Another quality of our school is that we see each other as friends. Not that we don't have issues from time to time. Manners are overlooked sometimes, tattling happens, names called, etc. Me too. Rarely do I think back at the end of a school day and think that I did everything right. I get short. I run out of patience. I can be too demanding. I am human. We all are. But, we recognize that humanness and still seem to love each other.
We can also have fun with each other. The classroom is what Ralph Peterson calls "Life in a Crowded Place". I admit that I can be a teaser. I do not tease to scorn or hurt feelings. It's just part of who I am. While I do dish it out from time to time, I can also take it.
Part of our informal atmosphere is casual Fridays. The kids are always pretty casual. In fact, our only dress code is informality. Shorts on a hot day. Tennis shoes or sandals. It makes school picture day really special when the girls come in with their hair done, wearing their pretty Sunday dresses, the boys in a dress shirt and slacks. Most can hardly wait for pictures to be over so they can take turns in the restroom changing into more comfortable attire.
I used to wear a tie a lot to school. I have a bunch. Some are plain, others gaudy. I have one with Wizard of Oz characters on it. So last week, I decided to wear a tie. No particular reason. Why not? I figured I would receive a few odd looks, because none of the children in the school have probably ever seen me in a tie. No big deal, right?
I am sitting at my table when the kids come piling in from their early morning time in the great room before 8:00. The time sort of snuck up on me and suddenly there they are. One of my little guys with a great sense of humor (also an occasional teaser) busts into the room and stops at the door. Without missing a beat, he drops his book bag on the floor and does a classic, super-exaggerated, double take. "Whoa," he exclaims, his eyes fairly popping out. Looking me right in the eye with a big old grin on his face he says, "Why didn't somebody tell me that this was some kind of weird dress up day? If they had, I would have worn a costume too!" Every child within earshot burst out laughing. I walked over and gave him a noogie.
"Thanks, man. You look great too." Like I said, I dish it out. I can take it.