I like to think that I do a pretty good of listening to my students, and giving them opportunities to share what is on their minds/hearts. With that being said, I am also aware that I am often in a hurry to get things done. Some kids do a great job of making their voices heard. They aren’t afraid to share what is on their mind, and if they have something to say, they say it.
Not every kid is like that. Some kids could go most of the year without sharing much of anything. Finding ways to allow them to open up their hearts is something that I think we all strive to be better at. I’m working on this, but I know that I am in no way where I need to be.
This year, my principal has scheduled two masks breaks for each class. In the morning we have 20 minutes, and in the afternoon we have 15 minutes. During this time, we go outside and hang out. It is magical. The kids love having 3 recesses, and the break from wearing a mask is welcomed by just about everyone.
During our morning mask break, I walk around the track that circles our playground. The track is around a fifth of a mile. Sometimes I walk alone, but most of the time, a kid, or two or three walk with me. The crazy thing is, the kids that walk with me, are the kids that are often extremely quite in class. Not on the track. They talk my ear off. Yesterday, a kid talked to me the entire 20 minutes about this epic fantasy world he is working on creating. I did my best to listen and ask him questions about this wild project he is working on. The other day, another kid told me about their menagerie of pets they have at home. I learned all about how they got each pet, how they came up with names, and where the pets ranked from best to worst.
I’m think that some of the conversation that I have on my walks would have happened during a normal school year, but there is no way that I would know these kids as well as I do this year. I’m thankful for this time, and how it is helping me be a better teacher.