The buzzing alarm clock that startles you out of sweet, sweet dreams into the darkness of your frazzled morning is by no means friendly. (BUZZZZZ…) Open your eyes. Quickly! The abnormally freezing cold of winter; the unimaginable storms that continue to blanket our front lawns and backyard swing sets; the must to have snow boots handy at any given moment accompanied by a shovel and ice brush are in need of your attention – immediately. The closed-eyed shower. Fumbling and bumbling around while simultaneously getting dressed, blow drying your hair, making coffee all the while trying your darndest to remain quiet as to not wake other household members is…
Well…quite frankly…getting old; quickly.
The harried morning commute – windshield wipers flailing against the hail and tires shifting in the opposite direction to protect you from skidding– allows you to greet your students (with a smile, but of course!) on yet another cold and unpredictable winter morning.
You made it.
I made it.
We made it.
We have all made it to the half way point of our school year. Students have pushed themselves in ways we could not have anticipated. Educators have moved through obstacles with grace and poise. Administration is pushing harder than ever. Mother Nature has joined the club.
In the vein of reflection, doesn’t this seem like an integral point to stop…reflect…plan…and dig deep to find our reasons for trailblazing forth? I think so. So, here’s what I’ve been doing to keep warm during a brutally chilling winter:
To warm my HEART: I stop planning. Aside from lesson plans, I have no plan. I realize that when I stop planning every minute of my day, the most beautiful of moments surface.
From a quick drop in (“Just checking in, Ms. Bogdany. You good?”) to a first-time-independent-reader so engrossed in Hill Harper’s Letters to an Incarcerated Brother he insists on marking pages to share with me as he passes by during the day.
From a very simple high-five in celebration of a special moment to a poet sky writing his inner most thoughts regarding his hometown.
From a post-Regents philosophical discussion about Malcolm X’s beliefs and convictions to a colleague swinging by with, “Your previous Multi-Genre Writing students insisted that Ashlee, whom you didn’t have, show you her creative writing piece because it’s astounding. They wanted you to see it. Here it is.”
If my door was closed and my agenda had continued to take control of my day, these beautiful moments that inspire me, would be lost.
To warm my SOUL: I read voraciously. I live in a sea of literature. From gathering books from the laundry room’s shared library to the continually growing Francis Gittens Lending Library; I am never sans a book. Often, I am juggling a few and that includes my new found interest with audio books. From Room 382 to Apt. 2 (whether themed by topic or color) my soul sings in the presence of literature.
And really, what better way to keep warm (during this winter full of icicles) than with a book of choice; pomegranate spice scented candles; and blackberry-vanilla decaf tea?
To warm my MIND: I ask for help when I know I need it. Yup, pride aside. Wild, I know. While I try to be all things for my students, there’s a reality. And that reality is simple – no one educator can be all things for his/her students. So, we must find those we trust, branch out, ask for a helping hand and push forward together. It would be an injustice to not bring them into my ‘teaching loop’ to help motivate and encourage each student they’ve built trust with. I need them to show me the way.
I also reach out to my PLN, no matter how far, they are always there to help guide, attempt humor, and support in soulful ways. Their insight and guidance is always a surefire way to refocus my attention to the authenticity of educating. Of this I could not be more grateful.
So, while we are all bundling up this winter and trying our very best to remain focused in-spite of the blistery weather – which does not seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon – we have much to celebrate. We’re halfway there! And instead of looking toward the finish line, let’s all take a moment to enjoy the snow filled scenery and the halfway mark. It really is a warm place to be.