Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Happy Places

To be totally honest, one of my "happiest of places" is on a beach with a stack of books and a bottle of ice water with a lemon in it! I get there once or twice most years; however, I do have other happy places.  I love a good bike ride on a shaded trail, a great cup of tea on the couch, and a sunset laden dinner on the porch.  I also still get excited on the first day of school and a little melancholy, for real, on the last day of school.
So, at a meeting, when a teacher commented that she was glad to be near to retirement because the parents and kids were not what they used to be, my ears perked up.  The conversation drifted to school not being a "happy place" anymore.   The conversation made me sad.  How could you come to school each morning with a smile on your face when you felt that way?  It was still on my mind when I read Peter's DeWitt's blog post this morning.  It as still on my mind as I drank a second cup of coffee and relished in the wonder of a "Saturday morning" with sunshine.  I really SHOULD be doing laundry, but instead, I'm doing a "reader response"!                                                          
He writes about the essential need to find a "happy" place even when there is incessant paperwork, overwhelming testing, overzealous parents, frenzied students, panicked administrators, endless evaluations, and days that are not that wonderful!  We all have those days, but "No matter how bad things may be from a state level, it's hard to ignore the faces of our students. It's one of the reasons why principals need to walk into every classroom, every day. E-mails, phone calls, and budget conversations can get leaders down, but the faces of students can help bring them back to why they choose to work in a school every day. We have to keep fighting to make sure that school is still our happy place."


For those of us lucky enough to spend our days, weeks, months and years in and around classrooms, looking into the faces of children, every day is an opportunity to make a difference! 

Yes, there are bad days.  Yes, the mandates from the state and administrators could make you insane.  Yes, the paperwork is overwhelming.  Yes, some days are not so great.  Yes, realizing that even if I make a difference every day, I'm not yet "highly effective" in all criteria on an observation makes me disappointed.

Yet, sitting at my little table with a group of eager or even reluctant readers is a happy place.  Yet, sitting on my bright red cushions sharing a book with a student is a happy place. Yet, when a student pops into my room to share what he/she wrote or read, I am assured I am in one of my happiest of places.  Yet, when I get to eagerly share the "real time" reading progress of a student through cloud share, I am in one of my happiest of places.  In spite of all the strife and troubles, I'm sure my little spot in my school is a happy place!


1 comment:

Peter DeWitt said...

Hi Anita,
Thank you so much for writing about your happy place and for referring to my blog. Even though things are tough, as a school administrator, I try to make sure my staff and students laugh every day.
Perhaps yesterday was the best example because I do the "Friday Funnies" on our school news program run by 4th graders. It's an amazing day when K-5 students run up to you with a need to share their jokes.
Hope you find your happy place this weekend.