Choosing HOW We See

Being new to this writing life, I find it interesting what can trigger an inspiration to write…student work, nature, my reading, experiences with others, and more. This post’s inspiration? The photograph included here that taken from inside an umbrella. I didn’t know what I would do with it, nor did I have time to write earlier in the week when I snapped it. But it’s been tiptoeing around in my brain as I planned for a disciplined time to write.IMG_8755

Moments before beginning this, I was looking for quotes for an activity that I’m leading with my fellow teachers next week, and one by Amy Krouse Rosenthal particularly struck me. “I tend to believe whatever you decide to look for you will find, whatever you beckon will eventually beckon you.”

Rereading my posts to see what had inspired earlier writing, I noticed that my current thoughts are similar to my “With Eyes of Wonder” post on 9/25/16. I agree with Rosenthal’s quote, and I think it’s important for me to choose carefully HOW I look at a situation. My photograph was taken on a rainy day. I keep an umbrella at school for those rare Colorado days when we need one. As I was waiting for my students near the end of their PE class, I happened to look up and smiled at the beautiful rainbow in the underside of my umbrella. I clumsily took a few photos, yet ended up with a decent shot. I liked this one because the spokes created a star radiating from the center pole.

That evening, I used my umbrella picture in my gratitude journal. Each evening I take time to list whatever I feel grateful for that day. I limit it to 5-6 items in order to maintain my focus to that particular day. Of course there are things for which I am grateful every single day, but I don’t want my list to become cumbersome by listing everything, nor do I want to feel any obligation when writing my list. I find that my structure supports me in seeing the magic of that day and its unique greatness.

It being the end of the school year, there are student behaviors that my colleagues and I chalk up to “spring fever.” I could respond in numerous ways – get cranky, crack down on rules, excuse it, complain to anyone who will listen, ignore it… And yes, I’ve used all of those in different situations. While these can be helpful coping mechanisms for a few short weeks, at the same time, I want to embody and foster a sense of staying strong to finish the year. That includes the way I look at troublesome behaviors. Does this child have anxiety about change? Is s/he worried about how different the summer will be structured compared to the school year? Is this student already feeling nervous about next year’s teacher and feeling sadness at the anticipation of the end of our time together? Might this student be nervous about our upcoming three-day overnight trip? While I won’t excuse disruptive behaviors, I find that trying to understand off-kilter behavior allows me to demonstrate empathy and truly support a student.

We have an exciting three weeks left of our school year. (Yikes!) Those weeks will fly by with amazing experiences: the conclusion of our final read aloud novel, a visit by the author of that novel, final touches to our digital portfolios, celebrating learning with families at Student Led Conferences, a three-day trip, a pajama day, a field day, one more trip to our campus Challenge Course, and a class party. Our final week will also have necessary tasks that signal the end is near: planning and preparing for our role in the Lower School Closing Ceremony, emptying the walls of student work, emptying desks, and packing up for the summer.

I can easily become overwhelmed when I think of all I want to accomplish and finish before I have to say goodbye to this community of learners. My goal is to stay present in each moment rather than anticipating what I might feel in the future. That is an ideal way to honor this class and truly celebrate what we’ve accomplished together. I will beckon presence.