Tag: hope

i believe

believe in….

Trust and time.

And listening. And relationships.

And belonging. And sharing stories with kids.

Their stories. My stories. And listening

to their stories no matter what.

The cat stories, the lunch stories, the suicide stories.

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 a silence.

Remember then to wonder why, to ask how.

Read cumulative folders.

Stand at the door. Say hello and say goodbye. Text HEY.

Ache at the so longs. Check in.

Drinking coffee, together, honoring 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.

Listen.

Trust.

Ask questions.

Sit in silence. Share stories.

Eat the left-over food the kids bring, made in Home Ec, and the baking brought 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-air-and-resounding-pride.

Say sorry.

Love my kids. 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.

Share what I read. Go on field trips. Explore.

Learn in a multitude of settings. Question my work. Challenge the norms. Challenge each other.

Challenge oppression.

Respond with kindness.

Ask the kids, about my instruction, about them, for feedback.

Plan with others.

Seek criticism. Reflect.

Rest.

Be grateful. Be mindful.

Share my students’ successes. Share mine.

Trust deeply.

Be irrationally crazy about kids. Breathe deeply.

Repeat.

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An Earned Prize

When I graduated from high school in that section in the yearbook where graduates share their future dreams, I wrote that I hoped to someday win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

My dream to change the world through story.

I published a bit of poetry, wrote my thesis as a narrative, dabbled in prose, but I know deep in my bones the euphoria of living alongside students as they come to know themselves as writers.

This week a student of mine earned the Currie-Hyland Prize for poetry, one of the most prestigious awards given to a high school student in Saskatchewan. And he earned it.

He writes well. Words that ruffle our rootedness.

But the award was messy. He has trouble accepting praise. When the magazine arrived I told him I would be sharing his honour the next day publicly over morning announcements.

And I did. And the sharing still bothered him. ~He is bright. And I am honest. The sharing wasn’t only for him. It was also for me.

The sharing of the award conveyed, in some small way too, that through my student’s challenges to navigate traditional senior ELA courses there lives a brilliant mind, brilliant poet, and most importantly, a capable learner.

And this, I know, is my Nobel Prize. It always has been. When students achieve success. When students achieve belonging, independence, mastery, & generosity, my inner world steps up to cheer.

So. Now we educators run full-out towards June. We find creative ways to help students meet outcomes with fidelity, and I wonder, in all of our work, what is our hope for students? And is it a poetic-run towards their Nobel or ours?

Red Shoes Series: fine fit

~ for Alan

Del said

When I figured things

Out, I could buy red

Shoes.

I have a pair of nearly pink

Flats. I bought them

Years ago. They pinch

My feet.

I found red runners that I wore

When I sat my ethics

Review.

The runners are candy

Apple red,

New, and they have no

Grip on my soul.

A year ago, I sipped coffee wrapped

In warm morning

Light and my heart

Understood Del’s

Meaning.

The feel of Adirondack

Chair, well worn

Home, and sand

Stone.

We are a fine fit.

Red