I recently informed my new third grade Bible class students that I have taught the third grade at our church since Swimmer Girl was their age. Which means this is my tenth year teaching third grade. Which also means I was teaching this class since before these students were born. Whoa.
I’d like to think that fact impressed them, but I suspect some of them were doing some sketchy mental math and concluding that means I’m REALLY old.
My age aside, I am firmly convinced that third grade is really and truly great.
Not convinced? Consider these criteria:
- They are old enough to grasp some fairly complex ideas and facts and young enough to have fun doing it.
- They are mature enough to get through class without a bathroom break. If they do need a break, they can go unaccompanied. ( That is HUGE for a teacher – can I get an Amen?)
- They are big enough to play challenging games, but they are still shorter than me.
- They are willing learners, and when all else fails, they can be bribed with Jolly Ranchers and Oriental Trading trinkets.
- They bring their teacher sweet gifts at Christmas-time. They ooh and ahh when I give them their own Christmas mug with homemade marshmallows. We all believe in Santa and we all pray for snow and snow days.
We are like peas and carrots, my third graders and I.
During our time together, they let me into their world by telling me about their sports or academic accomplishments. I tell them about my dog and my family. We talk smack about our favorite college and pro teams. (Football is a fabulous time of year.) Each class writes a story on my heart that remains long after they move on. Best of all, “my”girls greet me with hugs for years after they are in my class. The boys grin and wave “hey” when we cross paths, even when they enter middle and high school. My ego would like to think it’s because I’m an awesome teacher, but I know it’s because they are awesome kids.
Even though third grade was arguably a challenging year for me growing up, it’s the age I seem to be at ease with now. (Which could be the Santa factor…) But whatever it is, I adore watching them begin that awkward transition between young child and tweener – they are my pride and joy, and every year I say I’ve got the best class ever, because they are.
Of course, this is Week 3 of the fall quarter. By spring, I might be marking off the days until promotion Sunday rolls around.
Here’s hoping that for every class, there is a teacher who thinks their students are the bees’ knees and and that he or she has the absolute best grade ever.