Today was day one of testing for our 5th graders. We are stepping into this testing season slowly with just the science test. Two days, two sections and then they are off for spring break.
The first group showed up right on time this morning – 9:00 am. There at the end of the line helping them get settled is their long call reserve teachers. She looks up and we smile. She was a student in my room years ago. She was a fifth grader in my room and now she comes in with a class of fifth graders.
The class is a restless and the boys are pushing the limits as we try to find assigned seats and pass out login in tickets. I start pleasant enough but I am not going to let this group turn goofy. The test is to important. I quick change my tone, let them know there are rules to follow and I expect them to follow them. It does not take long before they all settle down, listen up and sit down to test.
We actively monitor the kids and they are great. I let this teacher know the kids did well and so did she. They are off to their next task.
Once her students are at specialist she returns to ask a question but also tells me she remembers that tone – the “I am being mean tone”. She tells me it took her right back to her 5th grade days, created that knot in her stomach. She was always a good and quiet kids and took rules very seriously. I know she hated when I got upset with the group.
I am surprised how those memories are so strong in her and I think back and wonder was I just to harsh back then. I didn’t think I was mean but I remember having a stern voice when I needed to. As I am worrying about this she turns to me and say
” I need to practice that voice. I don’t have it yet but I know it will come.”
All I can do is smile. Yes, as teachers we do have a voice that means business, one that is friendly and caring. Yes, she remember it and knows it means business but now she also understand why teachers use that voice.
I feel old but proud as I watch her become a great teacher.
As I think about her this evening I wonder how she explains those feeling to her husband tonight at dinner.