Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tales from the 4th grade . . .

I was only teaching Year 4 for 1 term - less than 3 full months, but I have stories to last a lifetime.

March 19 here in Portugal is Father's Day. It falls on whatever day of the week it falls on and is celebrated as such. This year it was a Monday. Since I was the Year 4 teacher it was my responsibility to have some craft ready for the kids to do to celebrate their fathers. We made awards to offer fathers, so we were on track.

After school I was doing I don't remember what and one of the girls was sitting coloring and she began a conversation with me. "Will you see your daddy Mrs. Dietrich?" (These kids are so young that they still refer to their parents as their mummies and daddies.) "No, Carrie," I replied. "You see my father isn't living any more. He died a number of years ago." There was a pause while she processed the information. "Well, you still have your mummy." "Will you see her tonight?" Carrie inquired. Now there was a pause on my part. "Well, Carrie," I haltingly began. "You see, my mother also died." I felt bad that I had to break this news to a little girl who hasn't yet experienced any losses of such a magnitude. But she continued, "You have children, don't you Mrs. Dietrich?" I was starting to get a little uncomfortable with giving her all this bad news. "No, Carrie I don't." "But I have a husband, and I have lots of friends here." I felt like I needed to quickly offer some of the good things going on in my personal life. I NOW had her complete attention (unlike when I was teaching the difference between an adjective and an adverb). She looked up from her coloring and got up and walked over to me and gave me a hug and said, "Mrs. Dietrich, don't worry - you have us. We'll be your kids. We love you."

I'm lucky, I've got a million stories like this one.


Cris said...

...and a bunch of kids! :)
And with such a simple, sweet gesture she "got you"! And is not that what we usually miss to value: the simple things in life?
And that is when I wonder how and why we grow so complicated and forget that sometimes a heartfelt hug and kind words are all what it takes to make your day.

NĂ­dia said...

Soo sweet! I bet you kept a smile on all day long! :)