Wednesday, November 11, 2015

High Point of the Teaching Day

I have several friends on Facebook and Twitter who list the high point of their day on a regular basis. It always makes me smile and reminds me of the good that goes on in our classrooms on a regular basis. I had many "high points" today...

Sharing Last Stop on Market Street with my three classrooms. Having them notice so many little details that I had simply missed my first time through.

Having reading conferences about book blurbs. Helping a few students craft them. 

Attending our Veterans Day assembly. Each year I get choked up. Watching the honor guard present the colors - men I grew up knowing in our town. Seeing all of the Veterans sitting with their families in the middle of our gym. Listening to each elementary sing a song they had prepared. Hearing a veteran from our town, the father of one of my former students, give an eloquent speech that included naming the 88 active members of the military from our town. So many students were named. I thought of each one and their ten year old face was what I remembered. How I love those kids.

Talking with my students about character. How each of them comes with a certain number of "chips" each day. That it is our job as a classroom community to give chips, not to take them away. (Thanks to my superintendent for that analogy.) 

All of these moments made my heart swell. Some happy, some filled with a bit of sadness, but a simply beautiful day. And then...

I rushed to Champaign for an appointment. After I was done, I headed across town to the bookstore. I had a mental list from my students. We simply "must" have more copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid Old School. It was ridiculous I only bought one. What was I thinking? And I had a request to buy at least three copies of Phil Bildner's A Whole New Ballgame. Finally, a student wanted A Pirate's Code after seeing it blurbed on Kate Messner's blog. Why not, I thought. 

I rushed to the back of the store, I needed to be headed home already. I waved to one family from my town and circled around to the back. Grabbing two copies of Old School, I looked for the Pirate books. Found them both. Then I saw one copy of A Whole New Ballgame. Bummer. The kids will just have to deal with it, I thought. Then I went to the other shelf thinking maybe there were more shelved there. To my happy surprise, there stood one of my students with her family. As we greeted each other, she held up a copy of A Whole New Ballgame. Her mom told me that she had begged to come just to buy that book. I grinned.

I have been reminded again and again this week that life is short. I lament often how busy I am, how little I get done compared to how much I want to accomplish. But really, today showed me what I really need to focus on. Students who are growing in their awareness of how they treat others. Kids that are finding new appreciation for picture books. Students who beg their families to make trips to the bookstore (and amazing mom's who take them!). And former students who amaze me with their dedication, choosing to serve and protect our country. My whole day was a high point today. I am beyond grateful to be just exactly where I am. 
Day made even better by Starbucks at the end.