Celebrating Connections

celebrate link upThanks to  Ruth Ayers and all who contribute to #celebratelu. I am thankful for the opportunity to think back on the week and find the gems worth holding on to.

1. I’m celebrating connections with my “family” community. I am lucky to have three kids who have friends that feel comfortable being in our house.   Last night neighbor kids, old friends of our oldest, my daughter and a few of her friends hung out and talked — about sports, local gossip, and college aspirations. We’ve known some of these kids since they were in preschool. They are like an extended family. They walk in, often without knocking, because they know they are always invited.

2. I’m celebrating connections with former students. Being a fifth grade teacher, I’m the end of the road for elementary school. I always wonder what happens in their lives.  Friday, a young man walked up to me, looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and asked me how I was doing. He told me his plans of going on to college and perhaps medical school. This may not seem earth shattering, but this young man was a struggling elementary student. He had significant learning disabilities and was multi-lingual, the combination of which made understanding English extremely difficult. I was beyond impressed, not just for his academic goals but for his poise and presence. Everything and anything is possible, don’t count anyone out.

3. I’m celebrating connections to my students through writing.  Reading their memoirs yesterday I was struck by my students’ resilience and honesty.  Many told of times when they had disappointed someone, got angry with a friend, or got in trouble. Quite a few recounted getting in trouble with a teacher.

One of my new students (he’s been with me for three weeks) wrote how a teacher mistakenly thought he was doing something wrong; how teachers don’t understand him and  “that’s why I hate school.” Never would have known this if we didn’t write.

Another wrote of a time he had to do homework, but he didn’t want to because his whole family was doing something else, so he didn’t. He then told how the teacher had screamed at him and he cried as his mom watched. A bit melodramatic perhaps, but his perspective is his reality.

Another told the tale of her dad’s struggle with alcoholism. This isn’t easy stuff.

They felt safe enough to share. I am honored, and I celebrate the power of writing.

4. I am celebrating connections with my colleagues.  I work with amazing teachers. We are a team and work to meet the needs of our students daily on all grade levels. I am proud to be a member of this group.  Today, I want to thank Dayna Wells (@daywells) who taught a social studies lesson to my students. WOW. I learned so much that I will attempt to capture in another post. I celebrate Dayna for her curiosity, energy and risk taking moves that has allowed her to bring this work to me and my students.

5. I am celebrating connections with you all who contribute to #celebratelu. Reading your posts is a joy. I always smile and sometimes cry.  Happy Saturday.