On Thursdays, I get to spend an hour in R's classroom, helping the kids with various math activities and games.
I love volunteering because I get to spend more time with R and see how he behaves and participates in school. I know it's not a true picture due to the fact that I'm there, and my presence will always change how he behaves at least slightly, but it's still interesting to see him interacting with his classmates and teachers.
I also love this time because I get to know (and appreciate!) all the kids. It makes me feel more at home within R's school community. I feel connected to his world outside our home. And, the kids are really smart and talented and funny and kind. Each one of them has a special place in my heart.
But, most of all, volunteering in the classroom reminds me how hard R's teachers work, how patient they are, how much they truly love teaching. It is no easy feat to get 20 six- and seven-year-olds to sit in a circle and listen to a story or to organize them into groups and get them rotating between math stations (not to mention herding them all to lunch or the library or recess). Even when they are all at their own seats working on writing projects quietly, chaos can quickly ensue.
Somehow, despite constant interruptions and distractions, R's teachers manage to get their knowledge across. I am constantly amazed at how much R has learned in his short time in elementary school. And, it's not just reading, writing, math, social studies, art, music, and science. R's school and teachers spend a lot of time teaching the children how to be kind to one another, how to give compliments, how to be inclusive, how to respect privacy, how to be polite.
On top of all that, R's teachers take a lot of time to communicate with us parents - through email, written notes, meetings, and impromptu conversations before and after school.
I know that teachers do so much more than what I've mentioned here. I can't do justice to the work and dedication and time they put into their jobs. But I can be thankful for all of it.
Is there a teacher that you're thankful for today?