Last slice. Am I ready for my last slice? My Last Chance to share my perceptions (or Misperceptions), Questions and thoughts on this Incredible platform of writers? Ready or not, I must Embrace this Last Time. I confess, it has not been easy and has taken loads of Perseverance to write every week (especially this Last Week). Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday came and went with their usual Repetition, yet this time around, the Slice of Life Writing Challenge gave them a unique and Irreplaceable meaning. This Last Month has brought Tears and Illogical (at least they seemed not logical to me) events. Yet this writing challenge brought with it an Unplanned Balance. Every moment I sat down in front of my laptop and began to reflect in Silence about what I wanted to share, I realized I was trying to make sense of my day to day experiences as an educator. This journey not only allowed me to develop my writing skills, but it helped me feel more at ease. An Educator’s Path is definitely not an easy one. Last Night, I stared at the picture of the path on my blog. If you notice, the narrow path may not look too challenging to walk on, but one side has a rickety fence that you can hold on to for support, only for a portion. The other side of the path has a steep, sloping hill…one mis-step and you can find yourself Disconnected from the rest of the path, having to make a climb to get back on track. It not only takes Stamina to journey on an educator’s path, it also takes Immeasurable courage. However, you do not have to walk this path alone. Although it may seem like the rest of the fence is being covered by a shield of Invisibility and you have to travel this path with no support, there is always someone there who is traveling a similar path with you. They might be in another city, country or continent, but they are on a similar journey. Participating in this writing challenge made me realize this. C.S. Lewis said, “we read to know we are not alone”…how fortunate we are to have made connections through the Slice of Life and realize we are, in fact, not alone. Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this opportunity. Thank you, writers for sharing your thoughts and especially for reading mine. Although we might be taking a break from writing for a while, we are still connected to each other, and I look forward to continuing reading your words (especially because Spring Break is near!). This experience has been a fabulous one, and it most definitely won’t be the Last Year I participate…and to all of those who participated, I hope you are feeling accomplished and “good ’til the Last Slice“.
Last chance. There is something that worries me about some trends in discipline in education. It all comes down to giving chance, after chance, after chance. There seem to be no last chances. Life is not like this. Consequences seem to be disappearing. Life has consequences. I fear we have gone from one extreme to another. Thankfully gone are the days were paddles and rulers and ridicules were used to discipline. However, present are the days where children are confused and believe they are equal to adults. Present are the days that children’s behaviors are being guided by complete strangers on Youtube and Instagram. Present are the days where children respect only when they feel like it. It is not all children. There are still the ones that understand age differences and realize adults are to be respected, especially when the adult is modeling respect and caring themselves. It is a battle we are fighting everyday in my school. A very tough one. I do hope we have a chance to find a midpoint between the extremes that have been created. I don’t want this to be our last chance to bring back respect and good manners.
Last time. The last time I met Paul Andersen, I got just a glimpse of his passion for teaching science. The last time Paul Andersen visited our school, he made sure to plant a seed of wonder in all of us…and to make sure we did the same for our students. These two things were what I remembered most of the creator of Bozeman Science. However, the busy whirlwind of teaching in an elementary school setting can make one get lost and lose focus and easily forget new information we take in (even if this information is reminding you that teaching is fun). But this time…this time Paul Andersen’s visit was different. Paul came ready to continue to spread his love of science and wonder, but he also came ready to push us to the next level of elementary science teaching. He had his usual phenomena that made us wonder…he had resources to share…he had knowledge to pass on. So what made this time different from last time? Well, he might say it was thanks to his lovely wife being here on this visit, and that is probably true, but I also believe it is his ability to perceive others’ needs and connect that made this time special. From the moment he presided over our Team Meetings, he made sure to make us feel comfortable. He was familiar with our current unit of study and wanted the team to create a meaningful assessment. From the moment he taught a model lesson (which my students got lucky enough to be chosen for), he seemed to know exactly what to say to them to make a connection that engaged them even after the lesson was done. He created a lesson that prompted one of my students to say: “I really understood for the first time deeply why it is so important to wonder. I also learned how to make a model and what it means.” From the moment he debriefed with staff after an extremely long day, he was still able to connect and make us feel a little less scared of teaching science. Paul just has a way of being “one of us”. Yet he is not. Paul Andersen is one of most unique science teachers I have ever encountered. His passion for what he does and his desire to share this passion for science with everyone are what make him who he is. I do wish all teachers had opportunities to learn from him. This time, his visit came at just the right time for this particular teacher and her particular group of students. I do hope this time is not the last time.
Last night. Last night, after posting on Slice, I was screened-out and therefore allowed myself time to read an actual book. “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie is a classic mystery…entertaining and timeless. Reading (and smelling and touching) real pages, does wonders to our mind and body. In my case, I sleep better. Tonight I will do the same. No more glowing screens. As soon as this is posted, yellowed, crinkled, delicious smelling pages will be between my fingers. Visions, questions, inferences and predictions will be on my mind. Sleep will then join me and dreams will come. I do wonder though, if this habit of reading is getting lost on our newer generations, what consequences will this bring?
Last week. Last week was a 4-day week, yet it seemed eternal. Our spring break has come very late in the school year and it has made every week seem to take longer and longer. It is a challenge to make time go by fast and to make it meaningful. Students feel it, teachers feel it. It truly is a struggle. We are close. Just 2 more weeks and we get to take a break. Although this is difficult, once we get to enjoy our time off, it feels extra rewarding. A simple spring break can rejuvenate, re-energize, reinvigorate. The world of education and teaching is special like that.
Last month. Last month my youngest turned 16. It made me realize how quickly time flies. She organized her own gathering of friends, she was in charge of the food, she even wanted to make the cupcakes herself. I was so pleasantly pleased. It was such a treat to not have to do anything but supervise from afar. We have come a long way these 16 years. It has not been easy, but continuous love, support and yes, sometimes consequences, have fostered this independence. I do wish I could say the same thing for some of my students. Last month we closed a trimester, yet some seem stuck on their path. From last month to this month, little seems to have changed for them. I know, much has to to do with inconsistencies in what they experience in a structured school-environment, vs. what they experience at home. This frustrates me, because I realize there is only so much I can do. Last month to this month makes me realize we have very little time left in the school year, and I will continue to do what I can, with the experiences in the classroom. The rest is up to mom and dad, after all, this is not their last experience with their own children. If they want to see their child grow in to a responsible, independent adult, I hope they remember the lasting impression every action they take has on their child.
Last year. Last year, my 5th graders were a bundle of energy. They were happy, sociable, and very outgoing. Out of the 22, I would say 15 loved the limelight. They were musical, they could perform on the spot, they were meant to be on stage. They were performers at heart. I realize now, what a special group of children this was (is). Last year, the overall air in my classroom was of silliness and happiness. Yes, it drove me crazy at times, because it was difficult to get their attention, but they were happy. Last year makes me realize how different this year is…the complete opposite. Last year makes me understand how lucky I was to be surrounded by such unique, quirky kids. Last year makes me appreciate and miss smiles. I miss last year. Actually, I think I miss the year before last too…and the year before that…and the year before that. In the world of teaching, you do reach a “last” with every group of children that come your way, and I think this has made me be a more reflective human. All of those “last years” make me who I am as an educator today.