Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Love What I Do, Do You?

I love my class. There, I said it. It is only the end of September and yet I feel like I have been with these kids for a year already. They get me. I get them and we are moving along in tandem. It is such a wonderful feeling when this happens. It is often January before I feel my class is working well. In the fall, most of my classes struggle with sharing, taking turns, and treating each other respectfully.

I can’t tell you why we are clicking so early. The makeup of the class is the same as every year…a bell curve of interesting, challenging little faces all looking at me each morning waiting to find out what is in store for them. Some need to be fed, some need to have a little extra attention, and others just tool along on their own. Some catch on quickly and others need repetition. Some have social skills, some do not.

Somehow, this year, this class is simpatico right out of the gate. Maybe it is because we have a student teacher making the ratio smaller. Perhaps the personalities just match up better. I don’t have an answer, but I sure love going to school every morning! When children can get past the social issues, we can get into the academics quickly and then there is so much more we can do. I anticipate tremendous progress for my students by the end of the year I can’t wait for them to feel the power of their own thinking and learning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Full, Half Full, or Empty?

When my plate is full, really full, I have to stay focused. I have to be really organized. making lists and crossing items off the lists as they are completed. The more I have to do, the more organized I become. The more organized I become, the more I want everyone else to be organized as well. I am like a drill sergeant pushing myself and barking at others.

When my plate is half full…I maintain a rhythm but it is apt to skip a beat now and then. I might forget something, misplace an item, or put a job off for another day…If a friend drops in and suggests a change of plans I can go with it guilt free knowing there is enough time to get back on track.

When my plate is empty, I have no expectations. I dally and leave things incomplete; starting and stopping whenever I please. I change focus often leaving sentences trailing, laundry midstream, and the gas tank empty. There is seldom a sense of completion or satisfaction. In fact, it feels like I am living outside myself.

If I could choose my plate, I would choose the half full plate. The half full plate keeps me focused but not too busy to enjoy an occasional segue.It offers me structure with room to maneuver. Yes, the half full plate is what I am looking for…maybe I’ll find it in January!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Autumn Nesting

There is something about cool sunny days that makes me want to cocoon myself in my home to clean, rearrange, decorate and bake. I am no longer anxious to hit  the little white balls at the golf course, ride my bike or lounge on the docks in the sun. Instead I want to paint, hang curtains, dust, and make chocolate chip cookies. I don’t really understand this change but I have thought a great deal about it this past weekend.This autumnal nesting is not new to me. I experience it every fall. I buy pumpkins and mums to decorate the yard. I stand cornstalks against the porch post and fill the planter at the mailbox with gourds. There is always a room to redecorate with paint, rugs, and curtains. Our home is fresh, tidy, and filled with the smell of baking.I am ready to let go of summer and welcome the cool, clean fragrance of fall.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Phone Call

Recently we sat down to dinner with friends we had not seen for a year. They have retired in Arizona and come home  for a few weeks each summer . The visit was going along nicely…eating…talking…laughing. A cell phone rang, Molly jumped up to answer it. As she replied to the caller, her husband, Gerry hung his head and said, “Oh this has got to be bad news.” Molly hung up the phone and returned to the dining room table. She relayed the short phone call with little emotion. In retrospect I expect she was in shock.

“That was Jason, our next door neighbor. He said the water company left a note on our door. They shut off our water due to overuse. He knew we were not home so he walked around the house to check things out. He says we have water running out our back door.”

There were more phone calls that night as Molly and Gerry got the keys to Jason via a relative living close by so he could go inside to investigate. A pipe had let go in their bathroom and water had flowed freely for who knows how long until the water company shut it off. Their house was filled with water with the outdoor temperatures  nearly one hundred degrees. Gerry explained to us that mold grows almost immediately when things like this happen. The enjoyable dinner no longer tasted good and the laughter had disappeared as our friends tried to wrap their heads around what to do next.

Our friends bid adieu a short time later, headed back to the camp they were occupying. The plan was to call family and friends and inform them of a new departure date: the very next day. They would pack, say their good-byes and begin a hurried four day trip. The usual meandering cross country would not happen this time.. There were no words to console them as they tried to grasp the enormity of the task that lay ahead.Their faces said it all. Their retirement home was in ruins. They were returning to the unknown.