1) Hearing my class groan in unison when I pick up the bookmark during read aloud and then beg: “One more page, please!”
2) The bucakaroo who stops by my desk at dismissal each day, waits until he has my attention, makes eye contact and says: “Thanks for today.” And sincerely means it.
3) During scary or intense parts of read aloud, the kiddos unconsciously snuggle closer to their turn & talk partner in a way that is all too innocent and adorable.
4) 26 sixth graders wearing tiaras to support a classmate who’s very ill
5) Returning to the classroom after walking the kiddos to gym and discovering that the straggler in line was leaving a surprise note on my desk telling me why I’m her “favorite teacher ever.”
6) E-mails & visits from the first class of Schmidties who are now in 10th grade. E-mails and visits from last year’s Schmidties every time they read a book they love. E-mail and visits from any former- Schmidty
7) Class meetings.
8) When they get so comfortable they sing – loudly – while working. Even if we don’t have music playing.
9) Monday mornings when they run down the hallway to share something from their Writer’s Notebooks (or holler from the stairwells: “Mrs. Schmidt, wait ‘til you see this…”)
10) When the clock hits 3:00 PM, I tell them it’s time to pack up & they startle and respond, “Already? Seriously?”
I’ll have to wait until September 1st to start drafting a new list – with a new crop of kiddos. I met them today; they seem sweet, small, and nervous – soon enough they’ll be singing.
Tonight I graduated the current crop – mostly dry-eyed and smile-faced. There may be a few tears between now and tomorrow night, but the pull of summer-excitement is fairly irresistible.
Days of hammocks, reading, writing, running, coffee-shopping & procrastinated-projects will keep me twirly.
And all too soon it will be Septemeber 1st – 5 AM wake ups, and a new group of kiddos to love.
But first: picnics, ‘ritas, tennis, fireflies, s’mores, vacations, drive-ins, ice cream & kayaking…
And one last hug from each kiddo at dismissal tomorrow.