Saturday, April 16, 2016
You Fill My Heart With Joy
I believe that every day is a new beginning. I love that moment when I open the door and greet my students with some welcoming words and a big smile. It's a great way to start the day together.
But how could I make it even better?
During periods of frustration it is easy to forget that there are positive attributes in every child. The class had needed a lot of redirecting lately and I wanted them to see that I recognize all the wonderful things about them, too.
I got out a pad of sticky notes and took a few moments to record one positive attribute about each child. I am pleased to say that it really wasn't that difficult.
The fun began when I opened the door. Along with their daily entry task, each student found a note on their desk. It was amusing to watch them help each other read them. It was a little noisier and chaotic than usual but in a purposeful and positive way.
What I didn't expect were the notes I found on my desk later that day. Some students had taken it upon themselves to reciprocate and left some inspirational messages on my desk for me. So what if "heart" was spelled "Heather." I couldn't have been more honoured or proud.
The day still had challenges. How boring would it be if kit didn't, but I had enough positivity in me that it couldn't break me. Not even when my struggling student cam through the door (late) with a LARGE cup of sugary coffee and Mom was late picking him up again. Colleagues commented but I managed to disengage from the conversations before I made unprofessional comments or lost my positivity.
No one is perfect, and I am at the beginning of my journey in reflective practice so mistakes are expected.
I did want to talk to MT's mom. I met the kids at the office as they were about to head out to the playground. I asked them to wait because I wanted to talk to their mom. Another adult was their and said she would watch them on the playground. I repeated that I wanted to talk to their mother. The middle daughter asked why. I explained that I was concerned that she and her younger brother had been left waiting for over half an hour the day before and wanted to talk to her mother about it. I did not bad mouth the mother but even that was perhaps too much information to share particularly with another adult in ear shot. Next time I would simply say, I just want to talk to her. The adult again said that shew would watch the kids as they would be going over to her place later anyway. I caved. I should have said, "Thank you, but I insist that they wait here." The fact that I was going to be late for yet another meeting because of this family did factor into my decision. I needed to leave and couldn't wait much longer anyway.
I could have strode back to my room, muttering under my breath about how the mopther was late AGAIN picking up her children but I didn't. When colleagues commented on the situation I simpoly acknowledged their observations and said I was going to confront the mother about it. I diodn't say, "Yup. She did it again. Can you beleive it? What is she doing having another kid?" Again, she is doing her best. Would I like better for the kids? Yes. Is criticizing the mother the way to get it? Not likely. I am going to build on the bond we have been building and offer her whatever supports I can. Hopefully pride will not stand in the way of her accepting some support.
What would my note to her say? You love your children very much. Never give up.