It’s almost time for bed for this little chica, but I have to share the wonderful fun I’ve had the past two evenings.
One of my best friends from childhood, Barb, posted a class photo of our 4th grade class. What a blast from the past! Several of my old schoolmates are also Barb’s facebook friends, so an entire thread was developed from this photo. Who’s the girl in the third row? Who is that next to Deb?
Some of us have been amused to find their haircuts are still pretty similar. My own daughters realized that they not only look just like each other, they also look like the 10-year-old me.
The best gift of this thread is that I have reconnected with some smart, genuinely nice people from my childhood. And now that I’m no longer painfully shy, I am looking forward to sharing great conversations with these talented people!
Two years ago, my principal called me into her office one spring day. Then she shut the door. That is NEVER a good thing. After hemming and hawing, she told me she was moving me to second grade. She knows I’m happiest working with 5th graders. This was not what I was expecting. Some teachers get news like this and react very badly. Yelling, crying, threatening to call the union, blah, blah, blah. The truth is, a principal can put you into whatever grade he or she needs you, as long as you’re certified.
I took a deep breath and said, “If you don’t change, you don’t grow”. Mostly, I was trying to convince myself, but in the final analysis, it was true. While a year in second grade confirmed that I have a much better temperament for older children, I learned so much about child development, patience, and how to teach the fundamentals of reading. I never knew what to do with fifth graders reading on a first or second grade level. Now I do.
I obviously like plans and like knowing what’s ahead, but sometimes being given a push in a new direction helps me grow professionally, emotionally, or intellectually. When faced with such a change, ask yourself “What can I learn? How will this make me a better, stronger person?” And if you don’t like whatever change you’re going through, don’t forget that this change will change into something else if you just have a little patience.
Yesterday I started my new position back in my old school district. I was feeling very overwhelmed at having made such an abrupt turn around in New York, driving for three days and jumping straight into a new job all within five days.
My first day entailed sitting through a two hour lecture from someone I’d never heard of who talked about No Child Left Behind, Title I schools, and all the education “stuff” that goes along with testing. His name is Mark Rowleski and he was actually quite interesting to listen to. However, I could feel myself becoming more anxious with each passing minute as he spoke about annual yearly progress and test scores while I was realizing the enormity of setting up a classroom in a new school where I know almost no one, don’t have any idea how things are done, and have very little time.
Then he said something that literally slowed my breathing to a normal rate.
You can’t eat an elephant in one bite.
One bite at a time. That’s how I’m going to make things work out. One task accomplished, one problem solved, and keep moving forward.
(Can I make it an elephant size ice cream cake in my imagination? Eating an elephant would be gross!)