Thursday, March 12, 2015
The Difference a Couple of Minutes Can Make
Because I had left my bag of papers in the room where my team was working, I found myself walking across the playground at recess to retrieve it. My path took me past the wall ball courts where I spied one of my students, by herself, hitting a ball against the wall. Next to her, at the adjoining court, was a boy. He, too, was playing by himself. I smiled as I walked past, remembering how I used to play this game when I was in second grade. I also thought about the words I had written on my blog just that morning, about taking the time to connect with my students, to not always be in such a hurry. I abruptly came to a stop, turned back around, and headed over to the court where my student was playing.
Hannah must have been surprised when I grabbed the ball and hit it against the wall, but she didn't miss a beat and hit it back.
"This ball doesn't bounce very well," I remarked.
"No, that one is better," she said, indicating the ball the boy next to us was using.
"How are you supposed to play wall ball if the ball doesn't bounce?"
We continued to play anyway, dashing forward to hit the ball that didn't go nearly far enough. After a minute or two, I handed the ball back to her and thanked her for letting me play with her. Then I joined the boy for a game. He wasn't one of my students, but he didn't seem to mind, if the smile on his face was any indication.
"This ball is much better," I said.
Perhaps because of that, or because my skills are a bit rusty (it has been almost 40 years after all since I last played), he hit one that I couldn't return.
"Ah, you beat me! Good job," I told him, and I continued on my journey to pick up my papers. Walking away I made note of the smiles on their faces and knew there was one on mine as well. My smile only got brighter when I noticed on my return trip that the two were now playing together.
I don't know if my impromptu participation in their games made an impact on their day, but I know it made one on mine. Those few stolen moments reminded me that there is still so much joy and fun to be found in teaching. And it only cost me a couple minutes of my time. I'd say that was a pretty good deal.