Ten Things I Love About Third Grade

Sometimes I get into a funk. A cloudy, hazy, stinky, stinkin’ “teacher funk.” Yeah, funks stink. Stank. They radiate into everything I see and do and can turn little blips into huge black holes of doom and despair.

It’s okay to go there, but if you aren’t careful, you get stuck there.

I can’t get stuck there.

One thing I find that helps is a peek into positivity so to speak. At first, it feels borderline sick, but eventually it can swing a mood the other way. I heard once that it’s hard to be stressed when you start to think of all the ways you are blessed. So with that theory, I am putting it into play in a very practical way…Ten Things I Love About Teaching Third Grade. Yes. Specifically third grade. Yeah, I can’t believe I am writing this either. Me. This is bound to be amazing then…

10.) The kids have jokes. Alllll the jokes. “What did the pie say to the fork?” and “what’s an astronaut’s favorite key on the computer?” Want a piece of me? Space bar. Hilarious.

9.) Speaking of hilarious, they really are. Like funny “haha” hilarious. Much more so than they were in first or even second grade. They get things. They can pick up on subtleties. They can be sarcastic in the best of ways. I saw it in the class I looped with. I used to exchange glances with Yasmin over everything once she hit third grade. She could throw down a joke with a straight face and kept us all laughing. Even with an entirely different class, I can even see it this year. Although their sense of humor is more sophisticated, they aren’t too cool yet for the silly stuff. Like if someone passes gas it is still hilarious…and if someone says the word “fart,” it’s over. Even though some may mistake that as obnoxious I really find the innocence of it endearing. It’s a wonderful mix of humors, all in one age range.

8.) I get to teach multiplication! There are SO MANY things you can do with that, I don’t even have to repeat lessons year after year. You can literally make anything a manipulative. The kids look forward to multiplying too, it is like some sort of right of passage for an elementary school kid. All they want to do is learn their “times tables.” Although the foundation begins here in second, we really dive deep in third and they feel so grown up and mathy with it. Seeing their faces light up when they find out they are multiplying is just heartwarming. Hashtag teacher dork. Yep.

7.) Speaking of teaching, I love the depth that get to with character. It seems rather surface-level in first and even in second (although it does get a bit deeper). In third though, it gets really real. I love analyzing complex characters and even my babies who do not yet read the words on the page are able to listen, understand, and contribute to discussions…it’s really cool. I think it goes back to number 9…their sense of understanding is developmentally a bit more sophisticated.

6.) Novels! The choices! They somehow seem more vast. That’s not to say that I am limited in second, but it is just…different in third. Different in a “let’s devour a novel right now” kind of way.

5.) Independence. It’s a real thing. They stuff their own folders. They tie their own shoes. They blow their own noses. They replace the tissue box when they use the last one. They don’t get on the wrong bus. They don’t cry on the first day of school. They don’t need the teacher to hold their hand.

4.) They can log in to things on the computer…and they know their lunch numbers! Okay, so that may be able to be paired with independence, but it feels like it is their own separate thing. It is such a time saver not having to teach either of those things and spend an exorbitant amount of time practicing them. Seriously. In first and even sometimes second grade I would have rather plucked the hairs out of my head one by one than get everyone logged on to a computer or go through that lunch line on the first day of school. Rough wasn’t even the word for it. Those issues were eliminated that moment I jumped into third.

3.) Fractions. On. A. Number. Line. The level of fun is just ridiculous here. Last year, I was dreading it but it ended up being one of the most fun things ever to teach. We even made life-sized fraction strips on the number line and oh my…hashtag teacher dork times two! I think what’s fun is that it is the foundation for some very complex stuff later and as it is the time when these things are introduced it is just so very appropriate to live in the land of the concrete for awhile which is just incredibly fun.

2.) They aren’t afraid to need me. Despite their independence, they still need me and don’t mind showing it. I get all the hugs, all the sweet notes, kids reserving spots next to me at lunch, begging to get called on to the point where I have to press the “random” button on Dojo just so I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. They all want to be the “teacher’s pet” and they all think I they are my favorite. They all want to be the favorite. This is the very thing warm-fuzzies are made of.

1.) These kids have hearts that are pure and kind. They are better than most adults. I don’t see hate, bigotry, or judgment. Just love. They can bond over Pokemon, mechanical pencils, tacos, Fortnite, and removable tattoos. In a world full of worry, concern, and frankly scary things, they make things seems more okay. Even after the latest debacle is shown on the news, I can come into class and be reminded that the future just doom and gloom. These kids can change everything and with what I see in their hearts, I see that for them…for us. Okay, so this one isn’t at all third grade exclusive. It’s all kids…but it puts my heart in a warm and fuzzy place, it gives us hope and that certainly deserves the number one spot.

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