I cried in front of my class today.
And no, they didn’t torture me or each other to the point of tears. (Remember, I have super fourth graders! They’d never do that!)
I cried today when I read Number the Stars to them. Though it’s far from the first time I read the book to a class, it is the first time that I cried while reading Chapter 17 aloud. (Last year I got really chocked up, but didn’t spew tears.)
Last week I had students depict the scene that was the most emotional for them. The scene that affects me the most every time I read it comes from Chapter 17; when we fast-forward to 1945 and learn about Peter’s fate and of his final wishes. I remember crying the first time I read this part of the book alone, but have always managed to keep it together, until today.
I was prepared, with a tissue in my pocket. As soon as there was a catch in my voice, K. stood up and tried to grab me a tissue, but I told her I already had one. I caught my breath and heard nothing but the sound of my own breathing, in the room, as I did.
Once I gained a little more control, I continued to read the paragraph, the wetness from the tears smearing my mascara underneath my eyes. Still, you could hear a pin drop in my room. In fact, when I looked up from the page, two other students had tears streaming down their cheeks. Two more had extremely red faces (and were blinking back tears), and about four others had tears welled-up at the base of their eyes. What a sad, but wondrous moment, to all be connected with the same feelings of sadness as we read this text together.
I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).
I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.