I was born and raised in the PNW. Schools start in beginning of September and release students into the wild of summer in the end of June. It’s been so shocking for me to see how many of you all are already packing up your classrooms because school is out! YOU GUYS MADE IT! What is everyone doing this summer? Any other crazies like me and teaching SUMMER SCHOOL? WHERE YOU GUYS AT?
I haven’t been counting down until the last day of school for a couple reasons. 1) There are so many changes that are happening next year, it’s starting to give me anxiety. 2) My fifth graders mean the entire world to me… when they leave for middle school, 9 pieces of my heart are moving to a new school. 3) The time I have been given to help them see the tiny humans I see is running out.
I guess I shouldn’t say it is running out because I know I will be in close contact with all of them next year, but our time together is going to change. It’s going to change from being in the same building to being on the same e-mail server.
Throughout this school year, i’ve been participating in an on-line professional development opportunity with Trauma-informed Positive Behavior Interventions. I’m only about 50% finished but have learned so much in such a short amount of time. One of my biggest takeaways has turned into my goal for the rest of the school year: fun for forgetting.
School should be so fun that kids forget about all the hurt and pain they feel due to adverse experiences and uncontrollable circumstances. You know, all those things in our students lives that we can’t control outside of school. What we can control is learning experiences that take their minds away from the struggle and engaged fully in learning.
This realization came on Friday when I was sitting behind my desk with crumbled pieces of scratch paper, waiting for my amazing para-educator to walk in the room. My para and I had staged a fake prank, in which she got upset, roared like an animal, and announced she was going to turn into a beast… and that we better be prepared. I had six of the nine students on my caseload, all heavily impacted by past and current trauma. They thought her acting was hilarious and as my classroom filled with laughter, they realized they needed to act quick.
I don’t know how it happened, but it turned into us using our imaginations, playing, and pretending that when our Ms. V came back, she was going to resemble Godzilla. They all started having these imaginative conversations about what was going to happen, what we should do, and creating a backstory on this beast. We created paper snowballs, hid, and awaited Ms. V to enter.
Ms. V entered and an epic snowball fight against the beast broke out. I wish everyone knew my students and those of you that do, I think you would agree with me when I said they are a crew of unlikely friendships… and unlikely imaginative play.
Life has taught them to guard themselves through toughness and defiance… anger and fear… I haven’t lived a day in their shoes but I can imagine these shields of challenge behavior is what keeps them safe while living a life unlike most kids their age.
As a survivor of childhood-trauma, I know that adverse childhood experiences make you grow up, way faster than you should. When I was sitting there, listening to them play, I realized they were playing instead of trying to survive the day at school or function outside of it. Just playing. So wrap up in their imagination that they couldn’t think of anything else. I could see they had forgotten about all the pain and fear they walked into the building with that morning. They were just ten year old kids playing.
This experience turned into a creative writing prompt where they spent the last hour of the day writing about what happened next in the tale of V the Beast. My para and I were reflecting and she said, “It was the happiest I’ve ever seen _____.” She’s worked at my school 19 years and has seen these kids grow. They all gave us hugs at the end of the day and talked about what could happen next week on the way out.
I have 18 more days to try and figure out how I can help them love school, love learning, and love themselves. That is my objective for each day until schools out. Everyday I’m going to be sharing my growth towards reaching my goal using the hashtag #eachdaycounts — I don’t know how to do this, but i’m determined and weird enough to figure it out 🙂 If you have any ideas, let me know! In the meantime… My outfit details from this week are below!
P.S–> click this to learn more information about the trauma-informed practice course I’ve been taking!
Shirt: size x-small (I have it in two colors… it’s the best!)
Dress: size small
Shoes: size 7.5
Shoes: size 8 (I sized up) from H&M
Dress: x-small from Old Navy
Shoes: 7.5 from Old Navy
I found these AMAZING overalls at Marshall’s for $16.99… I’m wearing an x-small! If you are out and about this weekend, go to Marshalls to try to find these gems!
Shoes: size 7.5
Shirt: size x-small