Friday, April 26, 2019

Worth Everything

“I want it!”

“I’m using it!”

They were fighting over a toy digger, each attempting to wrest control from the other. 

“I had it first!”

“I had it first!”

Their voices grew louder. They were pushing into one another with hips and shoulders, their faces pinched into grimaces. Earlier in the school year, I might have felt the need to step in, but despite the growing intensity of their conflict, I remained where I was, seated on a table some distance away.

They were beyond words now, letting their bodies do the negotiating for them. Neither of them looked my way: they were going to solve this themselves. Finally, one of the boys gained a seat on the vehicle, ending the tussle. The boy who had lost out, looked disappointed, but not overly so. I said, “There are more trucks over there,” pointing to a pile of them not far away.

The boy who had “won” jumped to his feet, “I’ll get the dump truck,” leaving the until recently coveted digger to his rival. He returned with the dump truck and the two sat on their respective vehicles together for a moment, side-by-side, looking into one another’s eyes. They both smiled. No words were spoken as they began using their feet to push themselves forward while continually checking to make sure they were still together.

Moments later a girl took hold of the trapeze bar, preparing to take flight, when another girl attempted to push her out of the way. “Hey, I’m using this!” She shouted. Again, I might have moved closer earlier in the year, but now we are nearing the end of our time together as a class, so I stayed where I was, confident in their capabilities. 

The intruder responded, “We could use it together,” to which her friend replied, “Okay,” and they did, swinging side-by-side, looking into one another’s eyes, smiling.

A school year can sometimes feel like a long haul for a teacher, but knowing that this was our destination all along, makes it worth everything.

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