I think I just had the sweetest moment in my teaching career this last Friday. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had many sweet moments with the kids at work, but never from such an unexpected source, in such an unexpected way. Those two 5th grade boys (the advocate and the recipient of Jeffy the Puppet) made me cry today. Not the kind of crying where I want to beat my head in frustration, but the kind brought on by a sweet surprise.
In our program, we have Friday movie day with popcorn and a treat. Since we have no homework on Friday, I allow the kids to share anything they like before the movie. This particular Friday was no different.
The kids sometimes share the things I make for them, but not that often. When they do, they mostly say something along the lines of, “Look what Mrs. Sherman made for me,” and maybe say a little about why they like it. It’s always nice when they do because it means they really love what I made and want the others to know about it.
The two boys had the puppet and were raising it’s hand (yes, the puppet was raising his hand) when I called to see who had something to share. When I finally called on them (I admit I sometimes wait because I expect shenanigans and I was fully expecting shenanigans!), the advocate for his friend walked to the front with the puppet. This boy is a bit of a showman and usually clowns around when called (and also, all the time).
He went up and I asked why he was doing the sharing instead of his friend (the actual owner of the puppet). He said his friend wanted him to do the sharing. I let it pass. After all, if it weren’t for him convincing me to make it for his friend, there would be no puppet. I figured he had earned his right do the sharing.
So when Jeffy raised his hand, I was a little glad they wanted to share him (if a little afraid of what the sharing would look like). Right off the bat, my 5th grader had the kids laughing. He modified his voice and was pretending the puppet was talking. I was a bit worried but skits are allowed so there was no need to intervene just yet. So he (Jeffy) starts talking about how I made the puppet for the other student. Then, he started saying how wonderful I was for having agreed to make the puppet (he threw in how he convinced me to make it). He then talked about how special it was and what a great job I did. That took a turn I didn’t expect. He said his friend loved it and he said a few other nice things about me and the puppet. The topper was his finishing remark that he and his friend think this is the best thing I’ve ever made. Ever! He said all this with a big, genuine small on his face and the owner was sitting at his desk with a big smile on his face, nodding his head in agreement.
Wow! I wasn’t expecting that from those two. It was more likely I’d have to ask him to behave while sharing than to hear such sweet things come out of his mouth. Ok, I still had to ask him to behave while still being floored by what he was saying. What a lovely endorsement! That they let me know in such a public way, in front of their peers, well, I was left speechless. I was moved and it makes what I do that much more rewarding.