Today I held an ice cream social for all of my students who read at least 25 books this school year. Well, most of them anyway. They did have to document it by keeping a list of books they read. And this year I had quite a few students who I know read like crazy, but who never showed me their list, which was a little disappointing.
Parties like this are actually a lot of work – reminding my students a billion times about what they have to do to qualify, then tracking down the kids who’ve met the goal, making passes for them and getting them to the students on the right day, fundraising and shopping for supplies. When I was a student, it seemed like parties like this just happened because they told us they were going to happen. I never thought about how it took a teacher (or a parent or volunteer) deciding to hold the party and then planning and organizing it.
But despite how crazy my celebration days always are, I love holding them. The school where I work is a very middle-of-the-road school, and we have a lot of students who can be challenging to teach and work with. It’s very easy to get bogged down in the negatives – the kids who are failing, or getting in fights, or just generally causing problems in the classroom. But we’ve also got a lot of really fantastic kids who are doing really fantastic and interesting things, who are learning and reading and growing in the ways that their teachers hope they are. It’s always nice to have a reminder of that, and to have a chance to focus on those kids and spend time with just them.