Everyday Thankful | A Guest Blogger Series
I met Nicole many years ago when we taught summer school together. Middle-school summer school. I had never taught middle-school students, only high-school. I remember thinking, It can't be that much different, right??
Ba ha. I had no idea.
Middle-school kids operate at an entirely different level.
Fortunately for me, Nicole saw my deer-in-the-headlight look on the first day and without missing a beat, guided me through the choppy waters of it all. And she was and is a phenomenal teacher - even the toughest kids respond to her with respect. She cares deeply about them and it comforts me to know that such a teacher is out there, guiding those sweet, confused souls through more than just math lessons.
It is with great respect and admiration that I introduce Nicole's Everyday Thankfuls and also with great excitement for her - she is expecting twins later this year! Huzzah!!
As a child I remember a piece of paper that hung on our refrigerator. It described a lion and a gazelle and how each one had to run to survive. The bottom line of the story was that no matter who you were, you had better wake up running.
I sit here and wonder if anyone has ever quoted a worse adage. We are all continually racing through life: wishing away rough or boring class periods, weeks to get to weekends, months to get to the next season, and years to get to the all important youthful milestones. Where has it all gone? I’m 31 years old with nine years of teaching under my belt and I still feel like I could be in college.
I pass Inspiration Point on my daily drive to school. Sometimes I pass it and pause. Sometimes my husband is driving and I continue to play Words with Friends or Candy Crush. Sometimes I sit back and watch. Sometimes I pass by blind to the world.
Life isn't slowing down and it scares me. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I wear many hats throughout the year. The only hat that never seems to be removed is my nerd hat. However, in March, the nerd hat transforms into a hat reminiscent of a Fat Albert character. It becomes the first thing many students notice. The reason? Pi Day! March 14th corresponds to the first three digits of the number pi: 3.14. Pi Day...correction, Pi Week, gives me the opportunity to teach about the history of the number, to show how the number appears in nature, and -perhaps most importantly - to show the existence of math nerds who are nerdier than their teacher! I break out many shirts for our Pi Day/Week Extravaganza and I was ecstatic to discover that they still fit over my 17 weeks pregnant belly. It’s odd to actually see the pi symbol on my shirt as I wear it…
Today we began to discover that pi is truly everywhere. Groups measured the circumference and diameter of many different circles and all of the ratios simplified to something very near to pi!
Ah, Spring: A renaissance for my soul. Spring is my favorite season. I love the life, the green, and the newness of everything. The track becomes my second home. It warms my heart for athletes to discover a love for something that I love. Nothing beats a good track meet!
I love my students. The eighth grade mentality and humor cracks me up at least a dozen times a day. Between my normal classroom and summer school I've taught roughly 1,500 students. Wow… What a number. I've laughed and cried over hundreds of stories and had my heart broken and spirits lifted just as many times. For nine years I've worked to be as close to Super Teacher as possible.
Next year I will not start the school year with my students. I've got two parasites that I've decided to let grow and develop for a few more months.
I worry about many things for next year. I worry about my energy, my time, my budget, my love, my sanity. I know I will not be able to fill the Super Teacher shoes that I've created over the years. While I will still wear the shoes, I know they may get dirty or develop holes. What does this mean for my classroom? Will I still catch the kid who has fallen through so many cracks? Will I still notice that look that says I really want to ask a question but I’m not brave enough to make the first move? Will I still love my students as much and in the same way that I've loved my past students? With so much going on outside of school, will I even be able to remember all of their names? As I ponder these thoughts, Dr. Suess stays with me: “So be sure when you step, step with great care and tact. And remember that life’s a Great Balancing Act.”
In six days I will be reunited with the best friends a girl could ask for. These girls have been with me through thick and thin over the past almost 21 *gasp* years. Even after long periods of disconnection, our conversations are like riding bikes. We are soon laughing to the point of tears, hugging, and reminiscing like no time has passed at all. I cannot wait for our NYC visit, the giggles, and a few spoonfuls of cookie dough- minus the raw eggs.
Thank you so much for participating, Nicole. I loved your images, the stories they told, and your heartfelt words.
Thank you, thank you.
*If you would like to participate in this ongoing series, please contact me.
Sites I Dig
The Road is Home
The Seed & Plate
Sharon Covert Photography
The Define School
The Noisy Plume
Sarah Gee Photography
Fox & Owl Studio
The Stork and The Beanstalk
Mellow Yellow Photography
A Simple Little Journal
What I've Been Reading
The Girls by Emma Cline
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Never Broken by Jewel
Hold Still by Sally Mann