Taken Back To “Dunsiger Day” And The Gift Of Connections

Many years ago, I taught at a school where I had the opportunity to provide prep coverage in addition to teaching my own class. I was really excited about this, as I got to spend some of my day down in kindergarten, even though I was then teaching a junior grade. I still remember these kindergarten periods despite the fact that during reorganization at the end of September, my prep coverage schedule changed, and I was moved out of kindergarten. The teacher in one of the classes was very open to me still coming by, and I had so much fun with her students that I used to go and join them during some of my preps.

One child in particular really stuck out. On my first day in this kindergarten class, the child never came in from recess. It turns out that the vice principal was outside getting her out of a tree. She decided that she wanted to stay in the tree instead of coming inside. When she did come back to class, she was not happy about being there and cried. I spent a lot of time connecting with her as we played together on that day, and our connection stuck. This child was one of the youngest ones in the class, but her age was not indicative of her personality. She had strong opinions, big emotions, and loved to push everybody to think differently. And we really connected … In fact, we connected so much that I became her “reward.” The teacher had a sticker system in place for this child, and after a successful week at school, the child decided that she wanted her reward to be a period with me. I went to pick her up in her classroom during my prep, and we went upstairs together, toured the classroom, had a chat, read a book, and drew a picture. It was one period to connect … and that’s what she wanted: a connection. 

I still remember that morning, when the student was told that it was a “special day.” Here was her reply. 

I think about this “Dunsiger Day,” when I watch children at my current school come back to visit my teaching partner, Paula. Often they do so under the pretence of getting a spoon, fork, or straw, but really, they just want to see “Mrs. Crockett.”

  • It’s about getting a hug.
  • It’s about her asking about last night’s soccer, hockey, and/or basketball game.
  • It’s about them discussing favourite hockey players. 
  • And it’s about her listening — openly, without judgement, at any time of the day — about how things are going. 

I teach in a wonderful school with amazingly supportive staff, students, and families. I know that these children are loved, but I also know that every child needs a champion.

I see how many kids Paula champions, and I realize the tremendous value in these positive connections. As part of our PA Day yesterday, we spoke about “caring adults.” I love how our principal, John, explored how many different adults in a school can be a child’s caring adult. Children connect with various people for various reasons, but the key is that they have these connections. Sometimes there are problems, and students need to know that they’ll be loved, listened to, and understood. And, I think, that no matter how much they may have these connections at home, they also need these connections at school. What are your thoughts? The “Dunsiger Day” from over five years ago, reminds me that we all need our people. Imagine if spending time with someone special continued to remain the greatest reward of all. 


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