By Teachers, For Teachers
Wow. With the mass firings in
I know that many of us are so busy rocking it out in our classrooms that we often don’t have time to keep up with everything else. Even if you’re living in the educational bubble, you’ve surely heard about the Rhode Island teacher layoffs heard round the world. And have an opinion or two (or five hundred if you’re like me).
Hearing that these School Turnaround Grant programs have the support of the federal government just leaves me feeling crushed and slightly hopeless. While I fully support the need for radical change in education and am similarly outraged by the disparities in educational quality across the country, is this really the most promising solution we can come up with?
Despite how heavy my heart is as I write this, I will swallow my sadness and tell you a story that might help to keep you motivated despite all this insanity raging on outside of our classrooms.
Because I think we could all use a little encouragement and a moment to remember the difference hard working teachers can make right now. (All without wearing head-to-toe leather, spending every dime of their life’s savings or giving up any semblance of a personal life like glorified teachers in the movies always seem to do...)
“The Mystery Bulb” Magical Teaching Moment
In the gray that is winter, I decided to perk up my classroom with a little plant life. I purchased two amaryllis bulbs, a perky little pot and some soil and hefted it all to school. I showed my friends one of the bulbs and we planted the other together. I didn’t tell them what kind of plant it was, instead naming it The Mystery Bulb and challenging them to figure out what it was by the time it bloomed.
Honestly, I didn’t expect this little side project, designed to beautify my classroom while simultaneously add a little spice to our morning meeting, to become the sensation that it was. Each morning, my friends raced (I mean, borderline sprinted) to the bulb to monitor its growth, take measurements, graph progress and discuss predictions. They brought in books of plants and tried to match illustrations to our actual specimen.
And the day it bloomed? Oh, the day it bloomed was MONUMENTAL. I mean, amaryllis are pretty gorgeous but this blossom seemed to take their collective little breath away. After celebrating our flower, photographing it within an inch of it’s life and writing copious shared writings, poems and observations (seriously, this project took on an unexpected life of it’s own), one of my friends came up to me and said:
“You always make learning so fun. You think you sneak it in on us, but I see what you’re doing. Thanks for the flower.”
Um, and I die.
I urge you to WRITE THESE MOMENTS DOWN! I know I’m not the only one who has stories like this one.
THESE MOMENTS are why we teach.
THESE MOMENTS are what keep us going when it seems like no one else can recognize or appreciate what we do everyday.
So, do yourself a favor, keep a journal. Nothing fancy, just something to jot down a note or a quote here or there so that you have something to turn to when times get rough.
What is your magical teaching moment? Share in the comments section!