Today, for just a moment, I turned around and suddenly the whole school seemed still. You must know that a school full of 2nd - 4th graders is never still nor quiet. For a moment, however, I felt as if I was deaf. The motion seemed to slow. Parents wanted to talk to me. Students needed me. Faculty needed me. Yet, for a moment, it all seemed to come to a screeching halt as I gazed at my students, most of whom were sitting on the new mats engrossed in their novels.
Today was testing day. As students finished each section, I asked them if they would like to take a break. Would you like to color? Play a game? Do you want some water? Do you need to use the bathroom? I received a shrug. Every single child shrugged and asked "Can I get a book from the library?" Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. You absolutely can! This, on its own, almost brought tears to my eyes. Each child flew to the library, careful to keep at least one foot on the ground to ensure that their speed is still walking, not running. I almost felt guilty asking them to tie their shoes on the way to the library. I'm cutting into their library time. It's causing impatient shaky shoe tying. I don't want them to trip and fall on the way to the library. My brother broke his collar bone from an untied shoe.
Each child went off the library and stayed. Eventually, all of them finished the first section. I use this opportunity to collect scrap paper and set up the next section. Time passes. None of the children return. They must still be in the library. I should probably start them on the next section. I walk towards the library and then I pause. I can't move. I just watch. Children are cluttering the floor mats, each curled up with a book. How can I disrupt this? This is the epitome of success. I've succeeded. I've nurtured book worms. I've nurtured a passion for reading. At least half of the students 'hated' reading at the beginning of the year. Now, I feel guilty peeling them away from their books. They're so intense. I'm not even sure that they are stopping to blink. It sounds cliche, but I'm sure that I can hear a pin drop. Not one child even stops to readjust their position.
I briefly contemplate getting my camera to take a picture. This moment needs to be captured. Yet, I know that this moment will only remain in my memory. I can't take a picture. A picture will ruin it. A picture just won't do this moment due diligence. I want to show their parents. I can't. I'll ruin it. Instead, I just sit in the doorway and wait. I wait for a break in the serenity. It doesn't come. I wait for just one child to talk to ask to use the bathroom. It doesn't happen. I wait for just one child to put a book away due to lack of interest. It doesn't happen. It pains me to break them away from their books. I console myself as I remember that this is the first of many moments to come. This is just the beginning.