Friday, May 20, 2016

Year 6: Week 35 – Twins

This year I’m teaching eight sets of twins. Even with keeping in the mind that this is spread over four different grades, I find this pretty incredible. This is the highest number of sets of twins that I’ve ever taught in a school year.

In my elementary school classes, twins are separated into different classrooms, so I rarely seem them together at the same time. Yes, the identical twins can cause me to mess up names, but it usually isn’t that much of an issue because groups of names in one class become connected after looking through my grade-book over and over. We don’t do very many things as a full grade, so I rarely see these twins interact with each other.

This changes in 5th grade. The classes get mixed up for different projects and we go on a 5th grade retreat.  I begin seeing twins in different contexts outside of the music classroom. In middle school, all the band kids in a grade meet together, so that’s when I observe the interaction between twins in class.

Some pairs of twins completely ignore each other before, during and after class and others interact as acquaintances.  I understand.  Having a sibling in school can be challenging and having a sibling in the same class can add another layer of awkwardness.

Other twins are more affectionate: Two sisters holding each other’s hands and walking down the hallways when they think no one is looking. Two brothers who always sit next to each other at lunch and in class laugh with each other while making jokes at each other’s expense.

Last night, I witnessed one of these heartwarming moments during our Spring Concert. The high school band was on stage and I was waiting backstage with the 6th grade band. The song that was being performed on stage had a danceable beat and right behind me were twin sisters, dancing along with the song. I saw this in the corner of my eye and my initial thought was that I needed to stop them. It was important that we maintain a level of focus before performing and I didn’t want everyone else in the band waiting backstage to join in with this dancing.

I turned around and put my hand up to signal to stop them and then I couldn’t help but smile. Their dancing was isolated, no one behind them really noticed, (they were being pretty subtle).  Seeing the smiles on these sisters’ faces as they danced together was simply too joyful for me to stop.

I have an older brother, but I can feel that there's something different, something special about twins.  Most of the time teaching twins doesn't require any special attention.  However sometimes you need to be careful (I've had a twin be protective of his twin when I redirected his brother's behavior).  On those rare occasions when their guard is down and twins find comfort in each other, it's a beautiful reminder of meaning of family and the beauty of sibling-hood.

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