It is the last hour of school before school is dismissed for spring break. I am going around to the classrooms checking in on students but I am preempted by a variety of activities. The grade 7 classes are positively gleeful, completing art projects and eating a variety of the mandatory carbs. I head over to the grade 4/5 class to check on some students. The teacher eyes me as I walk to the back. A group of students are excitedly presenting something to the rest of the class but i am not sure what is going on quite yet.
"Ms. G listen to this!" The teacher waves me in. The students see me and give me a hero's welcome - Something I no longer take for granted having done a stint as a high school vice principal. Their rousing applause and genuine happiness to see me felt great.
The four students standing in front of the class repeat their presentation for my benefit. I realize the four students standing in front of their peers have been elected by their peers for different student council positions. They are presenting their plan of action to the class. Point one is the implementing of a "feelings box." Students who are struggling with big feeling can put their concerns in the box and at the end of the week, the class will read the notes and find ways to problem solve and work with the concern.There were some other points about writing and performing a class play and some field trip that the teacher was agreeing to implement.
Maybe it's because I am tired and coming down with a cold, or maybe its because it has been an incredibly hard week but I am touched by point one's feeling box. I am fighting back some tears for no particular reason.
I note that 3 out of 4 of the students elected for class council have been in my office for one reason or another.
I do not get the opportunity to notice or observe progress, or impact or success, but this small peak into the classroom did that for me. The feelings box was point number one! These 10, 11 year olds are talking about feelings and including it inside their classroom culture! And for the last hour before Spring Break that feels like progress.