Friday, May 25, 2012

in appreciation

My favorite day of the year,!  There are 1,728 hours until school starts again!  All kinds of limitless possibilities sitting out there on the horizon - just waiting to be grabbed!

It was a pretty good school year.  For the first time in many years - 13 or so - I did not have an assistant, thanks to budget cuts.  I managed OK with less time to plan, less help, more students, and more classes.  I'm not sure my students fared as well.  Ultimately they pay the price.  Today we heard that our school will have more teacher assistants in the fall!  I am cautiously excited, as is my assistant from the last several years, who was assigned to another class this year.  She helped other students, but she never really left my class.

For some reason that I do not understand - gift of God, perhaps - I have finished this year very unstressed.  Usually by the time the end of May rolls around, my shoulders are in knots, I am not sleeping well at night because I am afraid of forgetting something while I sleep, and I just don't even want to talk to people.  That didn't happen this year.  I still had all my end of the year stuff plus Honors night to plan, plus the issues from home, but no stress.  I walked through things as they came, and life was good!

I was even able to appreciate some other people this year.  Teachers love to be appreciated, and some of the things that I have saved for years have been thank-you notes.  They come so rarely - from parents or supervisors or administrators or students.  I still have one that my principal of several years ago wrote to me after an Honors Night.

Person #1 on my list of gratitude was my kids' bus driver.  I'm not even sure what his name is, but my kids love him.  When we moved to our new house, I knew by the diversity of surrounding neighborhoods, there was a good possibility that they would be two of very few white kids on the bus.  My husband was horrified at the idea that I would even entertain the thought of them being in such a situation.  As it turns out, they were the only white folks on the bus, but it has been just fine.  The bus is drama-free, the bus driver waits for us in the morning if he gets to the stop first, and my kids have appreciated his wisdom and outlook on life.  A quick note for him, and a gift card to Chik-Fil-A. 

People #2-6 on my list were my co-workers who helped me with Honors Night.  I wrote them notes, too, and bought each a gourmet chocolate bar.  Not expensive, but just a way to say thanks.  They appreciated being appreciated.

Person #7 would be my good priest.  He has been going through a lot lately, as his mother is "hanging on" and they are taking everything hour by hour, day by day.   He has missed a couple of Masses in the past 2 weekends, and we never know if there is going to be daily Mass in the morning when we get there or if he will have gotten "the call".  Since it was about time, I figured I would take advantage of confession while I could, and went yesterday.  I mentioned something about being angry and the language reflecting that, and I had to smile as he commented wryly, " it usually does". 

Dear hubby and I are both agreeable to counseling, but quite honestly, the whole idea of working through things isn't very appealing.  I'm afraid they will decide that I'm the one that is totally off in left field somewhere.  And so I said something about the fear of working through things.  Fear doesn't usually come from God.  I know the Holy Spirit speaks through this man.  With barely a thought, he pulled an example from what he is currently going through with his mom and siblings.  Apparently things have not been all sunshine and roses with his siblings through the years.  He said how much he had dreaded what he is now going through, but how awesome God's healing love had been in the past weeks.  Never be afraid of the healing love that Jesus wants to pour out, he tells me...bite the bullet and work through it!  He is always SO encouraging!

Person # 8 would be my principal.  He has his issues, but he is also kind and compassionate.  I had an observation back in November, I think.  It was such a train wreck that I never went in afterwards for a post-observation conference.  In the middle of my math lesson, with my principal sitting in the back of my room, I had kids asking for "call-home slips" and refusing to lift their heads off the desk.  The icing on the cake was when one of them - in his socks - got up and started to 409 his desk in the middle of a lesson on equivalent fractions.  The desk was dirty, after all.  Probably because he had written on it.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when it was all done.  I chose laughter.  This week, I had to finally sit with him and sign end-of-the-year paperwork and that observation.  He said that in spite of the fact that I had to constantly redirect attention, my teaching never stopped, and that it was a masterful job.  I thought it was so kind of him to see the glass as at least half-full. 

And so here we are with a post that I meant to be about the opportunities of summer, but ended up to be about gratitude.  What are you grateful for?  How can you show it?

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