Thursday, June 3, 2010
A Mixture of Sunscreen, Sweat, and Grime
As a teacher, I always dread it, but once we get going, I absolutely love it. The kids are *gasp* kids for at least half a day. They run, they cheer, they get competitive with one another, they bond together to achieve a common goal. Our phys ed teachers do a fabulous job setting up activities that appeal to just about everyone. Our grade level teachers staff the events; we've been doing this for so many years that we all pick the same event and pretty much have it down to a science. My event? The water relay. Basically, you must transfer the water in one container to another container using only a sponge. Seems simple enough, but seventh graders aren't the most agile creatures. They tend to fall when rushing. Add water the mix . . . and they fall a lot. At the beginning of the event, the water is clear, pristine, full of vibrancy. By the end, it is muddy, almost chunky, bits of grass floating on the top. I'm not sure which bucket of water I prefer . . . the one with promise or the one with life. In many ways, the relay reminds me of my year with the kids I will soon pass on to another grade. They come to me as clean slates - they don't know me and I don't know them. They leave taking on so many of my phrases, gestures, and hopefully, skills. Next year, as 8th graders, some of these kids will pass me in the hall as if I were a perfect stranger, as if we never spent 180 days together learning vocabulary, writing techniques, and silly dances. Others will say hello or fist pump or beg to come back. Still others will never be seen again as they move on to other schools, towns, and in some cases, families.