Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wearing a different hat

Today I am not wearing my marriage commissioner hat, not my wife hat, not even my best MOM ever  hat. Today I am wearing my first grade volunteer hat.  Yes, school started last week.  Ms. H likes a little time alone with the children before she has volunteers come in.

Today she introduced me to the class, and they all told me their names.  I will never remember all the names.  Well maybe around March I will.  We have more children this year, 26 students.  I told Ms. H to think about when I taught in the 60's and 70's, if we had under 30 kids we felt lucky.  My first year teaching I had 38 first graders.  That was probably a living hell.  But as a new teacher, I was too green to know.  Anyway, Ms. H has had classes of 30, so she just has to adjust her methods to handle more children.

There are problems with that many children.  When they sit on the rug, they don't all fit.  We have more desks, so there is less room to walk around and help children.  I kept sliding chairs under desks so I could get through the "aisles".  Checking that the children are doing the work correctly as we walk around takes longer. This is a chatty bunch, so the noise level is louder.  Even lining up for lunch takes longer.  It will smooth out shortly, but right now Ms. H has her hands full.

What did I do all morning?  I put together the checked work packets to go home, that means all work is alphabetized and stapled together.  I glued homework information on lunch bags, I worked one on one with many of the students, I handed out snacks, and I read them a story.  The worse part of helping first graders is their low desks.  My back is killing me.  I bend over so much of the time.  When there is a real problem I pull a LOW chair over and sit with the child.  Sitting helps with the back pain, but the low chair transfers pain to the knees.  Oh well, it is only one day a week.  I always recover by the next Tuesday.

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