During my first year as a third-grade teacher the reading program called for a vocabulary lesson each Monday morning. In the days that followed, it was my job to motivate the kids to use those words in order to add them to their repertoire.
Sometimes, this involved the use of a marble jar that I used as part of my discipline program. The class would earn marbles for various things such as unsolicited compliments from other adults in the building, especially good effort and/or attitude, etc. The kids also knew that if they came up with inventive ways to use new vocabulary that they could earn bonus marbles. When the marble jar was filled they would receive a class-wide celebration.
Just before lunch on a November morning I stopped to tell the kids how much I adored my job. How much I adored being with them. I told them how blessed I was to be a teacher. However, there was one thing I did not like about teaching and that was lunch duty. I warned them that I had my first lunch duty that afternoon and that I expected them to be their usual wonderful selves. Just because I adored them, didn’t mean that they could get away with anything that other classes couldn’t.
What I didn’t tell them was that I was rather nervous. I was a first year teacher (22 years old) who had never done lunch duty before and it was the expectation of my school that while the 240 children cleared their trays there would be absolute silence. I think I was a pretty good disciplinarian but, I must admit, the number of kids worried me. So, when I introduced myself at the beginning of the lunch period, I laid out the rules and consequences so that the 220 kids who did not know me would know I meant business. Yes, I admit to trying to appear scary. But, when I was finished with my little speech, I turned to my class with my palms up and shrugged my shoulders a little bit as if to ask them, So what did you think? I expected a quiet thumbs up. What I got was far different.
My 22 students stood with rousing applause, yelling, “ENCORE! ENCORE!” It had been one of our vocabulary words that morning and they had, indeed, found a way to use it creatively.
I started to laugh but quickly realized that the other 220 kids were watching, so in an inexperienced-teacher-frenzy, ran to the end of their table and said, “Oh my gosh! You guys are adorable. I love you. But you have to be quiet. I mean you have to. Please sit down. Please be quiet. Pleeease sit down.”
As luck would have it, my principal strolled into the cafeteria at that moment. He paused about 8 feet inside of the door and just stood and watched me with my kids. I kind of thought I was doomed (This is the same principal from my job interview post). Much to my surprise he just walked out, never mentioning it.
To this day, I refer to this as one of my, “Norman Rockwell teaching moments” for I can see the painting clearly in my mind of a bunch of rowdy third-graders and a nervous, brand-new teacher. To this day, every time I hear the word, “encore” I think of those proud faces standing among the other silent, serious ones and hope they remember it, too. And just in case you’re wondering I did indeed give them a bonus marble.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all of you teachers out there. It is my deep, down-to-the-tips-of-my-toes wish that none of you are doing lunch duty this week.
In the spirit of a repeat performance, I am giving away:
- A signed copy of my first book, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (first book)
- A signed copy of my second book, FISH IN A TREE (second book)
- A set of bookmarks (30)
- Be someone’s hero/GOT GRIT? bracelets (30)
Please enter by leaving a comment below with your contact info (twitter handle or e-mail) and/or tweet/retweet with the hashtag #LMHfun . This will help me find your entry. 🙂
Winner will be chosen on Monday, May 11th. Please be able to provide a school mailing address, your grade level, and the number of students that you have.
FYI, here is Monday’s giveaway: https://lyndamullalyhunt.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/happy-teacher-appreciation-c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-i-o-n-day-1/
FYI here is Tuesday’s BIG giveaway: https://lyndamullalyhunt.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/teacher-appreciation-c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-i-o-n-2-a-thank-you-letter-albeit-late/
FYI here is Wednesday’s giveaway: