“Thanks Dad! Wait, I mean Mr. McCall. Thanks, Mr. McCall.”
This happens at some point every week and truthfully, I don’t mind it at all. I run my classroom to be a family, and things like this should happen if I’m doing it right. What those 8 year olds don’t know is that when they call me Dad, it evokes more than just a simple little laugh and smile when I reply with, “You’re Welcome.” They are telling me much more, and it is my duty to give them that. Honestly, I give myself a little high-five every time they do that. It means I have really gotten to them, and no evaluation standard can tell me otherwise.
Those little beaming blue eyes staring at me and mistakenly calling me Dad reminds me of how important I am in their life. I am more than just the Dude behind the Desk. I am a huge part of their little lives. I am helping raise them and in all honesty have a lot of say so in their experiences in childhood. It is my responsibility every day in some way, shape, or form, to give them tools necessary to survive this thing we call life and not just how to regroup in subtraction. They are with me longer than they are with their real families in some instances.
I mean take a second and think about that. Their time for over 180 days that isn’t spent on Minecraft, playing Rec League ball, or eating drive-thru on the way to another activity includes me. Their conscious hours and memories for the week have me in them. That’s a lot of responsibility. I didn’t sign up to raise 8 year olds, but in a way, I did. It might seem like a novelty that “I have the future leaders in my classroom,” but I assure you we do. We get so caught up in unpacking standards and worrying about testing that our role as a Hero gets lost as frequent as homework.
Manners have to come with math. Social skills are as important as social studies. How to handle girl drama is as a top priority as giving an assessment on some days. It isn’t the subject matter, but the subject that matters. Call me Dad, Mr. McCall, Coach, or whatever. I’ll answer to them all, because they are all important.