Blurry eyed and brain still foggy, I began my day reminding myself to pay attention for a moment to slice about. My other immediate thought was 3 more days until spring break!
Up and showered, tv in the background, I grab my orange juice and check the two writing teachers blog. It’s become part of my routine, especially in March. I see this: THE WINNER? IT COULD BE YOU! Oh that’s right, I want to see who won the comment challenge.
Click, blink, blink
Look away, look back
Let me tell you, I haven’t felt giddy in a long time. But today I felt that and more all day long. Excited, honored, humbled, grateful and so ready to learn more about writing.
So many emotions.
THANK-YOU, all of you, at the Two Writing Teachers blog and Highlights for this wonderful opportunity.
I was going to do it. I was going to let my 16 year old daughter and her friend paint her room, She had been begging me for a few weeks now and told me the colors and design she wanted. Finally, I relented and we bought the paint together. I still remember the colors: Shrek green and magenta. The plan was green walls with some type of magenta striped design.
At this point, my conservative inner voice is fighting with my desire to give my daughter a space that’s hers and she has created. I can always paint over it when she moves out or she gets tired of it… that’s what I tell myself. My other fear is the mess. “Please clean up your mess when you’re done girls,” I admonish.
After I help them, get paint brushes, move furniture and put down plastic and watch as they start putting up the blue painters tape for her design. I leave to do errands. I can’t resist another direction before I leave. “Try not to get any paint on the wood please,” I say as nonchalantly as possible.
Upon my return a few hours later, I find both of the girls in the backyard painting the basketball hoop backboard. Shrek green and magenta. I later discover that my garbage can is painted with a magenta heart and the saying I “heart” U. Upset, I give them a lecture, help them clean up and send the friend home.
Over the years, I’ve appreciated the heart garbage can. Especially on those windy days when my trash can blows away. I know exactly which one is mine. And my perspective has changed from annoyance to…. something else.
Fast forward 25 years. My daughter is married, graduated from college and living in Nashville. The basketball backboard has been painted over white. But the garbage can heart remains. I love it. My heart is happy each time I take out the garbage.
I teach special education in third, fourth and fifth grade. I sometimes feel like the 3rd wheel on a team or my own “special” team having my own special needs. (Don’t we all! But we won’t go there today.) In this slice I wanted to share a few simple examples of how I’ve felt part of a team this school year.
I was distractedly walking down the hallway, when a fourth grade teacher walks up to me, grabs me gently by the upper arm and tells me excitedly, “Hey Partner, you need to come and see the fraction test results. I’m so proud and excited about how our kids performed and you should see how much they improved” She was grinning from ear to ear and I couldn’t help smiling. It was contagious. Humming the rest of the way to my destination, I thought to myself, she called me partner and she said our kids and they’re growing!
I received a text last night from a fifth grade teacher.
5th: We should do the global read aloud in 2018… it kicks off October 1st
Me: Yes!! I’m 1000% on board.
5th: 4th grade wants to do it too.
Me: Sounds fun and exciting to share a book with the world.
5th: Right?! I think it would be so powerful for our kids to see outside themselves.
This text exchange made my heart soar. We had talked about this last year, but weren’t organized enough to make it happen. Go Team.
IEP meeting last night. Student has improved significantly. Last words said at the meeting. “Good job team. Let’s keep the momentum going.” I felt like it was a mental way of putting our hands in the middle of the circle, the way they do before a volleyball or basketball game. “Goooooo Jaguars!” I actually wanted to do that, I felt giddy with the supported feeling of working together to help this student.
You know, there has been a lot of talk lately of teacher self care and avoiding burn out. I find these simple things keep me going, feeling inspired, cared for and happy.
Light rain in the morning. I stop to notice. There is no wind, but the rain is cold and could possibly turn to snow soon. My footsteps pause and my computer bag becomes heavy on my shoulder, but I want to linger a few minutes more. Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, I can smell the fresh clean morning air. There’s that smell in a light rain that makes the whole world seem fresh and clear again.
It’s interesting to watch how everybody enters a pool in their own way with their own method. Me? I can’t be rushed. I start by dipping my toe in, then bending over to feel how warm the water is to my hand. If it’s too cold, I don’t even bother, but if it’s semi-warm then I sit on the edge and dangle my feet. Next I slowly walk down the stairs, begging people not to splash me, until swim forward getting my arms and shoulders wet. At last diving underwater and totally immersing myself gliding through the water which feels like blue jello.
My dear honey? He walks immediately to the deep end. Cannonball.
My grandchildren? Also very daring, sometimes even cartwheeling into the pool. (Tried to post a video here, but couldn’t make it work.)