Trust and time.
And listening. And relationships.
And belonging. And sharing stories with students.
Their stories. My stories. And listening
to their stories no matter what.
The cat stories, the lunch stories, the stories of suicide.
Staying late. Arriving early. Showing up.
Saying ‘I love you’ and ‘I am proud of you’ and meaning it.
Reading aloud to high school kids. Often. Writing with students.
Sharing with students. Admitting I’m wrong. Saying ‘I’m sorry.’
Putting aside what I’m doing when a student comes up beside me, to listen.
Knowing that every shared note, every piece of writing, every ‘hello.’
Is a love language.
As are the crumpled pages, stomped feet, long tears, and reluctant hugs.
Be gentle and listen deeply.
Ask questions. Remember details. Remember names.
Notice when the room settles into silence.
Remember then to wonder why, to ask how.
Read cumulative folders. Listen to families.
Stand at the door. Say ‘hello’ and say ‘goodbye.’ Text ‘HEY.’
Ache at the so longs. Check in.
Drink coffee, together. Honour them all.
Be open. When a student pulls me off task, do all I can to find the function.
See past the tapping, the staples, the Snapchats, the swear words, the rule-crossings.
Sit in silence. Share stories.
Eat the leftover food the students bring, made in Home Ec, and the baking students bring from home.
Laugh loudly. Laugh often. Smile widely.
Display student work.
Say ‘thank you.’ Mean it.
Cry with them. Get tired.
Get to the end of the semester, June 30-degrees-with-no-airconditioning-and-resounding-pride.
Love students. Explain my thinking. Explain it again. And then, differently again.
Let kids design the space, even if it’s messy and asymmetrical and might smell.
Try new things.
Teach what excites me. Teach what is needed. What is messy, and hard, and healing.
Share what I read. Go on field trips. Explore.
Learn in a multitude of settings. Question my work. Challenge the norms. Challenge each other.
Respond with kindness.
Ask the children about my instruction, about them, about life, about home, for feedback.
Plan with others.
Seek criticism. Reflect.
Be grateful. Be mindful.
Share my students’ successes. Share mine.
Be irrationally crazy about kids. Breathe.