I miss having my own classroom and being in front of first graders each and everyday. I miss working in one building and getting to know the kids who are learn there daily. I miss being the first witness to an aha moment that was weeks in the making, the cheery greetings and waves in the hallway, the genuine joy on student faces when you return from being out a conference.
In my current job, I get to work in all of the elementary and middle school building in my district. This means I get to work with a lot of amazing teachers, coaches, and principals and see a lot of learning in action. I love this work. But I miss the daily interactions with kids that you know and who know you. I spend as much time in buildings and classrooms as possible to stay connected, but it's not the same.
Luckily, kids are so friendly and excited to talk about what they are learning, I don't feel like an anonymous adult for long. It's been entertaining to hear students interpretation of who I am or what my job is.
Earlier in the year I was in a classroom during independent reading when I heard, "Excuse me...inspector?" It took me a second to realize that I was the "inspector" the first grader behind me was talking to. He was requesting my help in figuring out what the picture was showing in his informational book about wolves. We had a great conversation about the text.
A few weeks later, at a different school, I entered a cozy and bright classroom during their community circle at the beginning of the day. The students looked over at me and the coach I as we entered and their teacher told the class that we were there to see their learning. She explained that they were going to do their jobs in the classroom and we were going to do our job, which was to watch them. One student suddenly posed a question with a small giggle, "So you mean they're stalkers?" The teacher calmly responded by asking the student to leave the circle for a few minutes and think about being more respectful. As he headed to his table he said, "What? That's what stalkers do...just watch you."
While I don't see myself as a stalker or an inspector, it is an interesting interpretation of what I am doing in their classroom. It always feels good to see a familiar face from the last time I visited a classroom. The best feeling is when I'm in one of our middle schools or high schools and run into a past student who knows me and who I knew when they were a first grader. And I once again, I get a glimpse at that genuine joy from a student I haven't seen in years.