J survived her first week of fourth grade at her kind-of-new school (two other schools merged with hers). And I survived a week of lunch duty, which I can now smile about.
Change is hard for most of us (I am looking right at you, self!). And when many people have to do something completely different, with dozens upon dozens of new faces, in a place they are not used to, well, you should not expect sunshine and lollipops. At least not every day.
After my first day of lunch duty this week, I wanted to cry. It was chaotic at times. There are 140 more students than there were last year, and of those students, probably 160 are new to me. So I cannot call many of them by name to get their attention or correct them. In the case of the last lunch (there are three), I have no idea who is in what grade since they can sit wherever they want, which means I often don't know if the correct kids are heading out to recess (we call them a grade at a time).
Throughout this week, I saw some kids sitting alone, kids completely ignoring me and other lunch monitors, kids getting up and walking pretty much whenever they felt like it, and kids practically anywhere but in the line they were supposed to be at the end of recess.
But by the end of the week, I saw a lot of good things: Some kids from different (original) schools sitting together when they had not before. Kids sitting back down when I called them on their trying to sneak out to recess before I called their grade. A group of young kids enthusiastically playing along to my impromptu game of Simon Says and following the directions very well. A young kid who just yesterday tried to run away from the adults when recess was over who today let me take his hand and walk him into line, where he stayed until his teacher collected the class. Fewer kids getting up and wandering around during lunch (and some of the wanderers sitting right back down when we made eye contact). And almost every single kid getting into the correct line at the end of the recess, so they were ready to be picked up by their teachers.
Ladies and gentlemen, we made it through one of the most difficult weeks at the school, and we came out better than we went in. And I feel hopeful.
And I want to leave it at that.
Have a great weekend. Hopefully you get to rest from your labors on Labor Day. If only everyone did!