Gratitude 11/26/15

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Thanks to BigTime Literacy for a Thanksgiving Linky!

I have so many things to be thankful for:  my family, amazing friends, my home, a job, Netflix… But of everything I have, it is my son that brings me the most joy.  I am grateful for every moment that I spend with him.

♦  Showing me all of his creations, including “Viral Cat Video” comics.

♦  “Mommy, I lava you.”

♦  I was at work before the kids arrived, not having the best morning when my phone rang.  It was Troy, telling me that he finished his Diary of a Wimpy Kid Old School that he had been reading.

♦  When given a choice to research and write about anyone, he decided on Stan Lee.   And boy was he cute!

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♦  He looks up at the sky at 5:30 in the morning and notices the stars…comments on their beauty.  Once not long ago, he would make this walk up to Ma’s house very differently.  He would walk, see the moon, and howl.  (He had an obsession with wolves.) Now just sixish years later, he sees something very different.  In these almost ten years on Earth, he has grown.  He continually impresses me.  And at some moments it hits me…I LOVE this kid more than anything imaginable.  He is my world and I couldn’t have imagined a better one!

 

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“Everyone is smart in my classroom.”

Today is the last day before Thanksgiving break and I have to say I am exhausted!

Working with children all day is tiring.  Meeting their needs academically, socially, and emotionally takes energy.  Planning for and teaching each child in a way that it will make sense to him/her takes energy.  Entertaining them so they will listen to what I have to say takes energy.  But, all of that energy is replenished when they learn.  Each time the light bulb goes off or they tell me something they are proud of, my energy is replenished.

Unfortunately, this year I am feeling exhausted from more than just spending my days teaching.  I am feeling exhausted because I feel like I must constantly fight for what the kids need, for what is best for them.  Entering education, I was aware that I would need to be an advocate for children. However, I didn’t realize how much I would have to fight for them and I am feeling run down because of it.   Although the children and their successes help encourage me, I am still doubting that I can continue in this profession for much longer.  I am tired.

But, as long as I am their teacher I will continue to do what is best for them.  Recently this meant differentiating assessments, just as I differentiate instruction – defending my choice to do so.  I want each child to feel as though he/she is smart, capable, and valuable.  I have high expectations for every child, but they are reasonable expectations.  I want each child to learn how to struggle and persevere, without feeling like a failure.  I want each child to know that he/she is smart.

So, today, I want to say thank you to a young writer in my class.  She has encouraged me without knowing it or intending to do so.  Her informational writing topic was 3AB (our class) and one of her sections had the heading Smart.  Here is her writing and my reason to continue during these times that cause me to doubt:

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Dear Brother

Dear Brother,

You say regrets are weakness.  I have regrets, but I am not weak.  One of my regrets is drifting away from you.  When you were a kid, relating to you, spending time with you was simple.  As you grew and life became more complicated for me, I didn’t know how to spend time with you, or even talk to you.  I guess I stopped trying.  We are no longer close and it is my fault.  I regret that.

You say smiling is weakness.  I disagree.   Although I don’t agree with or understand your reasons for enlisting, I am proud of you.  I am proud because it is what you wanted to do and you did it.  You didn’t let naysayers deter you from following the path you wanted to take.  This is why you are strong.  I hope that you find contentment and, dare I say, happiness.  I hope you find reasons to smile.  And most of all, I hope that you find that smiling is not a sign of weakness.  It is simply a sign that you have things in your life of value and you recognize them.

You say not to look back at the past, Surprise!  I disagree!  Ma was right (as she generally is) when she told you that the past makes us who we are.  It isn’t something to be forgotten or ignored.  We are who we are because of our experiences.  We can learn from it, grow from it.  The past can also teach us, and our past has taught me about the person I want to be, mistakes I never want to make, and relationships I want to have.  Don’t forget or ignore – learn.

So, we disagree, you and me, on many ideas.  That is a fact.  It is also a fact that we are family.  I am your socially awkward, stubborn, liberal, bossy older sister.  You are my stubborn, persistent brother.  You are in the Army.  While I hope you write, I’m not counting on it.  But, know that you can count on me.  I will be here.  Regardless of what you do, say, or think – you are my “little” brother.  I don’t have to agree to be proud, or to be a friend.  I am proud of you and I love you.

Stay Safe,

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