My daughters sometimes chastise me for referring to my students as ‘my kids’ but I’ve been doing it for longer than they’ve been alive. Clearly my students are not my kids in the same way that my daughters are. I don’t know my students anywhere near as well as I can know the children with whom I live and have known for many years. But that doesn’t stop me from calling my students, my kids, even when they haven’t been in my class in several years. I remain their teacher, they remain my kids.
For my first few years of teaching I noticed that my class was often seen by others as odd, quirky, or different in some way. The P.E., music, and art teachers who worked with them would often mention that to me, with a smile. “Your kids are quite a group.” “Your class is never dull.” “I never know quite what to expect from your students.” I kept hearing about how my students were not quite like many other classes. It took a few years before I realized and could admit to myself that I was most likely a factor in the oddness of my class. When it happened year after year I had to see that I played some role. At this point, I’ve accepted that and am okay with it. Hopefully I’m doing something to help my students see that they can be their quirky selves and that’s a good thing.
This morning I had the newest example of how my class is my truly my kids. My students had music and P.E. today. When I dropped them off at music, the teacher told me how wonderfully they are playing their recorders. She went on, in front of them so they would know her pride, about their lovely tone, their ability to take on challenging rhythms, and more. She said how obvious it is that they are practicing. This is a teacher with many years of experience teaching music and her words were strong. As a musician it was such a joy to hear this about my class.
When I picked them up from P.E. an hour later, I passed two of my students on their way to the clinic. One had been hit in the face by a basketball. I realized I see my kids on their way to or from the clinic fairly frequently during P.E. Jokingly, I asked the P.E. teacher if my class is unusually uncoordinated. Yup. She said they are. She laughed about how it’s funny that they seem to end up all in one class.
It wasn’t until later that I realized I have a class of skilled musicians who lack gross motor skills. My kids. Yup.