By Heidi Janit
Being a teacher of grade 1 girls, my days at work are filled with books and files and counting and reading. They are filled with spills and tears and joys and learning.
Everything they learn, I re-learn too. And I am not talking academics here. It is everything else in between. Things like patience and tolerance. Understanding and helpfulness. Creativity and imagination.
So, let’s look beyond the books and the pencils. Beyond the flip files and counting frames. And beyond the spelling tests and number bonds.
When a dandelion blows into the class, it is not just a dandelion, it is an opportunity to make a wish. Of course I knew this when I was younger, but life gets in the way of making wishes. I am blessed to re-learn this simple beauty. So, instead of getting annoyed when class is disrupted because the girls “ooh” and “aah” when a dandelion makes its way to us, we now all stop and make a wish. Along with giggles and smiles.
And when damp has caused floor boards to lift up, we see it is a balancing beam! Now, bless the school authorities – they are taking a while to have it fixed. But my grumbles have become joys. Who else has a balancing beam in their classroom? And girls who struggled to master balancing initially, are now beaming with confidence when they walk across the lifted boards. Our lifted floor boards became a lesson – waiting for your turn, encouraging friends to perservere and daily exercise.
Instead of getting angry when pupils lose pencils and rulers, or their moms forget to buy them new glue, I now marvel at the helpfulness and sharing that comes about. No-one ever gets unhappy anymore if their stationery box is not full, for they know their classmates will step in and let them borrow whatever they need. It warms my heart to hear the “you can use mine for today” and the “here, I have a spare one for you” because the girls have learnt the importance of helping others.
We have a lot of pigeons at school, and these birds often come into the classroom. It took me a long time to teach the girls not to scream and see the birds as a nuisance, but rather see them as visitors saying hello. Now, some of the girls leave a few crumbs on the floor – they think I don’t notice, but I don’t miss a thing