One Sunflower

the other 3 R’s – remember, respond, relate

on November 6, 2012

It is November – and there are all kinds of challenges out there to respond to 21  days of gratitude.

I’m not one to set aside certain times of the year for certain types of activities.  If it is something worthwhile or meaningful to be doing, then I should be doing it all the time.  But I do appreciate invitations like this to be more “outloud” about my attitude of gratitude.  When I read about this invitation on the blog, Teach Preschool, (which is amazing by the way,) a particular incident from last week popped into my mind.

It was last Thursday – you know the one – the day after Halloween.  The day started out rough. My anxiety was high because it was the first time this year that my assistant was scheduled to be gone and a sub would be working with me for the day.  Even though it was a sub I requested, I knew this would be a challenging day for my young class.  Having a teacher gone is like having a parent gone:  my little chicks worry and wonder and don’t quite understand why they feel bothered, but they do.

For one of my students, it was just too much to have a stranger in his midst. He didn’t cry or shut down but his natural tendency to be impulsive in a destructive way was a bit more elevated than usual.  Of course it was also the day after Halloween as I mentioned before.  The worst part was that I didn’t respond very well to his behavior.  I tried to discipline when I should have cuddled him.

So how does this relate to gratitude?  You might think I would be grateful for the sub because she helped me maintain some measure of consistency in our daily routine even though it was her first time working with these children.  Yes I am grateful for her but she isn’t the inspiration for this post.  And while my gratitude for my assistant is always heightened when she is absent, she isn’t why I am writing about gratitude either.

No, my gratitude is for this unsettling day and this anxious and angry child – because I need reminders every so often to push the “reset button” and be shown clearly and dramatically what is important. Relationship broke down on Thursday because I failed as a first responder.

Friday was a better day.  I made sure to be ready for Lukas with smiles and hugs, a genuinely loving presence for his 911 calls.

9 responses to “the other 3 R’s – remember, respond, relate

  1. Wonderful. I heard a talk the other day that suggested we think about the way a GPS system says to us “recalculating” each time we take a wrong term. The voice isn’t harsh, just gentle.

  2. Terje says:

    The thought your slice carries is not limited to to the age-level you teach. Reading about your experience and thoughts brings up some situations where I should have used the “reset button.”

  3. newtreemom says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I echo what Terje has said…it applies to other age groups and reminds me of my own need to use the reset button, or as Margie pointed out, heed a gentle reminder to recalculate.

  4. Love, love, love your reflection here. Love this line, “Having a teacher gone is like having a parent gone: my little chicks worry and wonder and don’t quite understand why they feel bothered, but they do.” Your reflection that you needed to push the reset button tells me you are an extraordinary teacher! Great perspective.

  5. Elsie says:

    Lucky Lukas to have you in his life as a loving presence in his life. I will remember to reset when things are out of control.

  6. That reset button is a great metaphor as well as a useful tool. Thanks for a memorable reminder.

  7. I too love the metaphor of that reset button and and also the way that you talked about the 911 calls. Great hearing the background expianation.

  8. Sharry Nyberg says:

    thank you for this beautiful reminder!

  9. Having a teacher gone really is like having a parent gone. It creates dissonance.

    I love the metaphor about the reset button. It’s a good way to think about things when they start to go awry.

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