Recently, an educational assistant that worked with a student in my classroom for a period decided to pursue a different route and is no longer working at my school. So, there have been substitute assistants for the last couple of weeks. While sometimes transitions like this can be challenging, it has also been interesting meeting new faces and having new guests interact in the classroom.
Today, an educational assistant that I’ve never seen before came into the room. She circulated around. We smiled at each other, but didn’t have much to say.
During this particular class today, I was a bit frustrated. Over half of this class period didn’t have their work done for our peer conference today. Some of the kids were chatting, although their work wasn’t complete. Another new student has never written an essay, so I was spending a majority of my time working one-on-one with him. On top of all of that, I’m a bit under the weather with a cold.
We’ve all had these overwhelming class periods now and then. When we force a smile and calm tone because we understand that many of our kids didn’t go home to the most supportive houses last night. And because we want to encourage them to be better in a loving way.
What struck me, though, were the two sentences that the educational assistant said to me on her way out the door: “I’ve never seen a classroom or a teacher like this. You can see that you really love teaching, and it feels like a big family.”
Where I sometimes get bogged down with the chaos and even at times would admit dysfunction, I felt so warm and fuzzy to hear someone who simply spent 30 minutes in my classroom say that it felt like a family. Sure, sometimes we don’t all get along. Sometimes we all need different things. Sometimes, we let each other down. But, we’re all still there for each other, and in a way, that’s what truly makes a family a family.
As she finished telling me that, the kids all starting singing me happy birthday–and, in typical family fashion–all started at different times and in different keys!