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Monday, February 28, 2011

Aw Shucks

Not to toot my own horn, but Alonzo told me today that I'm his second favorite teacher.  So yeah.  I'm kind of a big deal.

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I'm fairly certain this pronouncement was precipitated by today's mini field trip.  We went out to the Metro station down the block to survey people for a project.  Basically we encouraged children to talk to strangers.  They got to hold clipboards and ask questions.  They got to be outside in the sun on a mission.  They got to have busy grown-ups (including one who Michael referred to as "a fancy businessman") give them their full attention.

It was almost as awesome to the third graders as the time I brought in some foam clocks for practicing telling time.  The dollar aisle at Target had yielded an excellent deal, so I bought a few and brought them into class the next day.  As I took one out of the package, Donivan watched in amazement and declared, "You're the best teacher ever!" I handed it to him to use on an assignment and his gaze never once left the clock's googly eyes.  I'd like to imagine that this designation as "Best Teacher Ever" was coming after Donivan's deep reflection on the whole of his experience in the third grade and about how much he'd learned.  But no.  If you, too, have $3, you may just well become the Best Teacher Ever also.

Today, though, was at least not so much of a "Buy me stuff and I will think you're awesome" moment.
We had returned to school from the survey-giving and were working on something else, when Alonzo came up to me.  I'll assume that just prior to that he had been engaged in a deep reflection on the whole of his experience in the third grade (which just happened to include today's outing) and about how much he's learned.  He delivered the compliment with a huge smile and waited for me to soak it in and get the warm fuzzies.

Now, in the world of adults, "second favorite" means "You're good, but you're not the best," which really just boils down to, "You're not the best."  Gee, thanks for rubbing it in.

But for eight year olds, the standings are what the standings are, with no hidden implications.  Second favorite in a carefully ranked order is a pretty awesome position to hold, and worth sharing with the honoree.  "She will feel enormously complimented!" Alonzo must have thought.

And so I accepted Alonzo's pronouncement as a genuine appreciation and thanked him.

It did beg the question, though, "Who is your number one favorite?"  "My kindergarten teacher!" he replied.  I mean, who can beat that, really?  I'm quite content to be Alonzo's second favorite.

5 comments:

Sally said...

You are completely right to accept this compliment for the gift that it is. Congratulations for ranking!

Nate said...

I wonder if there are other examples of compliments that while genuine if coming from a third grader, would sound back-handed coming from an adult. "You're smarter than some of my friends"? "You dress better than one of my aunts"?

Sarah said...

We just can't compete with Kindergarten teachers!!! Still, it's quite an honor to come in at number two :)

Anonymous said...
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Sarah Garb said...

It's sort of a stacked competition when kindergarten gets naps....