|My first school picture as a teacher. So young. So thin.|
I sat reading the book in a rocking chair, with my students huddled around me on the carpet area. I could tell they were completely taken by the story by the looks on their faces. "Yes," I thought to myself, "I have arrived." I turned the page for the exciting reveal, the part where I would read that the whole story was about Patricia Polacco herself!
As I got ready to share the part about her running into Mr. Falker and thanking him thirty years later, I looked into the audience of students who were now mine. A small lump began forming at the back of my throat. "Hold it together," I said in my mind. I continued, "thank you, Mr. Fal..." and then I lost it. Not a "single tear down my cheek," kind of lost it. But rather a, "heavy sobbing where your whole body weeps," sort while I finished what she said to him. If there was ever an awkward classroom moment, this was it. Complete silence. I didn't know what to do! No amount of training or education had prepared me for this. In fact, we were often encouraged not to display such emotion in front of our pupils, especially during the first week of school!
Zach, who sat right in front of me at my feet with his head down, stifled a nasal laugh. And then it happened. I don't know who started it, but I heard a single hand clap at the back of the classroom. And then another. And another. Before you knew it, the whole class had exploded into thunderclaps! It was as if I had just won the Academy Award for reading aloud. One of the children handed me a tissue, and we went on with our day.
Of course, it became the running joke the rest of the school year whenever we went to the carpet area for story time. "Grab the tissue box," someone would say, "she might cry."
|McKinley Elementary in Des Moines, Iowa, the first school I had the privilege of working at. |
Pictures are in black and white because they are from the school's yearbook. I didn't teach that long ago. ;)