The other day one of our school's fifth grade teachers asked if he could do a lesson with my kindergarten kids and his fifth graders. I was not allowed to be present for most of the lesson, so I don't know exactly what went on while I was out of the room, but I can guess.
He read to them a story by Shel Silverstein, titled, The Giving Tree.
If you've never read The Giving Tree you should. It's a story of unconditional giving, a concept that is difficult for some adults to understand, much less a child.
I'm not really sure who learned more that day, the fifth graders who listened, and helped my kids to understand, my kindergarteners who might have learned a little something about being selfless, Andy who now realizes he could never in a million years teach kindergarten on a regular basis, or me.
Now I'm sure you're wondering what I possibly could have learned if I wasn't even in the room. It took some thinking on my part, because at first I was really just glad to have the break from my class for a few minutes. But then I was presented with a gift. As part of the lesson, my kids wrote me thank you notes.
Thanking me for everything from giving her a smart brain, to extra recess, to stickers to marshmallows. Lots of kids thanked me for marshmallows, but more about that in a minute.
One of my favorites came from a little girl who just a few days before asked me, "Mrs. Collins, are you TRYING to be the meanest kindergarten teacher." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but then I got this from her and it made it all better and I have to admit, I got a little weepy.
The next day, I ran into Andy and told him how I thought it was funny that so many of them thanked me for the marshmallows. I've taught these little ones so much this year, and all they remember is the marshmallows?
And then he said to me,
"Lisa, Twenty years from now those kids are going to remember the marshmallows and you'll know you made a difference."
So who learned more that day?
I think I know the answer.