Because of all of my health issues, I have been unable to teach since the end of October. I have 120 students. I call them my babies, not because they are actual babies (they’re in 6th grade), but they are the youngest of the school of 6-8th. When they first arrive they are so twitchy and scared. They have no idea what to do. Everything is new; switching classes, lockers, and no more walking in lines led by the teacher. They are just helpless little elementary school trained babies who have all sorts of middle school basics to learn. It’s super adorable, slightly annoying, but I try to soak it all in because before you hit Christmas break each and every one of them has morphed from an adorable helpless baby into a know-it-all pre-teen who can roll their eyes and talk back like they’ve been doing it for years.
So this was my 4th year teaching and my 3rd year in a row to get these babies at the beginning of the year and teach the same subject, science. I was in such a good place. I finally felt like I found my teaching home. I finally felt like I hit my stride. I knew what I was teaching, how to team up with parents, how to anticipate problems, build good relationships, modify assignments, adapt to just about any situation, and the millions of other duties teachers have that you just can’t be taught in college.
Although according to my DOL spiral from 2nd grade, I had it all figured out back in ’92: kids who talk=principal, kids who don’t=candy, if that doesn’t work=bad kids in hall while good kids party. 2nd grade *mic drop*. Anyways, I finally felt like everything had fallen into place, and then…my body goes all wonky. Yes, wonky. I was with my babies from the beginning of August until the end of October, and now the earliest I will be back is the end of March. It’s all still unreal.
I miss them. I think about them everyday. I miss the challenges. I miss the joy. I miss the entertainment. I miss the frustrations. I miss trying to make my quiet ones smile. I miss constantly scanning the room to make sure I don’t miss anything…because there is always something to catch-someone’s personality is off, passing notes, sneaking snacks, copying homework. I’m not scanning to punish, I’m scanning because I teach in a school that has over 60% free/reduced lunches meaning there’s probably an underlying story behind whatever I catch. They’re hungry, they’re tired, or they’re worried about something much bigger than science. Those are the things that matter most to me (test scores, evaluations, and all that nonsense will always be there, but I’m there for the kids). I even miss dealing with the one’s that drove me crazy, because I force myself to “find the positive”…because it is always there. I see their faces throughout each day and wonder how they’re doing. They’re my babies. I miss them.
Also, I hate that I just disappeared on them. I was there one day and the next day, gone…for months! So, over their break my family offered to help me make some little goodie bags with a New Year’s pep talk to let them know I haven’t forgotten them….and that I genuinely miss them.
I ordered 4 packs of 36 crazy straws from Amazon for $6.25 each. The reviews warn that the picture is not accurate and that all of the straws are identical, which is fine for me, but just a head’s up if you are looking for a variety pack.
I created a little flyer to put on the straws. Just punch a hole at the top and bottom and slip them on the crazy straws. On the backside, I wrote my lil pep talk, but you can leave blank if you’d like.
Here’s the PDF pictured above if you’d like to use it! Yay! Freebie! MissingYouLikeCrazy PDF
Border by Jen Hart Designs
I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the finished product. I know it will mean a lot to quite a few of them, and that makes it worth it. ❤
UPDATE 2/1/16: So, the original plan was for the bags to be done and dropped off during Christmas break…but, my life is weirdly in slow motion, and the kids ended up getting them a lot closer to the end of January rather than the beginning. Details…details….
Here’s a picture of what the crazy straws looked like. I’m pretty pleased with this purchase from Amazon. The reviews said that all of the straws were the same, but obviously that’s not the case. There was quite a variety of colors and craziness.
Also, as I started to cut out my adorable PDF, I made it over about two and a half of those cloud-type-bumps before I realized that there was no way I would be cutting out 120+ of them. It’s amazing how quickly I remembered my love of borders with sharp edges.
Another change was that my mom, who is the best, came up with the idea some to include some extra lil treats along with the crazy straws and my note. So rather than having the GIANT note attached to the straw, we made little notes to tie on or stick inside the goodie bags. They ended up having the straws, a smiley face pencil, raisins, and fruit gummies.
Confession: I ran out of ink for my printer, and had procrastinated putting the bags together since I could only do about 10 at a time before starting to get a headache. BUT! Mom and Granny saved the day!!! We set up a pretty impressive assembly line and knocked out about 135 bags in an hour or so.
We dropped them off at school that weekend and my aide (who is seriously amazing) and the sub passed them out on that Monday. They said it was fun to watch the kids open them up and read the notes…which means at least some of my babies read the notes even though it’s after break and they’ve morphed into eye rolling pre-teens! I’ll take that as a victory. ❤ 🙂