January 14, 2015

Real Life Snow Globe

 Being an elementary teacher, mainly a kindergarten teacher, adjustments back to school even after two “stay-at-home" days can be treacherous. Imagine that struggle after a nearly two-week break. Now compound that with frigid temperatures that keep over 20 angry and fun-deprived students indoors all day long. Not a shining moment in the ups and downs of the school year.

Then, today happens. Like joining together the final pieces of a 1000-piece puzzle, sometimes events come together which force you to step back, relish the moment, and cherish what you have. Often, spontaneous reactions and raw emotions spur the release of pent up feelings and frustrations, which in turn create an opening for change.
As I worked with my students today, I felt my patience running out as children made unusual and confusing decisions while at the same time ignoring or butchering directions. If I were stuck inside for two weeks without my usual outside play breaks, I might have felt the same way but in the world of standards-based education, educator effectiveness, and increasing responsibilities for both student and teacher, the time for tomfoolery and off-task behaviors was over. The lack of production combined with my dwindling patience made the classroom prime for a volcanic eruption.

Then, it happened. As I focused on my teaching responsibilities, I ignored the little things that made eachday special (and sometimes bearable). One of my students looked in awe at the winter scene revealing itself outside our classroom window. I joined her and she made mention of the falling snowflakes. She said they were fat and
slow, so they would be easy to catch. Then, dejectedly, said she was worried the flakes would be finished falling by the time recess came. I replied that I hoped they would stay falling for her. Her response, as she gave me one of her twenty or so daily hugs, "I'll only catch them if you come and catch them with me."

Her statement took me out of the stresses and tasks that often crowd and overwhelm my days and brought me to a fantasy land, much akin to the "real life snow globe" a colleague mentioned earlier in the day when describing the slow-motion snowstorm outside.

I'd love to be in that "real life snow globe." And for that moment, I was.

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