Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Silver Linings

Skyping with Margie
Today could have been terrible, horrible even. I could have pulled an Alexander and believed I had the worst day ever in store, but I knew that if I could just get to school, it wouldn't be true. I've had some back issues for the last week. Yesterday afternoon the sore lower back decided that it would be a fine time to not only seize up, but that the addition of irregular muscle spasms would be terrific. Pain. I woke up this morning and it was the same, if not worse. My husband recommended I stay home. I decided to go to school. Home or school, my back would hurt. At school I would have 75 distractions to get my mind off of it. 

It was the right decision.

It was an awesome day. A day where we Skyped with Margie Culver about our Mock Caldecott winners. A day where we connected over story - Malala's story to be exact. A day where I introduced the kids to a new - to them - author, Neal Shusterman. A day where I got to share how disturbed I still am about Unwind, six years after reading it. It rocked.

But my favorite part of the day wasn't from a lesson, or any great insights from my students. It came in my 8th hour. I stood up to talk to the kids, to prepare them for their Skype visit. As I stood a muscle spasm went across my back, literally taking my breath away. Not wanting the kids to notice, I tried to keep my face neutral and just took a quick breath. Jayden piped up from the side and asked me how my back was doing. I was touched he remembered from yesterday and was observant enough to know that I wasn't doing great. I told them that getting old wasn't for the weak and we moved on. 

Jayden's comment made me look back over the day, to realize what I had been too busy to notice. They're always terrific, but forgetful. I often find myself absentmindedly straightening chairs, picking up pencils, charging Chromebooks when they leave each day. Today they cleaned up after every class. One boy grabbed the books out of my hand when I was putting them away and kindly told me to sit down. Many kids asked if I needed something done, if they could refill my water bottle, run something to the office, anything. My own sons had grabbed the books I was bringing into school today and took them from me, carrying them to the room. There quiet actions reminded me once again, middle school kids do care. It might not be in the flowery demonstrative ways of an elementary student, but it's there. I get less drawings with hearts and rainbows, less spontaneous hugs around the waist, but there love still shines through. Even, as in my 4th hour class today, if I need to give a lecture, the relationships we've established are an undercurrent in our community. The quiet comments in the hall, the kid that stops back by to apologize, it makes it all worth it.

Silver linings are there all the time.

Our class Mock Caldecott winners are below...
1st/2nd hour: Snow White -winner. Honors on the left and right.
4th/10th hour: The Night Gardener is the winner. Honors on the left and right of it.
8th/10th hour: The Night Gardener is the winner. Honors on the left and right of it.