Tag Archives: cute little kids

Photo Friday: Nephew Number Three

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Last spring my family celebrated a wedding. This spring we welcomed a new member of our family! I have to say, being an auntie is one of my favorite things, so I was thrilled to meet my newest nephew a couple of weeks ago.

You might notice that the baby has oxygen tubes in his nose. His lungs have some catching up to do, but he’s doing great and is back at home with his parents now. Hooray!


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Things That Children Have Given Me

When you work at an elementary school, sometimes children give you things. Sometimes those things are very sweet, but they are usually also hilarious. Here’s a selection of “gifts” that I have received.

Sometimes kids give you things because they just want to get rid of them. It’s like handing something to your mom that you don’t want to carry anymore. Around Halloween I was walking past some kindergarteners who were packing up at the end of the day. A girl was clearly having trouble fitting this construction paper pumpkin into her already bulging backpack. Then she saw me, thrust the pumpkin into my hand, and said, “Here! I made this for you!”

In case you couldn’t tell from the hinge on his stomach, this is a ceramic Santa jewelery box! It was actually given to me by the student of another reading tutor. She and her sister very sweetly got presents for all the Reading Corps members. She told Sara, her tutor, that she liked my jewelery box better, but she couldn’t give it to Sara because she’s Jewish. Oh Christianity, always scoring me the best ceramics.

I was actually surprised by how few Valentines I got from my students. Kids usually get pretty pumped about various holidays, but I guess the Valentine love didn’t extend to reading teachers. I did, however, get this adorable homemade Valentine from one of my girls. I’m particularly fond of the imperfect use of pattern scissors. And not to brag or anything, but another girl gave me a mini-box of chocolates.

Here is another example of being in the right place at the right time. I was walking past some first graders packing up their backpacks. For no apparent reason, one of my former students handed me this beauty. I can only assume that he didn’t want it for himself, and thus decided to pawn it off on the first female passerby. Or else he strongly associates me with stickers, which is also possible. Sometimes the children seem to think that my sole purpose is to give them stickers.

Moral of the story? If you want to score some swag, work at an elementary school.

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Courtney Coherent, Circa 1997

In honor of my first day of tutoring, which happens to be tomorrow, I decided to share a photo of myself at age eight. Should I inspire my third graders with a Club Stephanie book?


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Going Back to Kindergarten

Last week was the first week of school, and the MRC members were seemingly in limbo. We can’t start working with students until we figure out who we’re working with, and we can’t start assessing the students until next week.

Luckily the start of classes added new possibilities to our workday. For the first two days, we helped the kindergarten teachers with patrol duty before and after school. I was clearly the weak link in that chain, having opted out of being a crossing guard in my own elementary school days. My ineptitude became so apparent that I surrendered my flag to a coworker. After the second day, older students take over as crossing guards.

On Wednesday the fun really began. In what I consider a wise move by the Minneapolis Public Schools, kindergarteners start two days later than the older kids. My school’s three kindergarten teachers made it clear that they would take all the help they could get from MRC members. Speaking for myself, I was itching to meet some kids, so we didn’t take much convincing. The next three days were absolutely fun and absolutely exhausting.

When you’re in a classroom as an extra helper, you get to do a lot of observing. I spent time in three classrooms during the first week of school. In any group of kids, it doesn’t take long to see who will probably cause the most trouble. It’s no surprise that five-year-olds sometimes need to be reminded of what they should be doing. I don’t begrudge them that because most of the time there’s no ill intent in their behavior. It’s just the two or three kids who actively disobey that cause the most headaches. Let me tell you, kindergarten teachers need boundless energy and the patience of saints.

By the second day, I decided to stick with one classroom. I had learned the kids’ names and some of their personalities, so I reasoned that I could be most useful with that group. You forget how laborious simple tasks can be when you’re five years old. Things like going to the bathroom, standing in a straight line, or finding the right bus. My job often boiled down to crowd control, making sure that the line kept moving and nobody was left behind.

Then again, five-year-olds appreciate simple things too. One of my favorite activities was helping with “stations.” The actual purpose was to familiarize the kids with “manipulatives” they would be using in math workshop, but to them it was just playing with toys. One day I manned a station with foam letters. I encouraged them to spell their names or other words they knew, but there was a big variance in reading skills. Instead some kids put together random letters and asked me what it spelled. Just to be silly, I sounded out one of the nonsense words. Little did I know this would be the funniest thing ever. Soon every kid at the table was making up “words” for me to read.

In typical Courtney fashion, I became attached to the kids in three short days. Now I’m a little sad that I won’t get to work with them once I start tutoring. The kindergarten teachers made it clear that we’re welcome to stop by whenever we have extra time. The flexibility of my schedule remains to be seen, but I’m making a point to visit my kindergarten friends. Even if it means taking a nap after work.

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Courtney Coherent, Circa 1998

I started at an early age. Before my feet could touch the floor, in fact.

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Never Fear, Cute Little Kids Are Here

I have spent the last two weeks at my service site, along with the other three MRC members assigned to the school. School doesn’t start until next week, so why are we there? Well, we need to start logging hours, for one thing. But more importantly, it’s a chance for us to get to know the building and the staff before we’re descended upon by adorable little hellions.

The first thing you need to know is that my school is awesome. The teachers have been very welcoming and excited to have us there. Of course, right now we’re just an extra pair of hands for assembling bulletin boards or making name tags. Hopefully that positive vibe can continue when we’re pulling kids out of their classes for tutoring sessions. But really, I could do without putting up another bulletin board for a while. I have ripped paper off those big colorful bolts and cut many a letter from the fancy die-cut machine. All these things appeal to my inner scrapper, but I’m ready for the main event.

Today was when our hard work started to pay off. There was a back-to-school open house for families, and we were there in our MRC T-shirts and polos. The empty hallways that have become familiar were suddenly full of people. After three weeks of training and prep work, it was powerful reminder of why we’re really here. We don’t know who we’ll be working with yet, but it was fun just to soak up that energy. There are so many cute and hilarious kids. My favorite moment was seeing a little girl who I met last week when her parents came to register her for school. We smiled, we waved, and I thought, “Hey, I know someone already!”

Forgive me if this post is a little sappy. I’m just so genuinely excited to start the school year. And where can you gush if not on your blog?

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