We all get a bit sick of each other in the second grade from time to time. We're together all day, through math and lunch and we all troop off to visit the bathroom as a class as well. In such close quarters for so much of the day, many quarrels, disputes, and annoyances crop up, and I hear about all of them via notes in my classroom mailbox. Often my solution is to give the warring parties a few tips for how they might resolve a particular situation, to let them develop the skills of figuring out a way to resolve the rest, and to lighten the mood a bit by reminding them as I walk away, "You don't have to be best friends and you don't have to get married, you just have to sit at this table next to each other."
"Married!" I imagine them exclaiming after I've left. "She said married! Eww! Now what were we arguing about again? Oh well, I guess we'll just do this subtraction work we were supposed to be doing all along."
When two kids have been particularly getting on each other's nerves for a while, however, I sometimes move their seats around on the carpet, in line, or at the tables for a little change of scenery and to prevent further conflicts. True, every once in a while I actually encourage conflict and arguing, but only to prove a point about dictatorship. Usually, though, harmony and learning subtraction are the goals.
After a long stretch of togetherness in between school vacations, however, everyone's nerves get worn a little thin. After school one day during the week before our spring break I got a note from NaKyra with a request.
Unfortunately for NaKyra, I don't quite have the power to just "send someone away." Her note makes me think she was hoping I could perhaps vaporize her carpet neighbor, or to at least banish Paul to a faraway land. Well, I suppose I sort of do have the power to banish someone to the opposite side of the rug, but I wield this power sparingly. "You don't have to be best friends...." I told NaKyra the next morning, hoping that their disputes over rug territory will lead to them finally figuring out a way to coexist.
Now, after a week of spring break, a week of not seeing each other, and a week away from the close quarters of the classroom, I'm hoping that everyone is polite, pleasant, and more tolerant of an accidental bump here or there. Crossed fingers for smooth sharing of pencils, tables, and rug tomorrow!
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