Since a classroom of students and their teacher spend so much time together, we become like a family. There are ups and downs, emotions shared, apologies offered, and even tears shown, both sweet and painful. It is definitely an adventure, and I try to bring a lot of heart into the room. Actually, although I may bring it up more, all of my students bring a lot of heart into the room, in a variety of ways.
One of the coolest things of spending so much time together are the inside jokes that occur. I tell people I like teaching fourth grade because the kids are smart, sweet and understand sarcasm. And that's a good thing. Sarcasm used as friendly teasing leads to a lot of heart shared, and great smiles and looks. Some of the inside jokes this year actually started out with my traditional use of the acronym, NLA, or in other words, "No Lolligagging Allowed," used in honor of my high school basketball coach, Jack Belden. He used to get on our case for lolligagging in practice, in his old-timer, raspy voice. Now, at the start of fourth grade, I tell my students about lolligagging, and that we don't need it! On our way to build Native American shelters, we have a line of students, some taking their time. That's when "NLA" gets delivered for the first time most years. It becomes a fun way to get my students moving. And it works!
Other inside jokes that have materialized are telling a student who constantly bumps into things that I'm getting him a suit of bubble wrap, the use of the Spiderman wrist-flick, a few nicknames, such as "Far Fetched Ben," and even another acronym, NBF. That one means "No Burning Fingers" allowed when using glue guns. There are so many inside jokes that I can't even name them all. One latest one is JNBW - "Joe Needs Bubble Wrap."
I wanted to write just a bit about the inside jokes, because it gives such a good look into the workings and camaraderie of a classroom. We are a team, all working together to make huge progress! I love it!
© 2015 Peter J. Wilson
Peter Wilson teaches fourth grade at University Lake School, in Hartland, WI.