I can hardly believe that the last week of school is here! I would be lying if I said that the first day of school "seems like yesterday", because... well, it doesn't seem like that! It seems like it was a long, long time ago! This year has been wonderful but I am certainly ready for summer (and what teacher isn't? the one we all love to hate! =). Anyway, I have known for a while that an end-of-the-year party is practically constitutional law so I started thinking about mine a few weeks ago. I wanted to do something simple yet memorable but that wouldn't require a lot of travel (for me) or money (for the parents). Since my classroom has had a picnic theme (a word I use loosely since I really only changed 2 bulletin boards and one wall decoration!) for the last month of school, I decided a picnic would be nice. It would also relieve parents of having to provide chips, desserts, etc. by just having each kid bring his own lunch (I know, I'm a party pooper!). I planned on taking them to my Mamaw's house (well, back porch) to eat, followed by games in the backyard.
Then, for the best part, a trip to Sprinkles. Now, if you're not familiar with the greater Goldsboro area, you might not be aware of this little jewel of an ice cream shop located at the edge of Fallingbrook neighborhood, which just happens to be where Mamaw lives. Sprinkles is just a cute little shop with hand-dipped ice cream and the prices are very reasonable, so it seemed like the perfect treat for our field trip. Kids + ice cream = happy. Right?
Well, funny story....
Even with rain in the forecast, we headed to Mamaw's today with high spirits (well, the kids had high spirits. I was mentally worrying and praying that the weather held out so I wasn't stuck with a 2-days-away-from-summer-hyper class INSIDE for the entire day.) Thankfully, it stayed sunny while we ate our lunch and played wiffle ball, which, by the way, most of my class had never played before and I felt morally obliged to teach them how. After a couple dozen innings or so, the kids were getting hot and sweaty and I felt I had worn them down enough before our Sprinkles excursion began. We rounded up our lunch boxes and, because our summer vacation tradition has always been to WALK to Sprinkles from Mamaw's, we set off down Trappers Run Drive.
(Before you indignantly cry, "What a mean teacher... making those poor kids walk in the heat!", it's only about 125 yards from Mamaw's driveway to Sprinkles. No worries!)
Here we go... our long parade to Sprinkles!
Now for the "funny" part... we walk up to the door and one of the kids says, "Mrs. McNeese.... they're closed!"
Of course I, being the all-wise teacher, say, "No they're not! Let me see."
And I walk up to the door and it is indeed locked, with no ice-cream-scoop-in-hand employee in sight. Seriously? I'm racking my brain to try to remember any holiday I've missed, glancing around for flags flown at half-mast or some other indication that I have forgotten some important event that would close Sprinkles' door at 12:30 on a Wednesday afternoon.
Turns out, they don't open until 3:00 everyday (who knew???) while school is in session. So, what to do now? I have 10 very hot, very disappointed children on my hands (and a disappointed teacher, because my class is going to miss out on this magical Sprinkles experience!).
Our faces when we realized Sprinkles was closed!
Never fear... Mrs. McNeese to the rescue! We're headed to McDonald's instead!
The girls with their ice cream.
Some of the boys being... boys!
Thanks, Brookie, for coming and keeping me sane as always! My class loves Miss Brook!
Ice cream is ice cream, I guess!
I love these kids.
We also missed Hayden and Karsen very much today! They had to miss the trip to attend their great-grandma's funeral, but were able to catch up with us back at school for a little while! I love these two!
After that emotional roller coaster, made better by chocolate shakes and hot fudge sundaes, we finished back at school by watching Up, which was a perfect end to our last full day.
When I decided to become a teacher, I studied secondary education in college. I was "on my way to Sprinkles" for four years, learning about English, history, and all things "high school". A year ago, if you had told me that I would be teaching any elementary grade, especially third, I would have laughed and given a rousing/definitive, "No way." Funny how the Lord sometimes has very different plans for us, huh? I thought that, not only did I not WANT to teach 3rd grade, that I COULDN'T do it. Well, now I know that not only can I do it, but I have absolutely loved it. When I got to the point that should have been "Sprinkles" (or, a high school teaching position), it was closed and I ended up at "McDonald's" (third grade). And, like our field trip, it turned out just fine. It's amazing what happens when you do something you "have" to do and it turns out you wouldn't dream of anything else.
I can't imagine having spent this very important, first year of teaching with any other class. I wouldn't have been able to hide a laugh at Devin's comedy routines during snack time, or hear Andrew's rare but amazingly deep Bible answers, or receive Hayden's little presents, or see Summer develop a love for science and God's creation, or crack up at Karsen's funny faces, or smile at Meghan's sweet notes, or experience any of the other thousands of little moments that have made this year such an incredibly special experience.
There was no class, no textbook, and no lecture that could have prepared me for the feelings that accompany being a "real teacher". No one told me that I would suddenly turn into a worrywart, viewing playground equipment as deadly. Or that my heart would stop beating when a student got hurt. Or that one minute I would be so frustrated I could barely think straight, then have my class in stitches with a joke moments later. No one could have described the fierce protectiveness I feel about each of "my kids". Or that I would refer to them as my kids, because in a way they are and always will be. They are my first class, and God kindly gave me 12 very special gifts to start on this crazy journey called teaching.
Me, Meghan, Michael, Hayden, Ryan, Silas, Devin, Dalton, Summer, Aleisha, Andrew, Karsen, and Elizabeth.
Love them- and their parents! (Yall are important too! =)
Saying goodbye on Friday will not be easy!
What a year this has been! If every class is like this one, I'll be just fine for the next 30 years. =)
Happy summer, everyone! You deserve it!