Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In which student teaching is a bit rough

Here's the thing about kids:

They are incredibly easy to love.

They are also incredibly easy to become frustrated with.

Today was my first full day soloing; my mentor teacher was at an all-day meeting, so it was all me.

And I said some things I regret.

And slipped into my impatient, sardonic voice for too much of the day.

And responded to too many requests by sighing and staring at the ceiling.

These kids are so tough, but so fragile, and I worry that one of those sighs, frowns, or tired outbursts will permanently break a small part of them.

All I can do is try again tomorrow. Write a few more kind notes, and recognize the wonderful things my students do, and mete out discipline in a measured, even tone, rather than sniping.

All I can do is remind myself that I love these munchkins, even when they're doing all they can to make me forget.

And then keep doing it again and again for the rest of my life,

because even when I get tired of hearing it repeated ad nauseum,

My favorite name to be called is "Teacher."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

In which the cold never bothered me, anyway

This weekend, I went with my family to see Disney's new animated film, Frozen. And I was blown away. I loved almost everything about this movie. The music! The animation! The fact that the romantic subplot is a subplot, and not the story's main focus! The music! Sisterly bonding! Olaf the snowman! The music!

Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that I walked out of the movie theater with a mind full of new thoughts and a resolution to change my behavior in accordance with these thoughts. Here are a few things I learned from Frozen:
  • When you are blessed with a gift, you can use it to create or to destroy. When you seek to control a gift with fear, it will almost always lead to destruction. When you use your gift with love, you create beauty and joy.
  • Trying to solve a problem by shutting yourself off from others and from your own emotions is often more damaging than the problem itself. Letting people into your life can be scary, messy, and complicated, but it also allows love to flow into your life, which increases your capability to face challenges.
  • "People make bad choices when they're mad or scared or stressed, but throw a little love their way, and you'll bring out their best": When people act in hurtful or destructive ways, it is most often out of pain or fear, rather than maliciousness.
  • True love is putting others' needs before your own. True love can be found in any relationship, not just romantic ones.
  • "Everyone's a bit of a fixer-upper": we've all got flaws and challenges, but we can help each other to overcome them.
  • Reindeers are better than people, but people smell better than reindeers.
I've been thinking a lot today about what my gifts are, and how I can use them with love instead of trying to harness them with fear. I also wore deodorant today, in an effort to continue smelling better than reindeers. See, people? Life-changing epiphanies all over the place here.