations…we promote community.

     On Monday, I ate lunch in the classroom with “my girls”.  If you put ten girls in a classroom without boys, there is LOTS of chatter.  We had a fun lunch and shared stories as we ate our meal.  Then, on Tuesday, I did the same with “my boys”.  Now, our conversations were certainly different.  Tuesday’s conversations included a lot about food and wrestling, but I also learned about their families and hobbies.  In fact, the lunches were such big hits that the students asked if we could do that every day?   every week?  Ummm, we’ll have to wait and see.

     Isn’t it amazing?  The more you talk with someone, the more you know someone, the closer you become.  I know that’s not some new epiphany, but I thought a reminder might be good.

     The same has been true for my language class, but the process is a bit slower.  Why?  Well, I only spend two hours a day with them, and our time is so packed with language arts’ curriculum that the impromptu discussions that take place during the beginning and ending of the day and health instruction can’t take place as easily.  However, during our brief chats, I am getting to know them.  As I read their writing, I learn their likes and dislikes.  As they share their writer’s notebook, I understand how they think and what fills their mind.

     Yep, another fascinating tidbit isn’t it?  When we read something someone else writes, we gain understanding of who they are.

     So, when I take these two insights…I ponder further.  As usual, my ponderings lead me to the Cross.  I’m confronted by the reminder that the more we converse with God through prayer and meditation of His Word…the closer our relationship with Him becomes.  Furthermore, the more we read and study His Word, the more we understand who He is and what He teaches.

     Yes, I may be a teacher in my seventeenth year with third grade students, but I’m always a student…sitting at the feet of my Rabbi (teacher), Jesus Christ. Thanks for learning my lesson with me today…

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