My Morning Contract

Every morning at 9 a.m. I greet each of my students by name.
It's my way of saying I've shown up-
that I'm present and notice them, and that they each belong here
And every morning at 9 a.m., I expect their greeting in return.
It's the contract we enter into: 
Both parties will be held accountable for making 
today the best.

But sometimes, by the end of the day, 
I feel totally exhausted.
Books have been read and equations solved,
and the contract is far from my mind.

Well, today I was reminded of its importance;
today it's sitting right inside my heart.
Today I remember everything it stands for, because something so cool happened just after dismissal.

People were staying after for talent show rehearsal, and 6 of my former students came down to my classroom to say hello.
Now, this wouldn't be abnormal, except that it was 
2 students from every year that I have taught thus far:
2 fourth graders, 2 fifth graders, 2 sixth graders.
It was incredible.
They sat with me and talked about all of the fun we had together.
About all of the projects they still remember and all of the laughter that we shared.
They asked each other "did you do this?" and "did she show you that?"
They compared stories about their year with me and said their year was "the best".
They told me everything they miss about the 3rd grade.
 the reasons for my contract.
It truly was food for my soul
At the end of this school year the first group of students I ever taught will head off to middle school.
The group of students I cried in front of on the last day of school.
The students I wanted to keep forever.
It is hard to believe that 75 more children have entered into my morning contract since then.

I keep a horoscope of mine that I ripped out of the paper, tucked in the pocket of my school bag:

The stars show you as very imaginative now.
Help out the uninspired.
The low-mindedness of those with nothing to do is a downward spiral.
Create objects.

Well, there you have it.
It was in the stars.


teacher girl said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! And I am even happier that I found your blog because you are quite inspiring. LOVE that you greet students @ the door & have a contract--so warm & welcoming! Your lucky, lucky students--both past & present! Happy short week! :o)

Katie Lee said...

Just stumbled across your blog and I love it. This post really struck me. I, too, have a contract with my students and greet them each morning. And I, too, feel exhausted at the end of the day sometimes. I am a first year teacher so I haven't had students come back to me yet, but this inspires me to keep on. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for teaching. Now, that I do it, I am infinitely more grateful to all teachers!


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