Thursday, April 25, 2013

I got mail (FAN mail!)

TWENTY-ONE pieces of mail, to be exact.
Totally made my day.
Here's how it came to be:
A few weeks ago I was perusing the weekly newsletter that comes home from the Primary School. I noticed a paragraph about the upcoming Community Reading Day. I think this event must be on my top ten list of favorite things we do here. (maybe I need to expand my list to more than ten) Members of the community go to school, each assigned to read a book to one of the dozens of classrooms that participate;  employees from the police and fire departments, Senior Citizens, politicians, professionals, members of the military, mascots for sports teams etc. Each brings a book to the classrooms, visits with the students and then reads to them. With six kids who have participated in this tradition for many years, I have come to love finding out who the guest readers were, what their selections were, and listening to my children tell (with gusto!) about the visitors in their classrooms.  Having said that, when I noticed that the coordinator of the program was none other than my dear friend, I phoned her to offer my support.  We all know that any event run solely by volunteers involves many, many behind-the-scenes hours of communicating and coordinating. Mainly, I wanted her to know that if she had a reader fall-through or needed some help, I was ready to step in and offer assistance.
Well,... a few days before the big event, the phone rang.
It was Madame Director, asking if I meant what I said, when I offered to help?
"I'm as good as my word" I said.
Next thing I knew, I was being assigned a first grade classroom.  She gave me the book. I was elated. After years of recess duty, I know that making friends with first graders is like enlisting your own personal fan club.  I started thinking about my assignment, and then wondered what I might have to say to them since I'm not a public safety officer, a butcher or even a librarian. I AM a piano teacher, but talking about my little part-time job (which is really more of a hobby) seemed unsubstantial somehow. I knew I would mention it, but it wasn't feeling like quite enough. Mentally, I began to list the things I do, and the things that make me who I am. Then I formulated a plan.
We had a FANTASTIC morning!
I was escorted into the classroom by two enthusiastic first graders holding a "welcome Mrs.W" sign.  We chatted for a few minutes and I said "Would you like to know what I do?"
(First graders ALWAYS say "...YES!...")
I talked about being a piano teacher.
"Do any of YOU take piano lessons?" earned enthusiastic hand-waving by more than half the class.  Since I'm pretty sure there weren't more than a dozen young piano students out of the 21 present, it just cemented the delightful reality that first graders are blissfully eager to please.
We could have chatted endlessly about that one topic. Had I known, I might have had more confidence from the start. I grabbed their attention when I put my finger to my lips, glanced nervously to the corners of the room and secretively pulled out a shiny red bundle from my bag. I told them to look quickly, because I had to put it right away. I then told them that the special red roll was my secret CAPE. I told them it had something to do with my most favorite job of all.
"Are you a magician?"
"A super hero?"
I loved it.
They came up with great ideas.
I loved that super hero was closest of all.
I told them (in hushed tone)
"I'm a SUPER MOM."
They seemed stunned.
Immediately I began to enthusiastically gush my qualifications.
"Did you know I've had SIX first graders come through this very Primary School?  Six children.  First grade is mighty busy, isn't it?  You're learning to read, to write, to make friends, to have hobbies and extra curricular activities.  Can you imagine managing all of that SIX different times?  Even having ONE first grader pretty much qualifies you to be super. The hands started shooting up, and the kids couldn't wait to tell me about their families. Their brothers, sisters, cousins and expectant parents. Their pets. Their Pogo sticks.  All that made their families bustle with energy and delightful chaos.  We could have swapped stories ALL DAY. I love first grade.
I love being a super mom.
I could tell they got it.
 We loved it.
They clapped and I said good-bye.
Then the thank-you notes arrived.
I adore every one.
And now, (as they say) you know the REST of the story.


Michael Stokes said...

I think this is my favorite post. I love first-grade too

LL said...

One of my favorite posts too--I felt like a first grader wanting to wave my hand and participate as I read it.
You're the BEST super hero!
(and Sophias letter is darling)

Jo Jo said...

I echo your fan's comments. "Im going to be a super mom when I grow up." You're the best! Where were you when I needed you in first grade?

Jo Jo said...

At least I got you in kindygarten!

shirlgirl said...

Great post, Jenny. The kids really loved you, that's for sure. I'm sure your teaching/reading for that day will be engraved in their minds for a very long time.

Sandra Nunley Pierimarchi said...

Fantastic day! You are many super things. It is no surprise to me that the kids adored you! What a wonderful memory for all of you.

Cynthia said...

HOORAY for 1st graders and HOORAY for Super Moms!