My students earn good choice sticks and can redeem them for prizes, and one of the things they can buy for 8 sticks is to eat lunch with me. This past Friday at lunch, I was honored with the opportunity to have lunch with Kiwi.
Having already entertained you with funny things he has said or done, I am so excited to share with you the following experience. This child did not stop talking nor entertaining me the entire lunch period. I wish I could have video taped the whole thing, or at least written down everything he was saying. From types of dinosaurs to Jesus to why he knows the things he knows, Kiwi brought me an immense amount of joy at lunch on Friday. Here are a few key quotes and moments with him:
(taking my Lean Cuisine pizza out of the microwave)
"Wow, Miss Leiss! You have a round pizza there!"
"I sure do."
"Man. I can't wait 'til I'M a teacher so that I can have round pizzas whenever I want! Every day even!"
"It's a pretty good deal. What do you want to teach?"
"Pre-school. I want to be a pre-school teacher, and now I'm just so excited about getting to have those round pizzas. ...Do you think I can have a bite of that round pizza?"
(discussing phonics lesson from the day before)
"Yeah, and Miss Leiss, I know that combination or says or like horse. Do you know how I know?"
"How do you know?"
"Because of my brain. (huge smile) It's a good one."
"Wow, Miss Leiss. I can't believe I get to eat on the STAGE today. I'm like a teacher already."
"You know, I bet this lunch would be a whoooole lot better if I had some kiwi to eat with it."
"Do you really like to eat kiwi?"
"YES! It's the best ever. My grandma made me try it and I'm so glad she did."
There are definitely days where I don't feel like allowing my students to eat lunch with me. It's the one time per day I get a break to myself without them besides my planning period, and sometimes it is so desperately needed. But then God gives me opportunities to spend time with these kids not in the context of teaching them digraphs or what a non-living thing is. I get to see their eyes sparkle when they talk about how they went to see monster trucks this weekend, how they got new shoes, or about how proud they are to be a new big brother. I'm really thankful for these lunch dates with my kids, and to be able to be human with them. I think kids really need that, for someone older to be real with them, to ask them questions and dig into their lives a little deeper, for us even as adults to answer questions and be a little more transparent when we are able to. These kids soak it all up-- they learn from us and our mistakes, they watch our every moves, they love TCU because I do, they think green is the greatest color because I love green, and they know I don't have any kids of my own so they tell me that they are my kids for now, and they will make sure I know that they love me.
Life is good.