Despite the fact that I am a male elementary school teacher and not as “nurturing” as a woman teacher, there are tender moments in the classroom. Today there was a major league one.
As part of the class party activities, I had positioned balloons all over the walls. Each balloon had a note in it telling the kids to follow some odd, quirky instruction. For example, they had to walk backwards and talk backwards at the same time, chase an imaginary butterfly, or stand with their back against a wall and make doofy faces at each other. Every now and then, with no warning, I’d pop a balloon, read the instructions, and sit back and laugh. The parents quickly asked me to give them some notice, and they would get their camcorders ready for the fun.
One of the instructions was to act miserably sad and depressed, to whine and cry, because school was about to end and their rotten summer was about to begin. It was hilarious listening to all the fake whining. Then I noticed that Kara was crying. Real tears. I didn’t know what to think, but I didn’t want to draw attention to her, so I started the musical chairs going and forgot about it for awhile.
During lunch, I went to Kara and asked her why she was really crying. Kara looked at me, and quite seriously whispered, “Mr. R., I am really going to miss you.” Then she started to tear up again. I went to her, and we hugged.