I almost know all of their names. All 118 of them. Not because I have some magical brain penchant for memorizing names and faces. Not because they all wear name tags. No. Every night I have pored over their faces, trying to remember each one, trying to figure out who they are. Because I still teach strangers. Strangers that I am trying to establish a community with, strangers I am trying to get to trust me.
So this week has been about them. About why they love or hate reading. About how they see themselves. About how they react to picture book upon picture book as we try to weave a common thread. And it seems to be working. Slowly. The stories are gently coming, the nervous laughter disappearing. The hand raised a little faster. We have a long way to go but ever so slowly the seeds have been planted, the foundation is being laid.
So today I will do my name competition; do I really know all of their names after just 3 days? I will read another picture book as I rock in my chair and they share the tattered bean bags. I will thank them for the few days we have spent together and wish them a happy long weekend. I will hope for a smile, a high five, and a farewell, knowing that hopefully some day I will get to take these things for granted. I will hope for a hallway greeting, a quick goodbye before the bus comes. Little things that show the relationship we have built. Those things that I miss so much.
I don’t know my students. Not yet. But it will happen. Even if it feels like they will never be our kids. They will. They just don’t know it yet.
If you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. The 2nd edition and actual book-book (not just e-book!) comes out September 22nd from Routledge, but rumor has it that it is out on Kindle already!