One Sunflower

I’ll be coming around the mountain

It is time again – for the staff at my school to revisit their cycles of inquiry, and process the data/evidence we’ve been collecting over the quarter.  We are part of a grant this year so there is extra money and extra time for every one to do this work which is great.  But of course a different timeline and agenda for the work puts everyone in a tizzy.

I came back from Thanksgiving Break with a pall of gloom over my head as I anticipated the Dec. 5th deadline.  My head was trying to remember the glorious goals I set for myself in September and get back on track with the reflective processes I set in motion in October.  Somehow the month of assessments and conferences in November got me way off the path.

But a short meeting with our teacher-leaders for this process and an email from the principal with some guiding questions to consider has worked like a “trip check” from Triple A.  I think I’m back on track and feeling less like I have a flat tire and more like I’m going for a taxi to the airport.

Of course I’m the one who has to pack and call the taxi — but I can do it, I’ve got the guidance to move forward.


spare room

On Mondays, my classroom is a “spare room.”  I don’t have students attending on Mondays and I’m usually occupied logging data on my computer, doing home visits or convening with others for professional development or other meetings.  Space is currently a primium at our school; every office, every hallway and cubby hole is occupied every day over the full course of the day.  So on Mondays and after my students leave the other 4 days, it isn’t uncommon for little happenings to occur in my classroom for brief parts of the day.

Such was the case this morning and what a delight it was for me to be a fly on the wall in my classroom.  A retired couple in our district, who are frequent volunteers in classrooms, had gathered all kinds of gift items and set up a little Christmas shop for children of single parent families.  The students were brought to the room in groups of three and with an adult helper they browsed the tables for one big thing and one small thing and then wrapped them up, wrote a card and slipped it into a large shopping bag to take home.

I watched slyly from my desk and could tell when the realization of what they were doing sank in.  Their eyes would change, a little smile would form on their lips and a few of them got a bit giddy.  It was absolutely precious to watch.

I didn’t get much work done this morning.



n. a spirit of familiarity and trust existing among friends

The email came last Friday, only the second day of our long week of parent/teacher conferences.  Intense meetings with parents was reminding a fellow teacher about her own family and she wrote:

“It makes me feel more like a family when I hear  about your families and share about mine.”  Included in the email were photos of her kids and one of herself as a child in her dad’s lap.

About an hour after her note another one came from our principal, a proud daddy eagerly waiting for the end of a long day so he could drive south to watch his daughters compete in a championship soccer game. “I’m just busting at the seams with pride too…”

At the start of this year, our staff made some promises to each other to boost our collegiality.  One of the suggestions for how we could do this was something we’ve come to call “rah rah” – the act of supporting and cheering for each other.

I’m hoping these emails continue this week.  I hope to hear more about the families behind my comrades here at school.  I put forth my own two cents today with this letter, poem and these pictures:

“We couldn’t do what we do with the intensity we do it if we didn’t have the loving support of family, friends, pets, colleagues.  Going home exhausted each night, it is those who sit across from us at the dinner table or who call us on the weekend to see how we are doing, or who nuzzle us as we (finally) relax, that fill us up so we can do it all again.

I was inspired to write a poem about my sources – and I hope someone else will pick up the torch now and continue the sharing.  This is a time of year to express gratitude not just for those sources but for the incredible work done each day as we are sources for our kids, their families and each other.”

Time and Time Again

Time and time again, in time 
I steadied with hand,
lifted to shoulders,
guided with words,
motioned with glances.

You were a child, my child,
a growing child,
the love of my life,
loosed by birth into the world
and I held you safe in my arms.

Now with time,
and more time gone,
no longer a child but still my child,
my grown up child,
you walk with a stride so strong and sure,
standing shoulder to shoulder,
and eye to eye with me.

But time and time again,
we’ve remembered to lean into each other.
Your hug on my shoulders lifts me up,
your  touch on my hand steadies my way,
loving words spoken,
knowing glances shared between us.

My child, my child, my forever child,
you’re the love of my life for all time,
loosed in the world
but held tight to my heart.