Today, as I was outside raking the 6-10 inches of leaves, I had a thought...It was only a few days ago that I was driving down the street and enjoying the beauty of the colorful leaves. When it became the time to clean up the piles in my back yard, I wasn't exactly enjoying the beauty of the leaves. I was wishing I didn't have trees, and grumbling under my breath. Same leaves, but now ugly and unwanted.
Then I started to think back to last week at school. Working with a student who is struggling and can't see the vast future that is ahead. So many choices that now look like dead ends. I wonder what happens to some parents. Everyone is happy to have children, right? It seems like that glow fades pretty fast for some. Seems like there are far too many kids that come on my radar that have no one at home pushing them (or loving them for that matter) But, I have very little time to make judgments, I need to get to work showing and proving that there are ALWAYS options for the future. As I mentioned in a previous post, my saying is that 'YOU choose who you become.'
Back to the trees....after the tree endures the winter, the payoff is huge. Buds on the trees and eventually green and healthy leaves. I believe it might be the most important thing that educators can do...help kids see possibilities. Choose your own words, but help kids see what lies ahead for them and that the world is full of possibilities.
The reason that "The North Star," by my friend Peter H. Reynolds, is one of my favorites is that 'the boy' on his journey doesn't have an easy time of it...and there are lots of twists and turns in the story (and false directions) before the boy realizes that it has all been a part of the journey. It's truly all about the journey and we, as teachers, are such an important part of it. So, what happens with the kids who are stuck in a room with a teacher who stares at the computer and occasionally barks out orders....or worse, the one who knows that the kid is struggling and says nothing.
I know I am not the best music or computer teacher in the world....But I know that I try every day to make connections and to love the heck out of kids that come across my path. I am sure I fail many....but I will spend the rest of my days in the classroom trying to get kids back on the path. Take a few minutes today and reread "The North Star." Show kids stars that light the path....and dream big.
And, speaking of perspective....working with the kid last week.....Once I knew more about the challenges, the behaviors we all saw were MUCH easier to understand. I didn't say excuse, I said understand. It's important to gain some perspective before judging and handing out consequences. Perhaps we all need to learn what got the kid off the path, before we can nudge them back along.