Being a teacher doesn’t always end when we reach the time for packing up and lining up to go home. Yesterday a student needed me after the bell rang. So I showed up. I showed up through her tears, her anger, her confusion and frustration. I just tried to be with her. Sometimes, lots of times, really, we can’t make it better or give the best advice. I won’t lie to you when I say I felt as traumatized as she was after the meltdown. I’ve been focused on the bell, lately, if I’m being honest. I’m exhausted and eager to find space in my own head for my own thoughts. Amanda Watson calls this “decision fatigue”. My three girls are young adults now. It’s been a long time since I have had to rock them as they cried and shush quietly in their ears with my face pressed closely up against theirs. It was exactly what this little honey needed yesterday after the bell. I felt lucky and grateful to be the one to step up. When we live into all our believes and our core values line up with our actions we can feel deep integrity. Usually, this is my hope and goal during the time I am teaching. But yesterday, it happened after the bell.
They are home today,
sitting at the kitchen table playing a game.
Home from college.
Laughing about something called “Exploding Kittens?”
Asking questions about my work
Telling me stories about their other lives,
The first lives I am not a part of.
The lives they get to have all to themselves
I love it though
I am building a new one, too.
A new . . .
This is the time of the year I can get dragged down by the monotony of preparation. I’m so grateful for Slice of Life Writing in the month of March because it forces me to engage and dig deep into reading and writing. Spring is a magical time of year to rediscover and reinvigorate our enthusiasm and wonder for reading and writing. As teachers, when we do this for ourselves it can overflow into the classroom. I admit I spent way too much money at the bookstore this weekend! But it is 100% necessary! It is life that I inhale and exhale into my teaching. Without my own personal reading and writing, how can I justify every task my students do all day long. Yes, they will use reading and writing to function and engage with others. But also, there is a possibility it will help them to uncover who they are and who they want to be! I’m still trying to figure out who I want to be at 43 years old. I think that is pretty exciting, don’t you?
This is not a piece of advice. It’s a reminder, a command, a nudge I need to give myself this Monday morning. I’m tempted to stay under my covers and snuggle with a book. But how will I ever write if I don’t live in my own experience. Good or bad, the experience is what will move me forward. What if I saw today like a canvas? What if I walked through my life with the eyes of a writer, uncovering truth? What if I became aware of my journalist lens? Today, I’m going to observe and see what I see.
I need to be excited and grateful. This is a week of reflection and gratitude. I will be going against my grain to turn outward instead of inward. This week is a week of big deals and big feels. There is not a week during the year like this one. The week leading up to Easter Sunday can bring a lot of distractions. Basketball, spring break, observations and report cards. There is a ton going on. But I need to remember to focus on what is important . Sacrifice is a word I would like to carry around with me this week. What sort of sacrifices to we make for others, do others make for me. My students often get anxious and worried around vacations, any time we have a change in schedule, really. So why not challenge myself to make some sacrifices. What might I learn from keeping my head in the game and bringing some sacrifice for others?
It’s been a year like no other. I am being put to the test of wills, stamina, patience, all of it! But there comes a time to shut down the yuck and live into some happy! This weekend the gift I am giving myself and my family is the gift of happiness! There will be no talk of school or challenges. There will only be renewal. I am planning a trip to my favorite bookstore, a walk in my favorite woods, and time to heal and celebrate all the hard work I have done. Writing it down here makes me feel so free. I hope tomorrow I have lots of fun stories to tell about my day. I’m looking forward to making my story today.
My husband is amazing. There are so many different hobbies and interests he has. He is even known among friends as Renaissance Man! As a paraprofessional in a classroom with children with autism, he has a lot of hard stories at the dinner table. About a month ago he bought and apron and chef hats for his students! When I came home from school fresh cinnamon rolls were on the counter. This morning, I had the best cinnamon roll of my entire 43 years of existence! The butter. The frosting. Every last flake on the plate was consumed with complete appreciation. I’m so lucky. My husband cooks with kids.