Closing time

Doo do-doo do-doo-doo…

Well, this is the final week of my current assignment. My home and my life these past few months has been this school and its students and mission. I am not so sure I am keep it together the rest of the week. Just practicing the song I will sing for them in each of their last classes with me, I was struggling not to bawl this evening… In one class in particular, I don’t know if I will be able to keep it together enough even to sing the song, let alone sing it well. (And I do believe that I usually sing it well.) In that class, I feel so full, my life feels meant for these kids – they make me want to buckle down and prepare the greatest and most wonderful curriculum possible for them for the rest of the year, that particular class. If I allow myself to be fully present to my emotions when we are saying goodbye Friday, I certainly will cry.

What’s more, it is likely I will be in tears for all the classes, anyway, saying goodbye to them – I love these kids so dearly. And I have never experienced wanting to stay with my students like this before now. Every time I left a school, while I was bummed, I was quite looking forward to an easier schedule and less intense work for myself. This time, however, is very, very different. I want to be a part of this school. I want to be with these kids and support them directly going forward.

I’m just not sure yet how that will look. 😉

Thank you, God and Universe for this blessing.

Amen

Post-a-day 2021

Amazing

Sometimes, I forget that I am an amazing person. I forget that I am talented and learnèd to a spectacular degree. I forget that my existence is an absolute blessing from God, both to me and to the world at large. (I truly think we all are this, though in incredibly different ways in life. However, that is not my current point.) You see, I get a bit worn out or lost, and so get behind on things, and I end up not giving my usual best for something. I take care of my physical well-being instead of giving my all to a certain time-sensitive project. I then, of course, give a completely acceptable and, even, great result on whatever that project is. However, I know that I certainly could have done better on it, much better than I did. I had, though, prioritized something else above it – myself and my ability to continue functioning as a whole, avoiding breakdown and wear-out. If, then, somebody happens to mention almost anything about that project, I immediately feel dreadful. Oh, dear, I’ve been caught being lazy. I knew I shouldn’t have given any less than my all on it.

But then, if, at the time, my all would have gotten me home sick afterward, what benefit would it have been?

Okay, so, let’s suppose I did the work ahead of time…., when there was no clear need for me to do it at all…. That just doesn’t make sense.

Well, so, here I am, stressed that I’m not doing a good enough job teaching. I didn’t prepare things ahead of time, because I didn’t want to do so, and they had no direct use in my life. Now, I am here. I did not do as great a job as I could have done on some – many – things so far this school year. Got it. That annoys me.

…….

And so, I sit here, feeling like crap about my teaching and myself – because I didn’t do it right, the best way. Okay, got it. However, just because I did one thing not spectacularly doesn’t make me a failure, doesn’t mean I’m failing my students. We can always do things better as a teacher – any teacher knows that. For now, I must accept the restraints I have had, or I will go nuts. I was limited on time, energy, and quick memory (It’s been a while for some of the topics, you see.), as well as the level and adaptability of my students. I chose to do things a certain way on purpose. I chose them, because I am a great teacher. Yes, I could have done a better job. That’s for next time. That’s for next class. That’s for tomorrow.

And, you know what? I’ve already set up the great stuff for tomorrow, and planned when to manage everything for the day after that and after that.

It’s okay not to be perfect at something, even though we are amazing at it. Even in dance – I am a highly trained and quite spectacular partner dancer, you see – I make mistakes. But, I think it is about how we recover from the mistakes that shows how spectacular we truly are. So, yes, I might have made some mistakes with things with classes so far this semester. Okay. Now, how do we move forward powerfully from those mistakes and from where we currently find ourselves? That is what matters most.

Huh… I don’t feel so lost in misery anymore… Yes, I’m a bit anxious about getting those things all done now that I want to do. But no, I don’t feel like I’m in trouble or have messed up horribly. Someone shall come observe my class next week, and it is going to be amazing…, because, even though I forgot it recently, I am amazing and I am an amazing teacher. God has blessed me greatly in this realm, and I’m ready to set flame to the world of my classroom. (Which, the students have already told me that I already have…, even though I had to ask them what they even meant, because I had felt like I was totally failing them as a teacher… They, however, were adamant that I had so far been the best teacher they had ever had in the subject… Pretty darn cool, huh? That’s the kind of thing I forget so often. I get lost in my head about having not done my best, and forget that even my not-best is still purty darn good.)

Thank you, God and Universe, for such a blessing in this life. Guide me to continue to be an expression of your love in the world, especially through my teaching and creativity. Amen.

Post-a-day 2021

Giving up

Today, I had to give up being better than others. Instead, I had to acknowledge what was truly best for me and for my students. I need not be the one to put forth the effort regarding certain things in class, especially when it is specifically someone’s job to handle such things. I am paid to teach and asked to teach. When something else is preventing me from doing my job, it becomes my job to let the person know whose job it is to handle the problem.

And so, I did that today. I cried a bunch in that meeting, but I feel good about the whole situation now. I trust the person into whose hands I set the situation, and his words and approach and plans eased me, despite my initial aversion to reaching out for the support. And his casual comment about having been nearly three decades in the military somehow both surprised me and did not – “No wonder you are so calm,” I replied. His calm, calming, yet ruling demeanor makes sense with such context.

I have a high level of confidence that things will be much, much better going forward, and that I, much more so than up to this point, will be able to do my job and teach this one particular class. At last, we can begin to breathe and to have some fun.

Post-a-day 2021

Beginning to breathe

The first day of school was a decent success. Sure, it was way too hot in the building, though the air was blasting loudly – so loudly that it was difficult to hear many of the students through masks -, as it has almost entirely broken and is being coaxed into working reasonably until replacement parts can arrive (very expensive replacement parts). And yes, we ran out of time and didn’t finish half of what I had intended for the first class. However, I liked the kids, and I think the like and respect and, at least slightly, fear me. All of which is a very good beginning.

One student, upon recognizing me in the hall, immediately hugged me fervently, not for the first time. It was adorable, and also empowering. I had only been their teacher for nine weeks, and yet had made such an impact on the lives of several. I know that I will have to be the Mrs. Wood – the teacher who somehow made me feel pathetic and useless and not good enough and embarrassed, though I had always felt like she cared about me – and unintentionally cause upset for certain people, certain students. Not everyone is ready to hear me when I enter their lives. But, for the ones who are, it is magical to see how my dreams are being achieved in their successes moving forward in life.

I am terrified of all the work this will entail, the time it will take to do the job I want to do. And I am ready.

Let’s go, Clark*.

*Kent… because I am the superhero setting aside my workout gear, and putting on the undercover suit for a while.

Post-a-day 2021

Wow – impactful interactions

Today at the clothing store, I had an amazing exchange with a mother and daughter that lasted close to an hour. I helped others on and off throughout that time, but most of my time and efforts were spent either folding clothing or interacting with the two of them. While part of me wants to go into extreme detail with the whole event, for right now, a greater part of me wants simply to acknowledge that the interaction happened, and then dwell in the delight of it here in my own space, without sharing anything else about it at present.

And I am going to go with that part within me, because it feels true to what I want for myself right now.

Perhaps I will share more about it later, and perhaps not. Either way, you can know that it was a spectacular interaction for me, and it has me slowly thinking more and more about what might be next (or, even, later at some point) for me in my life. It was that amazing for me. : )

Post-a-day 2020

Repairing and Improving, with Joy

I will have some classes to teach for the next week and a half… French classes.

I wasn’t sure how exactly I would approach it all, until this morning, that is.

In the first class of the day, it happened that two of the students had a sibling who had been taught by me during the first quarter of this school year, also for French.

After answering some of their questions regarding things like, ‘Do you really only talk to them in French?’, we entered into a natural and almost immediate discussion on whether I could do that with them, these students I have now.

We talked through the method I follow, as well as some whys for it, and every single one of them was enrolled in the idea: Yes, we want to do it, please.

It was almost shocking, but also not, when I considered how I have always loved such opportunities as a student.

Nonetheless, I was delighted.

And so we began setting up their tools, discussing barriers they are likely to meet, and preparing overall for what was going to start next class meeting.

I even gave them homework, and they were okay with it (and surprised themselves that they were okay with the specific assignments).

They left with excited nervousness in their space, and I was delighted with the whole ordeal.

Another two younger siblings were in my next class, and discussion arose – though differently than before – regarding my teaching methods, eventually reaching the point of my asking them whether they would be interested in using the method for our time together.

They, too, were unanimous in the affirmative.

The final two classes of the day were even more willing to be enrolled into the idea than the morning kids, and some even went so far as to smile really largely and to bounce and say how excited they were.

It was adorable.

… and refreshing.

I can hardly wait for next class. 🙂

Note: It had seemed that having everyone on board and truly understanding the expectations and the hows were my biggest struggle in the past…, hopefully, this one day in mostly English will be the needed improvement for me… fingers crossed!! ❤

Post-a-day 2019

Love you long time…

Waiting on an unknown kid to return the borrowed keys that now need to open a door for me, I chitchat with the coach whose keys they are.

I turn as a kid enters, see that he is beginning to hand the mass of keys back to the coach, and I say, somewhat smirking-smiling, “You’re the one I’m waiting on for these keys?”

It is one of my students.

He hands the keys over while I am saying this, and he gives me an affirmative answer, along with a small chuckle and a reasonably large smile.

Just as he is beginning to show his pearly whites and adorable little grin, I notice that he is about to run into me… no, that isn’t it,… without any pretext, he has simply stepped toward me, arms outstretched and he now hugs me, sweetly, while telling me that he misses me.

(Remember that my teaching ended last week, and this was my first day not being their teacher anymore.)

“You wouldn’t have even had class with me today,” (they have a sort of rotating schedule), “so you haven’t even had time to start missing me.”

“I know, but I still miss you.”

I love being in the classroom with kids, but I also really love being in this kind of relationship with them, where they speak comfortably yet still entirely respectfully to me, and interactions are more like real life, and less like a staged hierarchy of nonsense rules of society and propriety (mostly totally due to arbitrary age decisions).

I love kids.

And I love offering what I have to share that can help them move forward on their respective paths to glorious adulthood and making a beautiful difference in this beautiful world.

Yep… And I also love hugs…

Post-a-day 2019

Le jour last, part II

Today was my last day of classes in this role… it went beautifully and wonderfully.

I sang my students a very important-to-me song and blessing (ukulele accompaniment and lead vocals by yours truly), and they really got it, and it was clear they felt the love.

I felt the love from them, too.

And I felt how powerful it can be when I approach something with my heart, who I am and doing more and more every day to be who I want to be…

When almost every single freshman left class, and just had to hug me – and I don’t mean lame half-hugs, but genuine love hugs – before leaving, I really began to become present to the positive impact I have had on the lives of all of these boys.

And I am extremely grateful to God for, firstly, the capability within myself, and secondly, for be opportunity with these boys.

Thank you.

Sat baam.

Now, to sleep, because I have events and grading to do this weekend, and I just really want to sleep a while…

Post-a-day 2019

Oopsie

Today, at the beginning of one of my classes, my students had an oral quiz.

For oral quizzes, they always have to call the same phone number, which is a Google Voice number I chose years ago for this express purpose.

These students had used the Google Voice number before, and most of them just have it saved in their phones, since we use it every time.

A few students, however, did not have it saved today, and so asked for me to write the number on the board.

Okay, sure.

I think about it for a minute, and then write out the number, somewhat confidently and totally surprised – I always have to look it up constantly at the beginning of the school year, and I hadn’t realized that I had re-memorized it again already…, but go, me!

Within thirty seconds, a few students are telling me something…

‘Is that number right?’

‘I think so,’ I reply, ‘but I can check.’

And so I pull out my own phone to go log in and check the number, which is what I usually do in the first place, so it’s no biggie to me.

‘I don’t think that’s the right number,’ others tell me, a sense of assuredness in their voices.

‘Oh, really…?’ I consider…

Suddenly, it hits me: “Oh!… That’s my best friend’s number!” I declare, quickly erasing the number from the board.

Laughing, I put up the correct number, and I marvel at how similar the two are – extremely similar, with just the middle numbers swapped with the end ones.

I shake my head, and I wonder if anyone had already been in the process of leaving a message….!oops

Guess it would be good to give her a heads up… or, perhaps, it would be more fun to leave her with a voicemail of someone praying in French… 😛

After all, that’s what friends are for, right? 😉

Post-a-day 2019

Sans wifi…

Students found out today that I have no television and no wifi (which means no Netflix) at home.

‘But what do you do at home?’ they ask, concernedly.

Well, tonight, I made this, while listening to a crazy mix of music (through my speakers) on a iPod I found that I think my dad handed down to me years ago…, possibly with a good part of the music included…

And now, I’ll go to reading as “Silver Bells” sings along gently on the speakers…

Farewell, digital world – goodnight.

Post-a-day 2019