This day is absolutely gorgeous here in south Louisiana. I love spring! I hope you are all having a great day. I am thankful for Saturdays.
This past week I had several opportunities to observe some of my sweet teachers and post conference with them about the lessons. I love talking with teachers about teaching and learning. The teachers at my school are young and open. They are honest and curious. I love that! How blessed the children are to have these people.
I am not sure if reflection is a natural process for everyone or maybe it dulls as we grow older. This thought made me ponder the following thoughts.
I am wondering what reflective questions you ask yourself in your teaching. What is the inner conversation that happens in your mind as you plan, teach, consider student work, and replan? Is your inner conversation natural or did you have to develop it? Is it your own or does it follow a program? What makes you reflective? What prohibits reflection in your school? How do we create a culture where reflection is valued?
I am dedicated to a minimum of one post a week. Well, I have made two weeks! WHOO HOO!
The weather is dreary and the words "yucky" just keeps popping into my mind. The one positive is I have a great new book. I am reading one of my favorite authors ever, Philip Yancey. His books, The Jesus I Never Knew and What's So Amazing about Grace changed my life, helped me get into all kinds of issues, and sent my faith into a really different direction. I was looking for something to kind of get me out of the rut I am in and there was Yancey's Soul Survivor. The book is interestingly a book about the 13 people's books and lives who changed Yancey's life. COOL! He was changed from someone's work, wrote, and now I am changed from his work. I love it. As always, Yancey is challenging. If you want sweet lovey dovey feel good about yourself, SKIP THIS AUTHOR! If you want to be knocked in the head, stabbed in the heart, thrown face down before GOD, and then cry out in repentance....read YANCEY!
I am also reading for my dissertation. Much of what I am reading concerns the idea of hope teachers bring to children. I love the material. For me life is like a great train ride. You go from station to station. On one part of the journey you sit with some really great people. Then you arrive at a station and some depart, wave at you, and you continue on meeting some new people and hanging with some of the old ones. Sometimes you leave the train to explore the station and city beyond, but then you get called back to the train for another leg. I have spent my life trying to be sure if the current station is one to visit or if I should change trains or if I should just remain still for a few more stops. We sometimes miss the train we were meant to take or we get too comfy at a station and don't want to leave. We get upset when others buy a different ticket and try to make those we love take our exact complete ride. But, we all have our own journeys.
A teacher is the person you meet along the way who sells the maps. A teacher shows you all of the possible destinations and NEVER says, "You know, this city, well I don't think you can go there." A real teacher says, "Um...that trip may be hard, but I bet you can get there if you are patient." Hope is the passenger we all want to sit with on the train. We love the conversation Hope has with us as the fields, meadows, mountains, and rivers pass our window, because Hope points it all out and makes us aware of what we can be.
Yancey is one of my favorite teachers. I have never met him except in the pages of his books, which I have taken with me on many journeys. They have made me take a different train many times in life. I hope this week you have the opportunity to show a child a map and be the HOPE passenger. At the end of the journey, I do not want to be found having missed the stations that were meant for me, but more importantly I do not want to be the reason a child lost hope and missed his or her ultimate destination.
I am not the best blogger. I have decided to write "Go blog" in my planner and stick to it. Hopefully someone out there reads it. The world is so "in your face". The kids of this age are so open and yet maybe a little closed. They post when they are brushing their teeth, but they hide behind a screen. My 12 year old made a comment about someone being very social because he played online games every night. The person is one of the least social beings I know. How the children see things so differently! I am pondering whether we are creating a more social culture or one more guarded by the lack of face to face interactions.
February is my LEAST favorite month as a teacher. The newness has worn off, spring standardized testing is looming, everyone is stuck inside to often, and Summer is in view. The first year February was bearable was the year I began teaming. I finally had some other people who shared my frustrations and encouraged me. I have had some experiences in the last few weeks, which make me know the face to face interactions I have with teachers invigorate me and fuels my own passion. We are very social creatures and need encouragement. We also need to encourage. Opening doors and listening is one of the most powerful gifts we give our peers.
So, as I sit here hiding behind my screen, I am making myself a challenge to interact with someone different each day this coming week. In that interaction I will make a concerted effort to encourage and reflect. I am wondering what will happen.