Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Teaching Mindfully: March 10: Slice of Life Challenge

                                                    Slice of Life Challenge: 
For the month of March, I'm participating in a daily writing challenge, blogging, and posting, and reading other teachers' blogs. This challenge was started by two writing teachers, and can be found at their blog each day: www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. Feel free to join me! It's a great way to keep story threading throughout your brain each day.

Yesterday, amid the test practice, grade book closing, mid-year principal conference, scheduling of parent conferences and scoring of essays, I took a moment to stretch, step back and catch my breath. Right now, without even mentioning all the outside responsibilities that are converging right now--I evaluated how I was living inside my skin. 

In front of me was an eager group of kids, with pencils in my hand, hanging on every word...my mini-lesson, seven minutes of set-up in an hour of writing and conferencing, goading (yes, goading...there is that one), and facilitating teams in interactions around their pieces too. I love writing. I love talking it, walking it and pushing kids forward to get the job done. But yesterday, like today, I too have a lot on my plate. 

But most important of all are the beautiful faces, the positive energy that exists inside my room. I sometimes think, if I can just stay with my kids, dodge the testing, the grades, the report cards and the evaluations, I'd probably never come up for air. 

Teachers live in the real world. We are a loyal group. We have an endless stream of responsibilities, but every now and then, I try to remember--you just gotta come up for air!
Because the kids in front of me today won't always be here tomorrow. They'll grow up, and have kids of their own and their kids will have kids too. Teaching into infinity is a mindful job. I always have to remember, that what's happening in the moment, right in front of my face, is the most important thing.

So today, when I get a chance, I'm going to revisit a favorite book, it always keeps me grounded when I'm feeling a little unhinged. Teaching is an act of the spirit, a gift we've been given for ourselves. Aligning myself with the needs of children, rather than the politics of numbers that have taken the day, I will find, what I always do--the comfort and satisfaction, the laughter and silliness, because I am present to serve and hear and know all that I'm supposed to, for one moment, the gift I've been given for today.

The Three Questions, by Jon Muth, a great book for me today!


Kimberley said...

I love this part "Right now, without even mentioning all the outside responsibilities that are converging right now--I evaluated how I was living inside my skin." I know just what you mean. When I am in the moment with my kids and not worried about all the other stuff, I teach better. My kids breath better which helps them learn better. I love that book. When I taught adults to learn to read, I had a lot of students from other countries. This book made so much sense to them. They loved it and they loved to practice it so they could read it to their children. Thanks for the reminder. I'm going to check it out too!

Robin said...

"Teaching is an act of the spirit." I love this line! It is important to remember to take care of ourselves in the midst of taking care of everyone else. Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Gael, this was a pleasure to read. I'm not a teacher myself, but love being connected with passionate teachers (and librarians) online. It really is refreshing :) Btw, my daughter-in-law is a teacher and her mom is a grammar school Principal. I'm surrounded! :D