Friday, September 7, 2012

Small Moments

This week – as all weeks seem to be in teaching – is drastically different from the last. Last Friday I was grouchy. The temperature was 84 but the heat index was over 100 degrees. Add a brick building built in 1894, residing on the top floor, no air conditioning, and 24 sweaty kids and you would find one crabby teacher. This week as a whole, however, was wonderful. I love the start to a new year, anything is possible. Unfortunately, I tend to rush at it a million miles per hour. This week, I took a breath.

The heat stuck with us but I, fortunately, had slowed down. For that I’m sure my family AND my students are grateful. And the best thing about slowing down is the noticing. The small moments Calkins tells us to teach our students to look for. They are there but when I’m running from one thing to another, I miss them. And truthfully? I’m a better person when I notice these tiny moments, or these tiny positive experiences. I’m more grateful and more centered. A better teacher, mom, wife. Here are just a few from the past few days.

My students lit up this week when I passed out bookmarks from Joanne Levy, author of Small Medium at Large. They were so excited, but when they saw they were signed? Holy smokes! Crazy, happy children.

Feeling very “popular” by wearing my WONDER t-shirt. When 230+ students are reading this book with their teachers and you walk the halls at school, you get many positive comments. When you tell the students that “THE” RJ Palacio sent you the shirt, well you become a rock star.

A boy in my class that freely admits he “might” have read three or four books last year finished his 19th graphic novel in 14 days. We celebrated, hugged, got him a pat on the back, and then he went back to reading.

Realized that since our “viewing” of one crazed Mr. Sharp proclaiming his love of reading and that “real men read Babymouse” over 1/3 of my students have read over ½ of the books in the series, we took a photo of our “Babymouse fan club” in my room today. 20+ kids out of my 71 reading students have read at least one Babymouse book in the past 14 days.

And finally, the realization that so many parents make – time flies. I’ve been holding my niece lately and I clearly remember my boys being that age. Chris was out of town this week so they have “camped” out in my room at night. A line from Cynthia Rylant’s The Relatives Came popped in my head last night:

It was different, going to sleep with all that new breathing in the house.

I lay here last night – Liam breathing his stuffed up type of breaths next to me. Luke’s sighs. Bally, the dog’s, whimpers. I felt peace, contentment. I woke Bally and took her outside for one last trip before bed. The sky was dark, and the stars were out in force. I stood there, waiting for her, and felt small, somewhat insignificant in the scheme of things, but it such a calm and reassuring way. Not sure I could describe it. I do know this. I need to slow down more. Here’s hoping for another week just as peaceful, quiet, and inspiring as this one.