Yesterday, along with three billion people across the globe, I watched American Meghan Markle marry Prince Harry. There's something about the Royals that captures folks hearts, and having an American marry into the family was a big deal. Well as I sat watching (because teachers seem to always wake up early, regardless of the day), my eye was caught by one of the page boys who was having a grand old time and took his opportunity, again, in front of three billion people, to make an excited/silly face for the cameras. I couldn't help but smile when I witnessed this because, as a teacher, we all know 'that' kid. I quickly created the following meme:
You know the one.
That kid who always has a comment.
That kid who always tries to make his classmates laugh.
That kid who laughs like he just heard the most hilarious joke in the world... at everything.
That kid that has trouble sitting still.
That kid who won't sit criss-cross on the carpet, most likely because he simply can't.
That kid who needs to stand at the front or back of the line for safety.
That kid who needs to use the bathroom forty-two times a day and always right during your lesson.
That kid who you get emails about from other parents.
And at that moment, when I saw 'that' kid being his true authentic self, I smiled because we all know 'that' kid. My hope is we all learn to not only accept but love 'that' kid. Maybe we can even learn to appreciate him and take joy in his authenticity and freedom to be himself. That's my hope. Because, as I tell my students, I was, in many ways, 'that' kid.
As we stand in front of our classes and look out at the small faces staring back at us, it's so critical that we truly have empathy. That we take a moment, especially when things are difficult, to try and remember what it was like to be little. And even if we weren't 'that' kid - take a second and try to imagine what it might have been like if we had.
Here's a tip I learned from a teacher friend - find a picture of yourself in the grade you currently teach and put it somewhere in your space as a reminder. If you're feeling brave, even share it with your students.
The caption I used when I posted that meme was: 'And we adore them.' Because one spice would be beyond boring to teach and every child brings their unique flavor to our classroom community. Savor them all.