Tattle-taling, whining, bickering, name-calling, bloody noses, runny noses, crying, "accidents", hitting, pouting, complaining, yelling, scratching, pinching, biting...
These are just some of the things I deal with every day as a student teacher in the first grade. It's not really anything more than what any parent deals with every day, but still, one might wonder why anyone would willingly commit themselves to such a line of work.
But really, I'm making it sound worse than it is. I've come to enjoy working with first graders for several reasons.
One is that pretty much anything makes them laugh. Every day when I use the overhead and squirt it with water to rinse it off, they crack up. I mean, they absolutely double over with laughter. Sometimes I just squirt it randomly now because I find it highly entertaining. They also laugh at pretty much any joke. The other day the kids were lining up for recess and the boys were laughing over some pretty sad jokes. We had just been reading about butterfly's and so I stooped pretty low and asked, "Have you ever seen a butter fly?" The response was "Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha!" It was great.
They can be pretty funny themselves. One day I was asking my lower reading group what are some things that are not good for the environment, because we just read an article on protecting the environment. One serious little boy with glasses gave me the answer, "It would be bad to shoot plants." I kind of stared back at him for a second and asked "shoot plants?" making sure that I heard him correctly. And he answered back, "Ya, it would be bad to shoot plants with a gun and put holes in them." And I kind of just said something like, "um...well, I don't think too many people would do that, what are some other ideas?" I was willing myself as hard as I could to keep a straight face.
Another thing is that first graders think that any piece of information that they have never heard before is utterly amazing. A few weeks ago I was teaching them what a line of symmetry is. I drew a number of lines of symmetry on various shapes and it wasn't too big of a deal. But then I asked them, "Do you know that on some shapes there can actually be more than one line of symmetry?" I heard nineteen voices yell back at me, "Whoah!!!!"
It's also funny whenever I put a pretty easy question on the board. I hear lots of little voices yelling, "EASY! That's so EASY!" Over and over again.
And little first grade hugs are always a good thing. :0)