"Mrs. M, why is this day so fast? All week is too fast." A's brown eyes searched mine, his brow furrowed. He went on, "It's better if we go slow. All the days this week--too fast."
I was startled. Did he mean that the pace of first grade was too much? I know that we move along at a pretty good clip sometimes and that there is an awful lot that we are supposed to get in, but...too fast? I nodded and patted his back. "Tell me more." (by the way, this little phrase is one of the most powerful ones I know--for working with kids or adults!)
What he told me surprised me. He reminded me that there was no school Monday, then Tuesday morning Miss F. was there (she's the sub who comes and does science things while my grade level meets for reflection/planning once a month). "There isn't a lot of time in this week," he explained, quite seriously. "We need more time to do our stuff and now it's the weekend days."
I smiled and gave him a hug. "Don't worry," I said, "there will be plenty of time next week." He smiled, but shook his head and commented, "it's still too fast for the days on this week."
As he walked away it occurred to me that there was something pretty cool to consider here. A. is one of my kids who struggles...with just about everything at school. At the start of the year, he couldn't wait for the end of the day, for the days off, for anything other than school. And now? Now he's bothered by the fact that the school week was too short and the weekend was already here. Cool, right?
When we can create the kind of classroom communities and relationships that manage to convince kids like A. that school is not only worth it, but a good place to spend time and effort, we've done a lot. Not only that, but in doing this, we also impact achievement. A.'s not only been making good progress--he's catching up to where he should be this time of year. It's all woven together--increase good feelings and relationships at school and achievement goes up; achievement goes up and good feelings and relationships at school improve.
Lester Laminak and Reba Wadworth tell us, “Through our voices, students may come to believe that there is something between the covers of a book that is worth the effort.” I think the same thing is true of school and learning in general. If we can be intentional in forming relationships and creating environments that help kids come to believe that our classrooms are where they want to spend time, they come to believe that learning is worth the effort.
So tomorrow morning, I'll be waiting for A. at our classroom door. I know that I'll be greeted with a smile and a hug before he marches into the room and starts his day. Hopefully this week won't be too fast.