Movin’ On Up to Fourth Grade

Just a quick update, with more to come later tonight….

After a week’s hiatus, I started back at elementary school yesterday. It was strange coming back into a child’s world after spending last week completely among grown-ups. It was even stranger to think that many adults live a completely child-free life, rarely having occasion to interact with kids unless they have little ones at home. I find that the kids keep me on my toes, since I’m never sure what they’ll say next, and that I have to raise my energy level to meet theirs. The third graders welcomed me with hugs, personal updates, and — of course — requests for more scary stories. I told them that I was fresh out of stories, and I was glad to find that they still wanted to hang out with me when I wasn’t performing for them.

Before officially starting fourth grade, I decided to spend a couple of days in another third grade classroom. (I know you’re thinking that this is just a cover-up for being held back a grade.) The teacher, Tim, is probably the most innovative educator I’ve ever encountered in public schools, and I enjoyed every minute of his classes. I came away wanting to share his methods far and wide, and I hope to start posting about them tonight.

Today I started fourth grade in the classroom of Paula Aja, who was teaching the same age group back when I was in school. None of my original elementary teachers still works full time, but luck had it that Eda Lucas, my own fourth grade teacher, subbed for Mrs. Aja today. (I still can’t call these women anything but Mrs. Aja and Mrs. Lucas, a common experience that’s worthy of its own post.) Hearing Mrs. Lucas give instructions in the same voice she used 19 years ago put me right back in fourth grade. I did silent reading, did P.E., and took a timed multiplication test, and generated five pages of notes in the process.

I’m planning to spend the rest of the week in fourth grade, ideally popping back into Tim’s third grade class as I’m able, and then move on to fifth grade next week. I have a week off, and then I’ll start middle school. Tomorrow I’m going to a staff meeting at the middle school, where I’ll see my math teacher from seventh and eighth grades, as well as a middle school classmate of mine who now teaches P.E. at the school. The meeting will be happening in the school library, where I participated in several gut-wrenching spelling bees, so the afternoon is sure to trip me out.

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