Saturday, October 24, 2015

Celebrate This Week

Man alive, if ever I needed Ruth Ayres' weekly celebration, it is this week. I listen to podcasts early each morning while I walk Rosie. Last week I heard someone mention the "October Blues" that teachers go through. That really resonated with me. You go, go, go all through August and September, just trying to get the year started. Then, October hits. I feel like it is never "enough." I cannot teach enough, find enough time, be present enough, etc. It is a struggle.

Last year was my first year I had reading and writing to teach to all three of my classes. Previously I had taught reading only to all three, writing to my homeroom. I lamented all year long that I didn't have enough time. This year? Ten minutes less each day. It is not enough. And yet, it is what it is. I'm trying hard not to stress. To know that what I do matters. But then I look at what I haven't covered yet instead of what I have and I worry. Ugh. 

This morning, however, I am choosing to find time for celebration. I am celebrating what has mattered this week. Celebrating what good can come from the bad. That is what matters. That is where I will find room to grow. 

So I choose to celebrate...

My son, Liam, didn't make his fifth grade travel team. He was crushed. I was crushed for him. But today I'm celebrating the fact that he will find new ways to grow, new teams to be on. That he has learned that failure does not define who we are. He (and I) will grow from this and be stronger. I celebrate Liam becoming who he is meant to be. 

I have many students who have experienced tremendous loss in the past year. The loss of a parent or loved one is the greatest fear of most children (and adults). I hate that they have had to experience this as children. However, I am so proud of these kids. We are in the middle of our personal narrative unit. Many of them have chosen to write about this. While this has been the hardest and most gut-wrenching writing conference of my teaching career, I am so proud to sit beside them and try and help them write through this. I celebrate their bravery.

I am not near as far along this year as I have wanted to be. It is easy to see the holes, the items not crossed off on my "to do" list. Tuesday was the National Day on Writing. Many people were sharing on social media the importance of writing under the hashtag #WhyIWrite. I opened it up to my students on Padlet, asking them to share their thoughts. When I sat down to read them at lunch that day, I cried a bit in my car. They got it. They truly did. That is all the growth I need at this point in October. We may not be where I wanted to be at this point, but we will get there. Of this, I am certain. So, to wrap up, I celebrate these brave voices below - my fifth graders.