Sunday, November 30, 2014

Truth #3: Don't Miss Today's Magic

"We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee." 
-Marian Wright Edleman

I recently returned from one of my favorite annual conferences (NCTE-National Council of Teachers of English). I came home energized and inspired by hundreds of colleagues, authors, and old friends I reconnect with and learn alongside once a year right before Thanksgiving. I was blown away by the writing, the thinking, the blogging, and the book publishing that these mentors and friends are creating and sharing with the education profession. 

As I returned home from the conference and entered my classroom on Monday morning, Kaleb was busy taking care of his morning job- writing the daily quote on the board for us to Tweet out to the world.

"What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while."
-Author Unknown

This quote immediately reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend at NCTE about writing my second book.  
Confession. I've been stuck in the land of perfectionism. I've been completely avoiding the work I was born to do: to share my learning from the children in my classroom with our profession, our community, our state, and our world.    

I've been teaching my little heart out, but I've hardly written about any of that work for fear that what I write won't be "big" enough or important enough to post. I'm supposed to have grand, important truths to share and wisdom to impart on this blog all the time. 
You know... Long, eloquent, alabamateacheroftheyearish thinking and writing and blog posting. Right?

Here's what reflecting from NCTE's learning, slowing down for Thanksgiving, and recognizing all that I have to be thankful for did for me. 
I've learned that I'm so busy persevering about the the big differences I'm supposed to be making that lots of times I completely miss the small, but extraordinary daily moments with children in the classroom.

Our lives as educators are filled with these seemingly "ordinary" teaching and learning moments, but if we slow down long enough to look closely, listen, and pay attention, it will be easy to document these moments and celebrate the simple magic of the day.

I am going to recommit to valuing these moments with children and see them as not just ordinary, but extraordinary. 
Then, as I make sure to soak in the magic that happens in the classroom right in front of my eyes, I can also write about and share that learning and not worry about the daily grind, the daily learning and growing being anything but what it is....imperfect and magical. 

Let's remember that the small, rough-drafted, ordinary moments of our teaching lives will add up to big differences in the lives of the children we teach.  It's not about perfection, but about recognizing that our work can make the kind of difference that we may never foresee or even imagine.

Off to pay attention to the magic.

Ann Marie