It was in first grade that I learned time flies when you're having fun. Mrs. Dunlap taught me that, along with "cakes are done, people are finished" and how to spell hundred. Time moving quickly is a lesson my first graders are learning at the moment, partly as a result of the time unit we just finished. With less than a month of school left, all signs are pointing to second grade for these munchkins.
This week I've found myself reflecting on Mrs. Dunlap's wisdom all the more as my class began planning our end of year performance. Through several different arts-based activities, we are exploring what it has been like to grow throughout the school year. The culmination of our work will be an open letter to kindergartens getting ready to jump into their own first grade year.
I think there is incredible value in reflective practice at any age. I'm eager to see the insight my students share with one another about how far they've come and where they're headed. Second grade teachers, get ready!
All this student reflection of course pushes me to examine my own learning and growth as a teacher, an artist, and in general. Glory to God for the lavish strength he has provided to me this year. My first year of teaching has been filled with surprises, heartbreak, struggles, and failures. But more than anything, it's been filled with grace. I came to Arkansas to teach first grade, but I'm leaving Arkansas having learned more about the God I serve than anything else. My Savior is steadfast, when others have walked away. My Savior is merciful, when others have been impatient and harsh. My Savior is love and comfort, when others have caused me stress and pain. My Savior is good, when I'm surrounded by suffering and despair.
God's gifting me with the eyes of a child these days, and I'm eagerly anticipating his story continuing to unfold in my life as I find out what he has in store for me next. Just like our class trip to the zoo today, I'm learning that life has excitement and wonderment around every corner. I'm grateful to my students for teaching me to be curious and hungry for more, while remembering Mrs. Dunlap's counsel to cherish the time I have left. Because it's going to fly.