Confession time: I can be very tenacious. I don’t doubt that my teachers when I was younger would probably have described it as being arrogant and stubborn. I chalk a lot of that up to surviving as a middle child surrounded by even more ‘tenacious’ siblings! But over time I’d like to believe that it’s softened into persistence and determination. As someone who loves solving problems, I love a good challenge. And when I come across something that stumps me (iPads, I’m looking at you) I don’t give up easily.
Tenacity is also a foundational trait in the “It’s Not Lost Until Mom Can’t Find It” file. It's no different as a teacher - just today I helped three students find missing documents on the computer….we really need to work on saving our files with more descriptive and accurate titles!
But on Sunday, I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t manage to accomplish anything around the house or for work. That night when I just couldn’t get out of my living room chair, let alone get my blog written, I knew I was in a funk. I’m sure it was missing my daughter after visiting her over the break in Calgary. I’m sure it was being alone all day when my husband and son were at work. I’m sure it was because I’m feeling a bit run down and likely coming down with something. I’m sure it was the cold, crappy, overcast weather. And the one thing I am most sure about: on any given day, a lot of people in our lives are feeling the same way.
Including our students.
Even big kids have days like that. Okay, especially big kids, sometimes. My daughter is in Nursing at Mount Royal University, and she’s had a stressful few weeks with midterms and papers. Her Sunday wasn’t going much better than mine, and in our phone conversation, my attempts at cheering her up kept falling flat. I finally (almost) gave up trying and told her: This is really hard. I don’t know what to say and I don’t know how to help you solve this.
Her response: I don’t need you to fix it. I just need you to hear it.
And maybe that’s all most of us really need, not just on the bad days, but every day. Someone to talk to. Someone to hear us.
One of my favorite educators to follow, Amy Fast @fastcrayon, tweeted this out this week: “The best way to manage your class is to like your students. It’s not a feeling; it’s a choice. Make the choice to connect. I’ve never spent time getting to know a student and liked him or her less as a result.”
Or another by Paul Ketcham: “What if school leaders shared these words with staff members each and every day? I believe in you. Your work makes a difference. How can I help you? Thank you. I value you. What do you need? What if teachers shared these same words with students every day?”
This week’s goal? Make sure I say them. Make sure I hear them.
Since that wasn’t actually what I planned to write about this week, here’s a 10 point condensed version.
This past weekend, I ate an Oreo candy cane.
1. Yes, November is a little early to be eating candy canes.
2. Yes, Oreo flavor in a candy cane is disconcerting at first. My brain was expecting one thing but my tastebuds relayed a totally different message.
3. It wasn’t as awful as you’d imagine.
4. Somebody, in a candy lab somewhere (maybe the north pole lol) thought this would be a good idea and pitched it. Someone in a position of authority trusted or believed in the idea, and approved it. And Oreo flavored candy canes arrived (yes, in November….) to a store near you!
5. Honestly, they weren’t amazing and I doubt that I would buy them again. But thank goodness for people who don’t just think outside the box, they throw the box away and start from there.
6. We didn't come up with the Oreo candy cane idea, but we have some amazing, creative, and innovative thinking happening at DCS right now. I really need to write more about it because I only have four points left on this list, and this is only a few! But in the interests of sharing, these are my favs.
7. School-wide reading time continues to amaze. Every person. Twenty-five minutes. MWF. Reading. It’s like a literacy marvel.
8. Multi-level senior ELA classes based on interests/themes. What a gift of choice for students. No offence to Hamlet, but selfishly thankful my son had this opportunity.
9. We love our DES neighbors and my 7/8s are awesome. Best part about prepping and serving daily breakfast this past week? Community building…everyone pitches in…no arguing…just doing…just visiting. Feels like a family Thanksgiving in my mom’s kitchen. (Did I mention without the arguing? Just kidding!!)
10. Staff passion projects. Mine will be a post for another day, but touching base with others at Monday’s staff meeting just reinforced that I work with some really great educators who are passionate about student learning and about making our school a great place to learn.
Only five days till Sunday, so keeping some thoughts till then lol. Have a great rest of the week!
Tervetuloa! Tawâw! Welcome!
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