Problems in First Grade
The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

Problems in first grade? Yep, that's right!

But, thank goodness, the really SERIOUS ones occur rarely. It's the not-so-big problems in first grade that happen WAY too often!

What am I talking about? I'm talking about the first graders who think everything is a BIG DEAL. After all, they're little kids, and they're always trying to figure out how this thing called life works!

I view these small problems as teaching time also. I hope to help the students learn a couple of very important lessons about life ...

  • When it's appropriate to laugh AND when it is inappropriate
  • When something is serious OR when we should brush it off and keep going

To do this, I try to use my common sense and a big heart ... hopefully, just like their Mommas and Daddys would want me to!

But as usual, oftentimes, I'm the one who ends up learning something about life! lol

The Frustrated Artist

After I had given instructions, along with examples of the art project, the students were allowed to talk quietly to their partners as they worked on the lesson.

Martin bombarded Ema with questions about her project. "What is that? What are you making?"

Ema was deeply involved with her clay creation and ignored him, or so I thought.

He hadn't noticed, so he continued. "MAN, that looks GOOD! What's that gonna be? Huh? What is that?"

Finally, Ema stopped and leaned into his face. Looking him square in the eye, she thrust her little chin forward, and hissed, "Listen, I'm SICK and TARD of being ERUPTED!"

The Four Seasons

"Who can name the four seasons of the year?" I asked the class. This was a review lesson, but the problem was no hands were up.

"Weesie?" I said.

"Me?" She silently mouthed the words to me, "My hand's not up."

"Tell me what you think."

"I know you got four..." She squirmed in her seat and appeared to be in great pain. "Oooh, let's see ..."

Bless her heart! She was making it into a BIG DEAL.

"To tell the troof," she moaned, "the only one I 'MEMBER is football."

Where's My Pencil?!

Stevie was upset with Clarissa. "Teacher," he announced, standing and pointing at Clarissa. "That girl borrowed my pencil today when it was long. And look at it now," he blubbered. "It's a baby!"

The pencil was a stub. So, to try to calm him down, I took the pencil in question over to Clarissa. "Is this the pencil that Stevie loaned you this morning?"

"Yes," she replied.

"It is? Well," I continued, trying to slip in the words, "it's not a big deal. I was just wondering what happened to it."

She shrugged. "I don't know."

Stevie jumped out of his seat again. "I think you do! I think you do!"

I had never seen him so angry. I thought he was going to lose it.

"Just for that," he demanded, "she can go and ... AND ..."

Clarissa held her breath and looked at me. I looked at her, and then we both looked at Stevie.

He blasted, "And buy me a not sharpened one!"

At her age I would have been too afraid to say a word to an angry boy, but Clarissa didn't hesitate. "Okay," she replied, softly.

Then, taking her cue, he took a deep breath and said, "Well ... okay."

* * *

Whew, that was firey! I was about to pull Stevie to the side and have a heart-to-heart talk, but I didn't have to say a thing.

Often, what seems like is going to be a really big deal to little kids - and to teachers and parents - turns out to be just fine whenever we adults stay out of it!

Anyway, that's how it is around here. The kiddos, themselves, solve many of the problems in first grade.

Haha! They could teach the world politicians so much ... I know they teach me tons!


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