And we are off and running. A much calmer run than the past two years, but the heart rate is up, the endorphins flow and ebb, the end is far and the starting line is beginning to fade into hindsight. The class this year is 10 students smaller and exponentially sweeter, gentler, and kinder than the past class. On day two I realized they may become one of my favorite classes ever, the one that I remember in the future as being a time of joy of being together and loving learning together, and standing up against the bad times together.
It all seems sappy, I know. But it was the cookies that did it. I got cookies today--a month into the school year. An entire tube of girl scout peanut butter sandwich cookies. They were on my desk when I returned from the morning rush of high fives and I forgot my homeworks and it's Friday Ms. Mitchell! and, and, and...there were cookies. I asked who gave them to me as we lined up later and no one took credit. Well, one kid did but he was teasing. Then a shy little hand went up and the girl attached to it said it was her. I thanked her and quickly calculated if I could split 10 prepackaged cookies into 29 parts to share as a whole community...still working that calculation out 2 hours later as tears welled up in my eyes.
The cookies, it's the cookies making me cry. The sweetness of the gesture is touching, but the tears are because the cookies mean more than 10 carb laden treats given from an average student to an average teacher. They represent a beyond average little girl. She is a bright, amazingly respectful, caring child who comes from extreme poverty--she takes a school provided food box home with her every weekend. Her family receives help from the community resource office at their low income apartment complex to provide enough staples to nourish them. There are no cookies or sweet treats in those food boxes or community room food pantries. And this child got some cookies from somewhere. And this caring child wanted to share her fortune of sweet treats with me, her teacher, on a sunny Friday after a week of rain.
So, I sit here eating my leftover mac and cheese staring at the cookies and thinking how to share my good fortune with all of my students. So, today's math lesson is going to be how to divide 10 cookies into 29 parts--cause the best fortune (and sweetest treat) I have to share with this class is learning and this little girl and her classmates are going to get their fair share.