The Waterworks

In this disgustingly hot weather, I made the critical error yesterday of saying that I would work an extra day in Year 1. Perhaps the heat of yesterday had addled my brain as I made such a bizarre offer, one which was made without me even engaging my brain.

But it all seemed such a good idea yesterday. I’d had another good day in Year 1, with the very small children in there proving to be endlessly entertaining to me, so I decided that I didn’t want Monday to be my last day with them, so offered my services for another day. Since the teachers are doing so much at the moment to prepare for the new class in September, they jumped at the chance to get extra help.

Monday night was also the school production. I had heard it was going to be well worth coming, so I went back in the evening to watch it. Suffice to say, I was thoroughly impressed. The play was set on a Carribean island, and the kids playing the steel drums and singing in the choir were just fantastic. The steel drums just have an amazing sound that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and combining that with the singing brought several tears to my eyes.

Then, of course, there were the actors. Lord only knows where the teacher finds some of these kids, but the principal cast were simply inspired choices for the roles. I suspect they made one or two teachers proud that night.

I am quite an emotional person, but I think I try to keep this a secret from others. I well-up over a lot of things. Some may be little bemused over the fact that I shed a tear for kids singing, acting and playing instruments, particularly given that I don’t really know the vast bulk of them. But it’s such a complex mixture of thoughts: I’m really proud for them, whoever they are. They’d clearly worked so hard on it, and it was exuberating to see the grins on their faces as they put all their effort in, seeing it paying off in spades. Melts the heart it does…

The other thought is just what these kids have learned from doing this kind of thing. It brings me back to the youth reviews I wrote, and how I thought I’d missed out on a lot by not getting involved in things like this. I regret that, because I can see for myself now the great benefits it brings to those who get involved. Belonging, sharpening of talents, learning interpersonal skills, giving children a pastime that they may keep working on, and best of all, leaving them with fantastic memories of their childhood… they’re all things that I feel for them, which brings me to the edge of crying anyway.

Then there’s the other, more sinister thought. Where do they go from here? The sad thing is that our society is shaped as such that they won’t remain innocent children for very long. So many of them will end up failures on the scrapheap through no fault of their own. So many will not achieve their potential.

All the more reason to treasure childhood. It’s one of the messages I’d like to get across, but you can be sure that very few children want to listen to it. They end up having to figure out these things for themselves, and then are annoyed by the fact that no one had shared this experience with them when they were younger… even though they probably wouldn’t have listened at the time. The circle of life is complete.

With that out the way, I went in again this morning, and once more had a day filled with admin, searing heat and fans that aren’t very good. Plus kids. It hurt even more when, as I said I wouldn’t be in Year 1 any more, one of them told me that they were going to miss me. This from a kid who I’d not really talked to. It just goes to show you that they are observing a lot more of you than you think, and how everyone can be someone to look up to, good and bad.

So I had to fight back the tears again as I said another goodbye. I probably get too emotionally involved. I think that’s a bad thing if I want to be a teacher…

Then, while listening to Keane’s new album, I discovered that I liked the song The Frog Prince so much that it brought the tears flowing back again. It’s just so beautiful.

Such a waste of precious water. I’ll be dehydrating in this heat if I carry on like this.

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