Being on maternity leave has provided me the opportunity to do many things, and I am only 5 weeks in! I have been able to really enjoy my family without the daily stresses of getting things accomplished for school. While I LOVE being a teacher, it has been kind of nice AMAZING, I must admit!
Closets have been cleaned out and better organized, multiple trips have been made to take items to Goodwill, I have been able to walk to pick up both my son and daughter from school everyday, make dinner, catch up with friends and neighbors, and most importantly, catch my breath. It makes me laugh a little to think that I may be more well-rested despite having a newborn, two BIG kiddos, and a husband, than I have been in months!
One thing I have loved about being on maternity leave is having the time to spend with my now 7-year old son. Excitingly, it was his birthday yesterday. One very cool thing that the first grade teachers do at his school is “Mystery Readers.” Every Friday at 11:40, a mysterious person comes in to read their favorite story before the kiddos head to lunch and recess. It can be a parent, family member, community member-anyone willing to come in and read aloud to the students.
Knowing that I would be on maternity leave and that April 12th is my son’s birthday, I was eager to grab that spot. My son’s teacher, Mrs. DeWitt, asked me to e-mail her four clues that the children would be given to try to figure out who the “Mystery Reader” was.
My clues were:
#1: Reads lots of books with kids at home and at work.
#2: Loves to play outside, run, bake cookies, and go shopping.
#3: Has three silly children.
#4:Thinks Sponge Bob is kind of funny and loves “The Campfire Song”!
With Spiderman cupcakes in hand and Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss, the classroom door opened, and I was greeted with the BIGGEST hug ever by my son. As my eyes got teary thinking about 1. how old he is and 2. that I wish he would be this excited to see me forever, he proudly walked me to the front of the room where I had a special reading spot and he had the chance to sit right next to me in the very front.
The book was a hit-the kiddos laughed about the idea of a bird taking them to Katroo for their special day. They loved the tongue-twisters, and especially the illustration of the boy pictured in only his towel-silly first graders…I even got to stay and have lunch with my son, which I LOVE to do! Cafeteria conversation in first grade is the best!
While I have worked for an incredible principal who used to come and read to students as well as take spelling tests in the classrooms right along with the kiddos, I thought that my 6th graders would even love this experience of Mystery Readers. Inferring based on the clues provided by our special guest. In addition, with the focus of the Daily 5-the students have the chance to Listen to Reading. They love to be read to, and would enjoy others-teachers, parents, community members to come read to them. It is an enjoyable experience to listen to others share their favorite stories. I will work to incorporate this into my classroom next year! Please let me know if this is something you have tried.