As soon as I started reading Touching Spirit Bear class meeting became “talking circle.” It just felt right to them. We ended state testing yesterday after a long intense week. You could feel the atmosphere in the room, a mixture of relief and riot. I had terrible static cling and nothing will ever convince me that it wasn’t a direct result of the collective pent up frustration of 29 children, 1 teacher, and 1 useless proctor.
I hand this week’s item, a squishy penguin I picked up at the ICE conference to my first friend. His hands shake as he takes it. He has big news. Some frown, other widen their eyes as he begins. It’s clear something is coming. Something big.
Then the damn breaks. His father has been given a teaching job in Africa. He is moving at the end of the year. Shockwaves. I swear I see a few sparks out of the corner of my eye.
We ask him questions and give him time to talk. He is excited and nervous. We are excited and nervous for him. Each child connects with his experience, shares their emotions, offers thanks to classmates, a few apologies are made. This is the second student who has told of an impending move at the end of the year. There are no squabbles this week.
It starts softly. Like a storm far out on the horizon. A brief flash. Sniffle. Did I just feel a rain drop? Sniffle. Sniffle. Tears. Then the sky opens up and explodes. Weeping. Bawling.
Then they are all crying and hugging. It’s been a hard week and they have a lot to let out.
The storm eventually moves on, leaves the air fresh and moist. The room cleansed. My skirt suddenly flows freely, the electricity gone. Then like a blast of sunshine the announcement comes. All testing is finished for the day. So we all go outside to play. Splashing our feet in puddles.