Last evening was our school's annual Harvest Festival. It's one of our big fund-raisers of the year -- it's mostly a kind of kids' carnival, with things like face-painting, games, a haunted house and pumpkin raffle. There's also first-class Mexican food and a country music band. Our Parents' Club puts a lot of work into this event, but I must admit that in 4 years I've never once attended. I feel (and rightly so, I think) that I put in more than enough time in many other activities.
However, this year I'm teaching a daily half-hour block of instruction to the 4th grade English Learners and had the idea of having my students gain confidence by manning their own table at the Festival. So I taught them how to make colorful tissue paper flowers and we've been a flower-making workshop for the past two weeks. They made banners, learned how to greet a customer and get them to buy a flower (not such a hard task when you're an adorable kid with a bright smile!). Excitement has been riding high among my 16 Hispanic and Portuguese students. Mostly, they don't see themselves as movers and shakers in the school community. However, when all the other kids saw what they were doing, they became the envy of their peers. I didn't mind a bit -- I figured it was at last their turn to ride the crest of the wave!
Last night was the big night. Flower selling started slow, but as the evening progressed, more and more people came to buy and it was a wonder to see how skillful the students were becoming at selling their wares. Sue and I moved back to sit on the bleachers so the kids could manage everything on their very own. And they did! They grew more and more sure of themselves as the evening progressed and completely took control of making sales, smiling, collecting money, counting change and thanking customers. Some of their moms had been in the kitchen, helping with the cooking of the Mexican food. Some came out to take pictures of their children standing behind the table, selling flowers. The children beamed. The parents beamed. The teachers beamed. Lots of beaming going on!
We sold out of flowers before the evening was half over. The students and I have a special cheer that we do after each class period, where we put our hands together and then shout as we raise up our arms. We did that last night in the middle of the multi-purpose room. Being their teacher is a lot of fun!
I drove home tired, but very,very happy.