I know that few people read this blog (and all who do are adequately informed about my personal life), but I haven’t been updating as much. Hopefully the following story illustrates my preoccupation in recent months…
I love teaching for many reasons. Today just happens to eloquently illustrate why I choose to teach eight-year-olds. They humble you & elevate you, all within the space of minutes. Not only was today my birthday, but I also announced my pregnancy to my class.
During morning announcements, our mischievous office manager wished me a “Happy 40th birthday!” (I just turned 32.) Not being age-conscious (or so I thought), I just laughed it off. One of my students, in an effort to make sure my feelings weren’t hurt, earnestly consoled me by saying, “Don’t worry, Mrs. Burchett. You don’t look a day over 35.”
I had thought of a clever way to announce my pregnancy to my students. At the end of the day, I gave them each a Dixie cup full of “baby-sized items” (baby Tootsie Roll, mini M&Ms, miniature marshmallows & a baby candy bar). I said that it was my birthday, but that I had a special message hidden in the candy for them & they’d have to use the comparing skills we’d worked on to figure out what all the items have in common to guess my secret message.
“They’re all candy.”
“They all have sugar in them.”
“You could put them in cookies to make the cookies even better.”
“They’re all foods you can’t eat until after you clear your plate.”
“They’re things you only get to eat when it’s Halloween time.”
“Every one of them is an ‘ask your mom first’ food.”
They continued on in that vein for several minutes. As it was getting close to the end of the day, I had to explain that they were all good answers, but I was looking for similarities specifically in size. We narrowed down that they were all small candies & I asked why I would have given them small, or indeed baby-sized candy.
“That’s all that would fit in the Dixie cup.”
“We’re small kids, so we should only get small candies.”
“You couldn’t afford the bigger candy bars.”
Finally, I stopped them & said, “Not only are these candies baby-sized, but something else is as well.” I pointed to my belly & looked out at the class. 5 seconds… 10… 15… At last, a girl in the back of the classroom stood up, fully outstretched her arm & pointing at me, declared (in her loudest voice), “Well, YOU. ARE. PREGNANT!” Relieved (there were, at this point, only about 30 seconds left in the school day), I smiled & admitted that yes, I was.
Now, I’ve announced my pregnancy to friends, family & colleagues, and with one notable exception, I got the best reaction from the kids. In unison, their faces filled with awe, they all started clapping & cheering – like I had just done the best magic trick & they were so proud & impressed by me.
I highly recommend making announcements like this to eight-year-olds. I do not recommend trying to be cute / subtle & asking them to infer your meaning.