The students are definitely starting to warm up to me. Which is good in some ways: I get random hugs, and then there's one little girl who will tap my shoulder during circle time and say "I love you, Ms. F!" My little heart melts. And I remember how much I loved my teachers: Mrs. Alexander, Ms. Zanger, Mrs. Erickson, Ms. Burgess, Mrs. Stafford, and a handful of others. I hope some student looks back and makes a list like that and includes me in it.
The bad part of the comfort level: they are MORE THAN comfortable breaking rules now. And, they share allllll kinds of information. On Friday I learned that one of my students parents had a fight because the father no longer wants to be around. I know all about who is "locked up" in one of the other kid's family. Its surprising and sad what little eyes and ears pick up.
And I have a new favorite moment in class. There is one little boy that is just crazy about one of the little girls in class. The two of them usually get their clips moved from green to yellow for giggling to each other in the back of the circle instead of listening to the read aloud. And they hold hands or link arms all the time. They've even told their parents about each other, their parents say. My instructional aide and I usually try to hide the laughter. Then, on Friday, the little boy was at the painting station. He ran over to me after a few minutes and said, wide-eyed, that he had painted the little girl. I walk over, and sure enough he's done a pretty amazing job: a circle for her head with two lines coming down (for the braids she wears most days) and two other lines under the circle for legs. Simple. Modern. Adorable. I called the little girl over, and a couple other students followed. She just grinned and the rest of the students were all in an uproar about how great this work of art was. It was a 4-year-old artist reception at a gallery opening. And, the best part, another little boy (who is like a wise old man in a preschooler's body, has the most detailed stories that spill out in a stutter, and wants to become an "animal doctor" even though he's allergic to dogs and cats) marches over, appraises the work and says, "That, that, that's great! I am proud. I am proud of you!" I just smiled through the whole event.
I forgot to mention we had our first visitors last week. John and Michael came out and Jaren and I used it as an excuse to actually see parts of the amazing city we are living in. The star-spangled banner was written down the block from where I live. And I've picked out at least a half dozen neighborhoods I eventually want to move into. One for my mid-20s, one for when I marry my stylish husband and we walk the dog at federal hill and go to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings, one for when I settle down and have a half-dozen babies (Aristotle, Sophocles, Ulysses, Zander, Avalon, Elizabeth). Oh yeah, and we'll be visiting Annapolis on a regular basis. That's where one of my favorite moments of the weekend went down: we were standing in the square in front of the state house at the Thurgood Marshall memorial. Jaren and Michael were hanging on the coattails of Marshall (how apropos), while Sascha held up his iPhone crooning Etta James' "At Last" and John and I slow danced. Sascha also danced/bopped next to us. I was sort of (really) cranky that night, but I loved it. I miss those boys. All that's left now are three dozen roses on my windowsill that I definitely don't deserve after the tantrum/circus I pulled Saturday night. I miss my boys.