I was talking to my friend Nikki about little girls & waterworks. I mentioned the story about Donut Girl & Sweetie Pie with tears in their eyes as I walked into the music room. Even before I saw their tear streaked faces, I knew something was wrong because they weren’t sitting together and there was also much tension in the air. That’s when I saw it- tears on Donut Girl’s face & tears on Sweetie Pie’s face. There was also a fair amount of lip shaking and red eyes. I couldn’t believe it. These are two tough little girls. For them to be crying, it had to be something big. One of them probably said something about the other one’s hair or nails! (j/k)
“Oh, my gosh,” I said, “What happened? Why are you two little ladies crying?”
Nothing. Stone faces. I could see both of them trying to hold back the tears. So, I stood Sweetie Pie up and gave her a hug since she was closest to me. That’s when she let it all out. She just started crying. I knew I couldn’t leave Donut Girl out, though. But I knew they needed to remain separated. I walked down the hall, with Sweetie Pie at my side, as I wondered what two little girls could have possibly gotten into a fight about. That’s when CarBoy said, “Sweetie Pie & Donut Girl were fighting. They didn’t hit each other, but they were arguing.”
So, as soon as we got to the classroom, I called Sweetie Pie & Donut Girl to my desk and told the rest of the students to do MUST DO & MAY DOs. I had to calm them down first. Once they were calm, I got the story out of them. The boys came over and hugged them. We did a class group hug and things were better between them.
After I finished telling my friend, Nikki, the story, I rhetorically asked, “How can any teacher ignore those big alligator tears? How can anyone, who spends any amount of time with children, ignore their emotional needs?
“Well, that’s exactly what I do?,” she said. “I act like they’re not even crying?”
I told her that she could do that, but that was not the way to build a family. When you’re a teacher, you’re more than a teacher. You are a second mother, a counselor, a psychologist, and a whole host of other things. So, you have to act accordingly. You cannot let moments like that pass by without acknowledging them. Children have to be made to feel safe. That’s one of the ways you do it. You acknowledge their feelings. All the while reassuring them that their feelings are valid. Then you work out a plan to solve them. Although you will not reach every single student, you will reach most of them. And that, my dear sir or madam, is how you make a classroom family!