Where is the moment when we needed the most?
You kick up the leaves, and the magic is lost.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining (OK, maybe I am a little.), but most people get to leave their work at the end of the day and go home to spend time with their families. I know this idea of devoting time to my class and the other kids in the school is a noble one, but sometimes my daughter wants to know why daddy's not hanging around more at home lately. Plus, and I know this is hard for some people to grasp, I am only a human being.
I have been struggling this year with my creative spirit. I would love to make every day a special day, with awesome events and surprises around every corner for my class, but sometimes the very educational engine that wants me to do those things, motivating students with the desire for improvement and lifelong learning, is the same engine that gets all gummy and clogged with the technicalities of government red tape and mandates. Time, even though we are in the 21st Century and have so many "time-saving" devices, is still a very real and scientific factor. As much as I try, I cannot make time stand still while I get all the things done that everyone wants me to do.
This time of the year, time catches up to most teachers. There are no breaks to speak of between Christmas and Spring Break, and it's too cold to do most things outside. The meetings get to be endless, and other events in life present themselves at the most inopportune times. But I'm not complaining. Much.
A good point that adults need to understand is this: the days and weeks are not only long for us; they are long for our kids too. Sometimes those springtime, cabin-fever behaviors that irritate us in our children can be the result of our own stress levels and seasonal depression (Of course, not being a doctor, I can't use those terms in the clinical sense.). There are moments when I am the antecedent (big word) for the poor behavioral choices being made by my children. For this reason, I must remind myself of what is important - not the ungraded papers on my desk or the newest form being requested, in triplicate, by the state concerning the data being collected in my classroom. What is important is that I keep on keeping on, doing what's best for my students, and doing my very best to keep some energy in my shoes and some electricity in my heart.
What's important is not that we get to the end of the chapter or the unit by a predetermined date on someone's arbitrary calendar. It is that I keep my high expectations in mind, while always reaching with hands and spirit into the pool of students before me, grabbing hold of their arms, and pulling them along with us to the shore - where we can celebrate our breath-taking experience together.
I do not want the magic of learning to be lost because someone kicks up a cloud of leaves in our faces. I want the magic of learning to occur in spite of all those dusty leaves. With dust in our lungs and eyes, that's not always easy, but we simply must keep stretching forward. The light is out there - beyond clouds - and I'm not complaining; I'm just trying to understand it all.