New Year Resolutions

Today marks the first day back to school for our students. For teachers, today really is New Year’s Day as we think about goals and new beginnings. As I was preparing for the new academic year I was pondering all the things I wanted to be and do differently. My inspiration came from the church homily I heard this weekend on living humbly. Upon hearing the words, I began thinking about my role as an instructional coach and reflected on how I could be more humble in my daily work with teachers, students and administrators. I began to ponder: What does being humble look like? To me it means:
Talking less
Listening more
Admitting you are wrong
Asking for forgiveness
Admitting you don’t know
Asking permission to help
Asking for help
And most importantly not taking yourself so seriously.

That’s a heavy list but I have decided to take on the challenge of being more humble this school year. To be successful in this new endeavor I will need to keep this list close by as a reminder to myself of this practice. More importantly, I will also need accountability to make this happen. Thank you Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life community for providing me with this space to write and share. Posting this resolution makes me accountable to the world!

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation or How a Granddaughter Can Make You Ponder How to Teach

This summer I was so blessed to babysit my 4 month old granddaughter once a week.  It was wonderful to have this special time together and to watch her grow and learn. Last week was the last summer day of babysitting and I marveled at all important things she reminded me to bring to my school year.

Choice:  As my daughter-in-law was preparing to leave for work on the first day she told me she would pick out an outfit for the baby to wear.  I politely said OK, but secretly I wanted to look through the drawers and find the cutest little thing to put on my grandbaby that day!  Well in her rush to get out the door, Mommy forgot to pick out an outfit and grammie was allowed to choose! How glorious!  We all love choice.  Whether it be the clothes we put on or the book we read, we are happier when there is a choice involved.  As a teacher I need to make better use of the need for choice in the people and children with whom I work.

Slow down:  Each Wednesday I spent my days hugging, cuddling, reading, nibbling, walking and pushing a carriage.  We giggled and smiled and tickled and sang.  The days were slow and filled with softness.  There was never any rush to get a thing accomplished. The pace was SLOW!  How often do I forget about the schedule in my school day and let the children lead the way?   I need to take the time to smell the roses and be present to each person I meet, letting go for the moment of the long to do list on my desktop.

Looking to Cues:  Since my little one can’t talk yet, I quickly learned (again) how to read her cues.  Rubbing her eyes meant nap time, crying meant feeding time, and fussing meant change my diaper.  After spending time with my cutie, I got rather good at reading these specific signs.  What signs do my students and teachers send me?  Am I taking the time to know and read these signs and cues?  And once I know these cues do I act on them?  I need to be more present to all the learners that make up our school community.

Letting Go:  At nap time I discovered that I had to find the just right time to put the baby down for her nap. My granddaughter loved to be rocked, but oftentimes I was too fast to take her from my arms to put her into her crib.  When I was too quick she’d roll over eyes wide open and smile up at me as if to say “Grandma please hold me some more.” Finding that “just right” time was tricky and time consuming.  In my instruction do I let go too quickly or do I try to set in place scaffolds that are just right that allow my students to do it on their own? Do I walk away too quickly and let students struggle a little bit for picking them up again? Finding this balance can be tricky yet I am always driven by the fact that this is what teaching is all about:  producing independent thinkers and learners.

My summer days with my granddaughter are over for this year, but I know that I will continue to learn many more new and interesting insights from her through the years to bring into my life and into my teaching. I just need to keep my eyes and mind open to new insights.  I am after all a forever learner!

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for hosting this Slice of Life blog which helps me continue in my writing journey!

How Blessed Am I?

Grandchild number two arrived yesterday with great celebration and cheers.  This makes two grandchildren within four months. So now I am the proud grandmother of a granddaughter and a new little grandson!  

How blessed am I?  

How blessed am I to see my two children give birth to two happy, healthy children.  
How blessed am I to live close enough to see the newborns within hours of their being born and to then be such a part of their days. 
How blessed am I to see the new aunts and uncles (my children) proudly hold their niece and nephew.
How blessed am I to be near extended family and friends that celebrate and help us keep wait.
How blessed am I knowing that these two little cousins will be close enough in age to be playmates at family gatherings – and in between.
How blessed am I to know that each grandchild has an angel of a grandfather to watch over them every minute of every day!
How blessed am I!

Posted in conjunction with Slice of Life Tuesday, a site dedicated to supporting writers in the quest to improve and support.  Thank you Two Writing Teachers.