The students looked a little too big. Too tall, too round, too "we're over this before it's even started". Not exactly what I was expecting from my newly-minted 5th graders.
My throat felt dry, a little too sticky to comfortably smile, but I tried anyways.
"Good morning, class!" I said, voice amp-up with fake happiness. "How're you?"
They grumbled their good morning.
"Welcome to 5th grade English!"
They goggled. Gasped. And then laughed. In a mish-mash of Konglish, they told me they were the 6th grade.
I goggled right back. "What are you doing here?"
They got up, left, and scurried to the appropriate classroom.
HA! What a start to the year. After the 6th graders slumped out, still rippling with laughter, I felt a tingle of dread imagining what the 5th grade would be like.
The beginning of the year is rough on me. The kids go away for vacation and come back transformed into larger, rougher, ruder versions of the kids I used to know and love. And while I can intellectually accept the change, it kind of breaks my soul a little bit, knowing what's coming down the tubes. At least, that's how it is with the 6th grade. But before I could sigh myself into misery, the 5th grade arrived.
One look at their little faces was enough to light up my life.
I've had these kids since the 3rd grade. I've watched them grow. We've learned each other, and just love them to pieces. They are so happy to see me, and I am so, so very happy to see them.
There is no point to this story, really. Just wanted to say that there is something about being an elementary school English teacher, and watching kids grow. Getting to know them, watching them learn you. I feel responsible to do my best for them, best they always give me their best. They make the rest of the shenanigans of my job slip to the side, forgotten.