It was Friday afternoon at 3:05. My students had their planners done, chairs up and were more than ready for the weekend. We still had a few minutes to kill before the bell, so I called them to their special spots on the carpet, sat down in my rocking chair and cracked open Roald Dahl’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox”.
I began reading, getting more and more into the story as I went along. At one point, I glanced out at my eight and nine year old audience and saw 21 criss-cross-applesauce-sitting bodies leaning forward and 21 pairs of wide eyes fixed right on me. There were even a few mouths hanging open. No fidgeting, no whispering, no nudging. No eyes on the window, door or clock. How could I possibly be playing a role in such rapture and captivation?
I could hardly keep my voice from catching as I returned to the story, so I stopped right there. “Boys and girls,” I said, “When I just looked out and saw the expressions on all of your faces, you reminded me right then and there that I should never doubt that I’m in the right job.”
After a momentary pause, the story continued and soon enough the bell rang. Whether any of my students are thinking about Mr. Fox this weekend, I’ll probably never know. But I’m thinking about them, with tears in my eyes again as I write this.
Who cares about split-grade Math, standardized test scores and winter yard duty? Well, I do, but it’s all worth it. Every last bit.
How lucky am I?