Friday, December 31, 2010

The Moments

There are moments when the pressure lifts and it becomes possible to simply listen.

To be.

These moments are rare for teachers because we are responsible. Responsible for educating, for assessing, for safety. Our minds are constantly one step ahead.  Always thinking, monitoring, watching, planning.

We don't drop our guard because no matter how much we may enjoy what we are doing, teaching is a responsibility that we take seriously.  Good teaching does not happen by chance.  And so the mind races.

But on the last day of school before the winter break I had a perfect moment with some of the students in my class.  In this moment they were not my students.  In this moment they were simply children.  Children who had stories to share. Stories that moved me.

I sat on the rug with a small group of five-year-olds and we talked about what they wanted for the holidays. Some had written to Santa.  Others had not.  Some were very specific while others couldn't think of anything they wanted, although they said they wanted something.  One boy said he wanted a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree with velcro letters like the one we have in the classroom.  That was all.

And they asked what I wanted.

They really listened to one another. It was brilliant.  For a moment there was no pressure.  Nothing to do next. Just happy children full of anticipation and quiet excitement.  It was an experience that I knew would stay with me. A little oasis in the busyness of life.  A moment I didn't even realize I needed. But, one that I was given. Thanks kids!

Happy New Year!


Anita said...

Sounds an awful lot like parenting. God bless you. You do a beautiful thing with your students. Love, Anita

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Thanks for making aware of the chicka chicka boom boom tree. I've already added it to my list for Christmas 2011.

Angella Lister said...

As a parent, I do grasp that the minute-to-minute responsibility of being a teacher must take a huge psychic toll. I have always thought teaching is a calling more than a job, and to survive in the classroom takes special gifts. I think it is those special gifts that make you so aware of the magic in the moment you describe here. Just beautiful.

Happy new year, my friend.

Barbara said...

Children can be so charming in their innocence before they learn to roll their eyes and pretend to disdain all adults. It's great that they could listen to each other as well as express themselves. That's an art that a lot of much older people still need to cultivate.

Happy new year to you, Gary! I hope 2011 is a memorable year for you, all in a good way.

Pauline said...

" In this moment they were not my students. In this moment they were simply children."

If we remember to occasionally step back from our own roles as teachers and role models and see the kids we feel responsible for as just children, we're able to expand our vision of them and for them. And yes, it makes for a peaceful moment. That you listen to these kids teaches them to listen and by recognizing beautiful moments, you give them to the kids as well. (And then you share them with us - the gift that keeps giving :)

Happy New Year!

Gary said...

Anita - I didn't think of it in those terms but now that you mention it I see the correlation. It made me think of those times when I was little when we (my brothers and sisters) asked my mom to join us to play some board game. She usually said no but sometimes she said yes and it meant the world to us. She was always so busy working around the house when she was home. I am sure her mind was running all the time too. (Notice how I worked my mom into another conversation?)

Gregg - Precious!

Angella - I see teaching as more of a calling for myself than a job. I have met other teachers who see it as a job. This was especially true when I first started teaching and many of the older women teachers, long since retired, said that they never wanted to teach. It was just something that was expected of women. A respected career choice when they felt there were limited options. Times are different now. Hope you have a fantastic new year!

Barbara - I do not like that rolling the eyes stage at all. Thankfully they move through that. Happy 2011!

Pauline - I am going to try to stop and do this more often. Afterall, these are the times that stay with us. Hope 2011 is off to a grand start.


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