A Little Rattled

I have been eye-ball deep in a new term for almost four weeks now and what I have come to know is that my best teaching days have nothing to do with curriculum. My best days are the ones when I’m tough, filled with loving my kids so fiercely that nothing slips by, so filled that we all go home a little rattled, a spark resonating. My best days are the ones when everyone has voice, when we take time to step away, to cry, to yell, to belly laugh, to sit in silence, to reflect, to nod our heads towards each other, to ask each other how we are doing and to listen to the reply or to play a game of ball. These are the best days. These are the beautiful days.

Sure, these days wipe me out and fill me up. But they do that to my kids too. These days make us all ask, what more can we do, what more, what more?

These are the kind of days that make kids skip one day to take a breather, and return the next striving for life-goals year after year. These are the kind of days that flood my text inbox with “Today was a good day.” They are the kind of days that bind. They make us more than family. They allow us to know each other. They are the kind of days that offer us moments of love, the kind of days that allow us time to understand.

My kids and I share stories about hope, grief and equity. Because we share, we know each other. For as long as I live, I will never stop fighting for my students. I will never stop while they don’t have voice, while they are in pain. I’ve taught at six different schools and today many of the kids I have taught remain part of my life.

These last few days have been confusing. These last few days have been the first time I have been told to stop lighting the spark within one of my students, the first time an outside influence has told me to give up on a kid. I don’t understand how those who profess to love their kids can simply use them in games, be abusive towards them, or be indifferent about them. I don’t understand how the best interests of kids can be, at times, so easily ignored.

Someone has to help me understand…

2 thoughts on “A Little Rattled

  1. Not knowing all the details of your struggles it’s hard to offer too much advice, not even sure that’s what you’re seeking.

    I will share something I heard Shelley Wright talk about once. I’m not sure I have all the details but I remember the punchline.

    She was talking to her advisor for her Masters and saying she felt like she didn’t fit in. Her advisor had an awesome response, “You’re not here to fit in”. I like that idea and have thought of it often when it seems my ideas don’t fit the mainstream or consensus.

  2. Ya, I often feel like I don’t fit in. I’m too, I’m too, I didn’t, and I’m too… These last two weeks even though I’ve been told to step away from helping a student and to hush, inside I know I am still seeking meaningful connections. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s crazy-easy-cozy to be well liked and well loved. But I’d rather my kids love themselves like crazy. And, after all, I’ve never really cared for cozy or easy.

    Yesterday, at 5:20 p.m. while standing on a chair drawing, I turned to one of my kids and said, “You will remember your choice forever.”

    I remember chatting with Shelley last spring about how best to empower our students. But after living this prescribed silence the last few days and now reading your comment, I think empowering kids is about living what I value. It’s about empowering me.

    Thanks Dean.

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