Most of the time, I love working with my second graders. Watching my Little Buddy start to recognize phonics patterns and hearing her ask, “Did I do it right?” to get a high five and some verbal affirmation makes Mondays and Wednesdays fulfilling.
This Monday started off better than I expected. We were down a few volunteers, so I planned to work with all the extra kids on a Thanksgiving worksheet where we talk about food. Couldn’t be easier, could it? Nope
Except that second graders aren’t predictable. That should be their tagline. Second Graders: You have no idea what will come out of our mouths next.
In the first group, I only had to work with two kids at a time. Piece of cake. They had leveled up, so we worked on their new books together. Hooray for kids who can sound out words on their own. Oh, it’s so beautiful to watch them start to be able to string the letters into familiar words. We’re making meaning, people.
Seconds group, however, I needed to work with four kids. Bolstered by my positive experience with the group beforehand, I didn’t see the challenge.
We had a worksheet where we talk about what we like to eat on Thanksgiving (obviously the entire point of the holiday… yes, I’m being facetious) then write the words on our “menu.” Simple enough.
My sole little boy then brings up Chucky. Yes, Chucky, the scary doll from the series in the 90s. The one whose face looks like a baseball. It’s the stuff of nightmares. My sweet little second graders, bringing up Chucky.
My instant response, “Chucky isn’t on the menu. Did you want me to tell you how to spell chicken nuggets?” Acknowledge comment, distract with better comment. This should work.
The conversation went downhill from there. The sweet girl on my left didn’t seem to know what they were talking about, so at least I didn’t have four students cackling about Chucky and how scary he was. And the leprechaun… what leprechaun we’re talking about, I don’t know. But apparently he is terrifying.
I couldn’t get the conversation back to food. “Who likes cake? Look, cake is on your sheet. What’s your favorite kind of cake?” Insert comment about the scary leprechaun. “You know what my favorite kind of cake is?” Okay, apparently no one cares.
Oh, I hate feeling out of control. And if cake wouldn’t reel them in, I don’t know what would have.
Sometimes second graders laugh maniacally (while the poor other students are trying to read) and won’t listen when you grab their arms and tell them to shush, their friends are trying to read. Then one of them just looks into your eyes and tells you the leprechaun is going to get you.
God bless all the elementary school teachers.
Oh, God bless every one of you. You, with the classrooms full of small, individual, crazy, wonderful children. You have the patience of a saint, I’m sure.
I hope your kids don’t know about Chucky.