My fifth graders are a humorous, busy and chatty bunch. They are enthusiastic about learning but struggle with self-control. Some days I feel l take one step forward and three steps back. Of course along with the struggles comes joy. I never know what to expect and often find myself laughing along with them.
Yesterday was DARE graduation, which is a significant rite of passage for fifth graders in our school. I gave them many reminders about expectations and how to handle the day. But, knowing 10 and 11 year olds I knew they would be excited and there would be a possibility for slip ups. The most challenging time being after the graduation when the kids are excited and food is being served. School rules and teacher expectations come up against showing off for friends and looser parent expectations.
Following the graduation, I was thanking guest speakers and talking to parents. Suddenly I realize the lack of children and I had a brief moment of confusion. I look around quickly and find them…
All forty-four fifth graders had found their way to the stage and were sitting in small groups. Laughing, talking and eating with good manners. It was truly a beautiful site to see… the messages had gotten through. This moment reminded me of how much they have grown and that they really are getting reading for their next big step into middle school. I was a little sad to think they will be leaving me soon but mostly proud to see the group is growing up.