Thursday, May 28, 2015

A moment of silence.

One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a moment of silence.  I'm blessed that the state of Tennessee requires this, and I'm blessed by administrators who give the full minute every day.

I try to use the time wisely - to put aside all that needs to happen first thing in the morning - attendance, notes, reminders, greeting students - and to focus on having His blessing for the day.  I pray for the students who walk the halls at the high school next door.  I pray for the students who will sit in the chairs in my room throughout the day.  I pray for the students who will sit there in years to come.  I pray that He uses me as He needs me to help prepare my students for the lives they face.

It means a lot to me.  They never know, but it always makes a difference.  It makes my day, well, more.  It gives me perspective, patience, and a sense of calm.

I can always tell when I allow the morning cacophony to crash throughout my brain.  It's easy to be distracted by the world and its demands.  But that time needs to remain focused.  It needs to be an intentional training of the brain.

Silence.  A time to focus on what I hold to be most important.  Those things worth doing should be done well.

I begin the year in silence.  Several weeks prior to school starting, I begin sitting and praying for the students who will occupy those seats for the next 200 days.  I pray that I follow His lead in providing what the student needs.  Whatever it may be -- that I help them on his/her path.

That doesn't mean I will always agree with that path . . . what is important is that He knows what that child needs far more than I do.  It requires faith, trust, and a willingness to take turns leading, walking alongside, and following.  He knows far more than I do; I am simply an instrument.

There are times throughout a year when a class needs refocusing.  Again, the moment of silence . . . the moment of surrender to a greater purpose . . . the moment of letting go helps every single time. 

I don't shout it from the mountain tops, though the conversation definitely lifts my mood.  It doesn't need to be announced.  Most never know how vital that moment is to me every day.  After all, my job really shouldn't be focused on me.  It should be focused on my students and their needs.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

End of the year musings

Well, another end of the school year has come and gone . . .

The room is packed up tight, desks stacked in the corner, chairs tower over them.  My workspace is wiped clean - no papers, no clips, no books scattered about.  The plants are gone, the printer sits quietly in the corner.  The cords are unplugged, the colorful messages packed away.

I dislike the end of the year. 

It's not that I don't enjoy summer - I do.  I love lazy mornings, having time to write, being with my kids.  I love the pool, spur of the moment activities, seeing family.  I love reading, thinking, dreaming, getting organized.  I embrace this time every year.  It's a time to see things with fresh eyes.

But I miss my students.

I was laughing the other day -- being a little dramatic as usual.  In the office I was saying, "You give them to me for 200 days, tell me to care about them, encourage them, make them love reading, writing, and engaging in their learning; then you rip them from me and send them off to find their life."  It was dramatic - done for effect - but in my heart, I miss them. 

Sometimes I think a teacher may be the only person who really understands.  Now I celebrate from afar - most are at the high school across the football fields and parking lots.  I look at it every morning during our moment of silence and think of them before during back to the new ones in my charge.  I hope that they will find successes through challenges; that they will love and engage in what they are learning; that they will carve out a unique life path that will fit.

I still miss them.

So the end of the year brings some sadness with it.  It's a time of letting go and trusting.  Trusting that the seeds were planted in fertile minds, trusting that lessons will echo, trusting that it's really not about what I did anyway.  I was there to help, encourage, and care . . . but the hard work was done by the student. 

So I step back.  I smile.  I face a new group and care - knowing that the end of the year will come again.  It's worth it.