Today's blogging challenge prompt is called "This I believe." I went blog-stalking but didn't find any examples so that leaves the interpretation of this WIDE OPEN. And my mind went a little bit crazy. So I have to tone it down and focus. What is it that I believe that I want to share with the whole world?
(Click the picture to go to Big Time Literacy's blog post today and find links about what others believe....)
I believe in love. Maybe that is why I love my hippie themed blog so much and why I really just want a hippie themed classroom. Peace, love, joy. Okay, that is probably an over-simplification, but I'm not so sure. I built my personal teaching philosophy off of what I experienced as a student. And what I remember is that as long as I felt special, valued, and smart, I was. I was a hard working student that learned and produced the correct answers and explored and participated. Once those feelings were either squashed or simply not reinforced, I started to fade. I wilted (in the terms of Kevin Henkes in Chrysanthemum). I was reading an article this morning about teaching emotional intelligence in school and the lead-in posted by one of social media (fb) friends was this: "You know what my son remembers the most about his first time in first grade... how he felt. And that's all I have to say about that." Yeah. Amen. That is what all of us remember most about every school experience we've had. So whether we should or shouldn't tell kids how smart they are, or if we do everything in exactly the perfect sequence to charm them into learning, or whether we make a plethora of mistakes, if we do it in love, they will learn is spite of us, not because of us. Yes, best teaching practices are important. But last year I know I made a bundle of mistakes, but my kids all grew by leaps and bounds and they made incredible progress. That comes from a place of love and acceptance and from relationship. Building that relationship with kids is SO important. This tears down their fear. They are willing to venture forward and make mistakes knowing you might tear apart what they did and the mechanics of it, but you'll never stop believing in the person they are and the abilities they have.
I believe.... in spirituality. And taking care of my spirit. That mostly won't come from friendship or reading books or practicing yoga. It will mostly come from building a relationship with a God of my understanding that loves me unconditionally and wants good things for my life. That power, that essence of an entity that is greater than myself, will fill me with quiet, with peace, with love, and with calm of relationship. Truthfully, sometimes it does come from friends or other people. I know that my higher power works in mysterious ways. I know that because I see it often. So what I know is that I need God, but I what I can't tell you is how it works.
I believe in practicing gratitude. and acceptance. One of my friends tells me consistently, "you don't have to like it kid, you just have to accept it." *sigh* Okay.....
Today I am grateful for good times and bad, happy and sad. The sad moments, days, weeks, make me ever so much more mindful of the good that is already in my life and what is still to come. Today I am keenly aware that I have miracles in my life, and that being a teacher is truly my calling. How many of my friends, family members and fellow citizens go through life just doing a job and not getting to experience that one true calling? A lot. And I found mine and I am going to cling to it and love it. So when morale is low, and since teaching is a profession under direct and constant attack these days, morale IS low, I will remember that I love being a teacher and it is privilege to do what I love.
I have been in suspension for a few days now. I couldn't fight the summer blues. Or whatever this is. Grief maybe. And I had an awakening in my spirit yesterday afternoon when I heard my 19 year old's voice on the phone for the first time in 3 weeks, and I wept. It was then that the fact was driven home to me that I cannot live without her. And today my life is starting to make sense again and it's starting to have some highs and lows and not just be stuck in the middle, in grey matter. Today I am thanking God that she is home safe and that I have the gift of my children in my life. Look out world.... I'm BAAAACCCCKKKK!!!!