Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where Would I Be Today Without Teaching?

My word for this year is ENJOY. I'm working on being present and enjoying what happens as I teach and learn.

When I chose ENJOY for my 2014 One Word, I didn't realize how important that word would become this year. (And it's only April.)

Eighteen months ago, I began this journey to my new dream - an elementary teacher. I began with excitement and a little fear. Things have been challenging, both last year and this one. I've learned and grown from each of those challenges, and I know that I'm growing toward the teacher I should be.

I've been looking for things to enjoy and finding them here and there.

Things in my class have been a little crazy since we returned from Spring Break. Apparently, the students think we're done. And we are definitely not.

And my university classes are winding down, so I have lots of assignments to finish up. I began to feel like I was fraying at the edges.

This week - this long week - I was thinking about things. I have had some successes and some, well, failures. I began thinking about the change that I made those eighteen months ago. I wondered where I would be today if I had not made that change. I thought about my previous job; what I was doing and what I would probably be doing now if I had stayed there. Several possibilities went through my head.

And I realized that I would not be happier in any of those scenarios than where I am now. In fact, I would be so much more unhappy. I am right where I should be, enjoying things as I should. (Even if I don't always "feel" it)

Then I thought about all I've been doing for my university classes. This time next year, I will be finishing those classes. I'll have another master's degree. I'll have a permanent teaching license. I'll have 3 years experience in teaching elementary school. All things to enjoy, even if the process now is sometimes not so enjoyable.

One day at the end of the week, I came into the house and my wife asked how my day was. I stopped and thought. It was not a bad day. In fact, it was a pretty good day. There were some challenges throughout the day; there were ups and downs; but things were accomplished and things were enjoyed.

I almost missed it because I didn't think about it.

My kids reminded me about enjoying this week. They began talking about the party we had at Christmas. It was a simple party, not very exciting on the party continuum. But they were excitedly talking about the simple things we did. How much they enjoyed it.

Enjoying doesn't take a lot of wild and crazy things. Enjoying can be decorating a cookie or stringing straw pieces on a necklace. Enjoying can be reading a book that has nothing to do with teaching and learning. Enjoying can be sharing a joke with a group of eight-year-olds.

I'm enjoying these next few weeks of school. After that they won't be my students anymore. But they will always be my kids. My enjoyable kids.

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