There was much to love about building a classroom community filled with mostly same-aged students and designing plans for daylong learning across all subject areas. Now, there is much to love about sitting side-by-side with one or two students at a time from across the grade levels and getting to know each as readers, writers, and fascinating human beings. Here are some random snippets from the first few weeks on the job:

3rd grader: “You know why I like science? It never ends.”

4th grader: “I like the Harry Potter books, but I kind of have a problem with J.K. Rowling’s stand on trans people. My cousin is trans.”

3rd grader: “The other reading teacher gave us lollipops if we were good.”
Me: “I’m not sure if I’m a lollipop kind of teacher.”
“That’s okay. You’re nice anyway.”

5th grader: “I always use ‘adieu’ as my first word in Wordle, but I don’t know what it means.” (a small French lesson ensued)

3rd grader: Making random words with Scrabble tiles: add…wood…one…to…make…a…bat… “No, that should be ‘add one wood to make a bat.’ This is like an equation! What do you call the person who makes a bat? This makes more sense: ‘add one wood carver to make a bat.’ “

2nd grader: “How do you spell ‘George?’ “
Me: “Your name’s not George; why do you want to spell that?”
“George was the husband of Beatrice, a WWII engineer who could fix anything.” (Likely this book, and no surprise: he likes to read informational text.)

4th grader: “I learned a new word today: toey. T-O-E-Y. When I play Words With Friends, I always check to see what I could have played for more points. Toey would have been worth 48 points.”
Me: “What do you think toey means? If something is juicy, it’s full of juice. Do you think toey means full of toes? (laughter) Let’s look it up.”
(Amazement when I open the Merriam Webster app from the first screen on my phone. But it wasn’t there! So I opened a web browser and demonstrated the “define ___” search and we found it. Toey means nervous, anxious, worried.)
Me: “I hope the rest of your day isn’t toey!”