Today I started the day by playing with a room of delightful 18-month to 3 year olds at church, had a delightful meal with family and read a good chunk of my current read The Toll. I had a goal to finish it this weekend but I won’t quite make it. As Julie and I drove out to her parents with the beautiful mountains on the horizon I could not help but think about the things I am grateful for on this still snow covered Thanksgiving eve.
First I would like to start with my job. This year has started a bit bumpier then I am use to. I would chalk it up to interruptions and familiarity. I have looped with some of my kids for 3 years and so we are looking for new ways to engage and work with beautiful text. The biggest struggle is that for one of my classes this term we only meet 3 times a week and it just so happens that on those three days we tend to have things come up that causes class to be cancelled. It has been difficult finding a flow that works. But I am grateful for their energy, I am grateful for the group that comes ready to write so many beautiful words last week that I wrote about taking the time to celebrate. I am grateful for the student that has already read more novels from start to finish this year than all of last year…one. I am grateful for the ones that make me stretch and look to other ways to engage them because it only makes me better. See, gratitude is a mindset. I can choose to focus on the cloud or the silver lining. Today I am choosing the silver lining so here goes.
Things I am grateful for
- A wife who supports me in my rants, learning and book buying. Not every wife will accept that their husband spends hundreds of dollars some times a week on books. That they would prefer to stay home and learn through reading articles or participating in educational discussions online. Most certainly not all wives will patiently listen while their husband rants about everything that has annoyed him that day. Julie does though and most of the time supports the rants. On occasion she doesn’t agree but that helps me to fully explore the topic as well.
- Friends who push my learning. Not all teachers from small rural Alberta towns have been blessed with the friends that I have been blessed with. Many of these friends are fellow educators who I have connected with over our shared experiences some double as mentors. Daily I have the opportunity to visit with Dr.Mary Howard, I have not met many who have the passion she does for kids and learning she has been a constant support since sharing my blog years ago and she is a constant gift with the learning she shares. My friend Travis Crowder and his work inspires me to be a better teacher daily. He is an artist and the work his students produce is magic. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from him. I spent a day with Donalyn Miller this week. Julie and I had the best time visiting with her over dinner and then learning from her the following day. If I were to have a list of teachers who have influenced me the most in my practice Donalyn would be among the top and the gratitude I have that I can count her as a friend at this point in my teaching career is immeasurable. There are so many more educators that I count among my friends that push me in the best ways to continue to learn and improve. I could never list them all.
- The students I get to work with every day. I am grateful even on the tougher days for all my students. They bring a joy and enthusiasm to the day. I am in my third year at my current assignment. My first year I taught a group of 8th graders, 44 of them I think, they told me in the past that teachers hated their group. I could not imagine it. We bonded that year. I have not taught that group the last two years. But a day does not pass that a few of them do not come by my room during a prep to visit or even while I am teaching (we are working on that) just to chat. Sometimes they just want a snack and I am grateful they know where to go for that as well. We talk books, how their lives are going, what their classes are like. They bring me treats they have cooked in foods class, I am particularly grateful for that, and they just reinforce what I know. That when we build relationships with students they last far longer than the time we teach our kids.
- Things that frustrate me. This might be an odd one for the gratitude list but I am grateful for these challenging situations and people. They help me to centre around what I know is important. I need to likely focus less on them but they fuel a certain fire that I can use to keep going when I need it.
I have so many things to be grateful for. Tomorrow morning it will be my gym, some good breakfast and time to finish The Toll (fingers crossed). I will be grateful for the chance to plan my week and look at new and engaging ways to work with my students. I will be grateful for the day off from work that gives me the time to do all these things. It is crazy to think we are already half way through our second month of school.
On we go. Learning and growing.