Kindergartener: Ms. Jakey, can I tell you something?
Kindergartener: This whole school loves you.
Me: (pause) What an incredibly kind thing to say. Thank you for sharing that with me. It means a lot to me.
At the end of our dance sessions, students choose between a hug, handshake, or high-five as they’re walking out the door; it’s my way of saying thanks, for their efforts and attendance. Yesterday, as one of my 1st grade classes was on their way out, one high-five went awry and a little boy hit my chest instead of my hand. The matter-of-fact-ness with which he described what happened was hilarious. I had to do my best not to laugh out loud.
Me: Hug, handshake, or high-five?
1st grader: High-five! (he proceeds to give me a high-five, but misses)
1st grader: (as he’s walking away, and to his friend) I hit her tit.
As the first dance session of the year comes to a close, students line up at the door, ready to either receive a hug, handshake, or high five from me. We’re at the door.
Me: Hug, handshake, or high-five?
2nd Grader: Hug.
I give him a hug. As he’s walking out the door. He pauses and slowly turns around..
2nd Grader: Ms. Jakey …………. you’re a good teacher.
I felt like crying. It was so thoughtful. And deliberate. And sincere. I’m rarely paid compliments that mean as much to me as those that come - unsolicited - from children.
Setting: A not-going-so-well 5th grade dance class.
Me: (stopping the music mid-dance) You know what? I’m just going to stop. Our class will not proceed like this. What’s going on is not OK with me on so many levels. And I’m not sure exactly what to do right now, to turn things around..
5th Grader: (sarcastically) Use an “I-message”.
Me: Use an I-message… That’s actually a great idea! (so I proceeded to write this up on the board) (and unfortunately misspell disappointed).
Setting: A 5th grader is helping me take tape off the floor after a double up 5th grade dance class. As we peel, we talk.
5th grader: You know, Keauna? In Ms. T’s class?
Me: I’d probably know her if I saw her, but I don’t know her by name.
5th grader: I was standing next to her for all of dance class..
5th grader: She says it’s annoying how you say ‘yeah’ all the time.
5th: Yeah, after every thing you say, you say ‘yeah?’ and your voice gets really high.
Me: Really? Thanks for letting me know that. I hadn’t realized that at all.
5th grader: It’s OK. I used to say ‘like’ all the time till someone pointed it out to me.
Me: (laugh) Me too! Now that you mention it, I guess I do say ‘yeah’ a lot… Well, I’ll certainly be more conscious of it now. Thanks for letting me know that. And thanks for all the help with the tape.
5th grader: No problem. Have a good day.
Me: (counting while we’re dancing as a class) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
4th grader: (rolls her eyes) Why don’t you just count to SIXTEEN?!
Me: (laugh) Yeah, you’re totally right. I just count like this because I’m used to counting in 8’s.
Me: So the next piece we are going to work on is called All Is Love. It’s targeted toward Kindergarten and 1st graders, and I understand that you might feel it’s kind of kiddy. It will take us about 5 minutes to learn. I just want us to have it in our back pockets because we might dance it as a whole school or it might be something we use with our reading buddies.
3rd grader: Um, I take dance outside of schools and I’m like 5 levels above this dance class, so everything we do seems kiddy to me.
Me: (pause)……. If I was 5 levels above this dance class I would probably feel the same way. And that’s fine: any feeling you have about dance, or anything is fine. Thanks for letting me know.