This is the picture I got…. but this was not what I had been watching, quietly crouched behind a tree in the morning hours of early spring. I came here hoping for a sighting of some migrating birds and water fowl. The park was silent and I was loving it.
As I came around the corner of the pond two beautiful wood ducks swam out into the open from that brush where the trees are reflected in the still, calm water. I froze and then hid and watched while holding my breath. My camera hung useless around my neck, forgotten as I became lost in the scene before me.
Wood ducks are rare here and in that moment, I felt like someone had given me a golden ticket. It was as if I’d been rewarded with a very special treasure. I finally remembered my camera, clicked it on and pulled it to my face. Just as soon as I got ready to take this shot, they flew off and here’s what ended up on my camera… no ducks.
However, as I walked away, I was smiling thinking about my missed photo op.
As a special education teacher, I’ve never been a big fan of AR (accelerated reader) quizzes. There are a couple of reasons for my bias. These quizzes bring an unnatural pressure for students to “fake” read for points. You’ve probably all experienced the students that …. watched the movie, then took the quiz or had a book read to them, then took the quiz or simply never read the book at all and then miserably failed the quiz. BUT, have you ever experienced this….
This happened in a 4th grade classroom, students are require read books at their “level” and take an AR quiz at least 1 per month. As I’m checking the quizzes and scores, I see that one young man has read such books as Big Bird’s, Big Book and Elmo’s Countdown to Bedtime. Not only that he’s flunking the quizzes. Hmmmmmm
This student is actually a wonderful reader, however, not my best rule follower. Still, I was surprised when I discovered this and called him over to tell him how disappointed I was that he wasn’t taking this assignment seriously. I needed to find out what was going on. Was he being silly? Was he rebelling against the AR quizzes? Was he showing off for friends? All these questions went through my mind.
His answer, “I didn’t do that Mrs. Worrell.”
“Well, if you didn’t do it, who did?” was my rather haughty reply.
After some lengthy investigation, the general education teacher and I discovered that there were two young ladies in this class that were playing a trick on him. They’d found out his password and entered those books and quizzes on his account. Well, well, well. That was a first for me.
It was early Saturday morning and it was just that perfect morning for a walk along the river. Baby blue skies, calm and gentle breeze, with spring in the air. I grabbed my coat, camera and coffee, hopped in the car and drove down to the Platte River. Perfect! There was only one other car there which meant I’d have some quiet time for refection and observation.
It didn’t take long. As I started down the path, I could hear the meadowlarks. They were back! I stayed so very still, listened…….. looked. I could hear them but still didn’t see one. I walked gently into the dry meadow where green grass was just starting to peak out. It was hard to stay quiet as my feet crunched beneath me.
There he was.
Once I saw him, I began to see and hear more of them. I must have been getting close to a nest, because there were a pair of bright yellow meadowlarks flying and singing. They were really trying to divert my attention. As I kept listening, I could hear a soft chirping of babies near me and understood. I slowly tiptoed back to the path and continued my walk… smiling. Happy to slow down for a few moments.
As I walked along, I thought about my students and how sometimes they make a lot of noise and commotion about some minor issue. Or how in my relationships, there will be an argument or disagreement about…. well… I’m not sure how it got started. Could it be a diversion from the real problem? I listen to them, but do I hear and understand? Will it be like the meadowlarks? The more I listen, the more I’ll hear.
This word was chosen because I was tired of giving up, running away and hiding my head in the sand. If there was any push back in life I gave up. I preached stamina to my students, but I didn’t have as much as I wanted in my own life.
This word was chosen because I wanted to increase my follow through on personal goals for myself, my relationships, and my profession. I was determined to be intentional about….. about life.
Now, when I grow weary of the fight, I think of you… determined….and I remember to push a little harder to find a way to break through the walls of a student, a wayward daughter, or an intimidating challenge. Determined to stay and not be afraid.
For me it is frightening to confront conflict, to speak out, to be assertive about my beliefs and this year I have been determined to find the way that works for me.
My word has made given me confidence, strength and well, dare I say it… determination.
I want to thank you for your support, OLW and want you to know I will continue to keep checking in on you as the year goes on and I continue to grow more determined in everything I value, cherish and hold dear in life.
A few years ago I took a class called visual literacy. In today’s world much of the information that our students see is visual. The title of the class intrigued me since I’d never thought of literacy as being visual. Then I remembered when teaching reading recovery how I taught the young ones to use picture clues to help them with comprehension. It’s true that we take in information visually all day long, we determine settings, make inferences and synthesize the things we see.
I had a quest for this trip besides the obvious of spending time with family. My quest for wildlife was to see and photograph a Harlequin duck. I’ve never seen one! I was not successful in my quest, but take a look at all the things I encountered on my journey. It reminds me that goals are important and even if we don’t always reach the ultimate goal, we gain unexpected insights along the way.
For my slice today, I’m sharing some beautiful moments of my trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington state visiting my daughter and finding some other beauty on the way. Please enjoy my reflections through these photographs.