Slice of Life

March 19, 2012

resilience: the physical property of a material that can return to its original shape or position after deformation that does not exceed its elastic… spring back! 

My students amaze me every day as they walk through the door to the classroom.  They are not all ready to work but most of the time they get there by the time Morning Circle begins.   They sit down, chat, do quick math, tell me what book they are reading or have not finished reading but are working on.  ( They know they have to be working on a book.)

Our day begins and I blissfully share a fact of the day.  Spring starts tomorrow, the Decorah Eagles have not hatched their eggs yet, etc.     We read, we write, do math, go off to centers and we all seem to normal.   But as the day goes on and I find minutes here and there to speak with my students I realize they are holding so much in.  They are that physical property that has been stretched or deformed during the weekend and on Monday they walk in the door and spring back to the fourth grade student striving to learn.

Each week there is another reminder that my students live a very different life than the middle class students on the other side of town.   Today A. was late for school and being Monday my assumption was he over slept and Mom won’t bring him in.  (He often misses Mondays) but as I left the class at music I see A with his mother in the office.  As I go over to say hello and express how happy I am he made it to school I realize their world had done a flip flop on the weekend.

There had been a massive electrical fire in their apartment building and they lost everything early Sunday morning.  Red Cross had stepped in to provide food and housing but that will be short lived.  There they stood – one day after losing everything but she had him at school.  There he was having watched his home burn, his belonging gone having stretched as far as one can with out breaking but he was walking down the hall to music and beginning his day.  He was reading, doing math and writing.

I stood amazed and humbled but their resilience. I do know they are strong and they spring back  and walk in the classroom each day returning to the 4th grader who shares with me the book they are trying to read.

Blessed are the children!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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