Celebration Saturday: February 15th., 2014


Celebrate with Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes  …. because, we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get!

Another week fractured by snowstorms and ice.  It has been hard to settle back into a routine with my kids with snow days slicing and dicing the school year, but I am determined not to let the thought of “oh my goodness, how am I ever going to get caught up with my curriculum?!” send me into panicked gloom.  The work will get done. My kids will be fine. We will continue to have a great year of learning together.  One way not to give in to gloom and doom is to….find things to celebrate! So, here goes:

1. I celebrate the snow.  Because, why not – we have so much of it! Snow days gave me the chance to settle on the living room sofa with my husband, the dog, the cat, and great books to finally get around to reading.  All stretched out , leaning against the sofa’s arms like bookends, we lost ourselves to books, newspapers, back issues of the New Yorker for long stretches of time. Every once in a while, we’d share snippets, observations and great lines.    It was wonderfully cozy and completely out of the ordinary.  Definitely something to celebrate! Especially when, rising to get another warm cup of tea, one came upon a sight like this:

cardinal in snow

2. I celebrate the fact that one of my students finally came for after school help.  Getting her to do this  was a long and painful process, and (to be honest) I thought that D. would be one of those lost causes that sometimes come our way in our teaching lives.  These are the kids that, try as valiantly as one does, are impossible to reach.  Sometimes there is stuff going on at home that gets in the way of our work in school, sometimes it’s an immaturity that just needs to work itself through a sixth grader’s  jumble of emotions and thought processes, sometimes it’s a learning disability that is slowly uncovered.   And sometimes it’s just a mystery.  I can usually spot these kids by the end of our first week in school, and they become my “special projects” – the ones that I have to work at all year, not knowing whether I will succeed or not.  And sometimes, they will leave my room as much of a mystery as the day they walked in.  These are the ones that keep me up at night, years later, when for some reason I have a flash of memory and I think about this or that student, and wonder how they are.  Students like M., who read and wrote poetry in my classroom but did little else – oh, he’d come for after school help, but only to talk poetry and books.  Which was awesome, but did not address the social studies he was failing (tests? assignments? projects? Pshaw!) .  Just before Winter Break, M. showed up in my classroom to return a book he’d borrowed years ago  – only now he was a freshly minted Marine.  The only thing I recognized in the young soldier that stood at my door were his eyes – sky blue and true. He didn’t stay long, and didn’t say much…but his hug said it all – sometimes all they need is to know that we care and believe.

So, back to D.  for whom I’ve waited after school countless times, had many conversations and meetings with Mom, had her stay after class for “a few words”… with nothing to show for it.  I knew that all this “extra attention” was just making D. angry. I could see it in her sullen face, the “just leave me alone” expression.  I waited for her after school on Tuesday, and when she didn’t show I emailed Mom – there was some back and forth, “she came to see but you were not there!”, and the promise that she would be there the next day.  Wednesday was a nutty day – a big storm was predicted that night and then we were going into our February break (two more lost days!) – and I fully expected D. not to show up after school.  I packed up, watered my plants, tidied up the classroom library, and listened to the building empty out.  Then…there she was!

We had a wonderful review session, almost an hour of good, meaningful review and work.  She talked about how much she was loving “The Lions of Little Rock”, the book I had cajoled her into checking out of the library.  She smiled, she was engaged.  This was the D. I had hoped to have in my classroom, the D. I knew was hiding under all that other adolescent “stuff.”   Will she be back again on Tuesday? Will this be the student I see in my room for the rest of the year? Who knows!

But, for now, I celebrate D.!


(Shared by Patricia Polacco on her FB page today)


12 thoughts on “Celebration Saturday: February 15th., 2014

  1. Oh it is the best of teachers who does not give up! Persistence in spite of adversity should be honored in your post this morning. It is the best of people who find joy – after digging out from the mountains of snow. (We had more than 2 feet at our house this week and 12 more inches due today!)

  2. Tara – I loved reading about your “D”! What an inspiring story and one that reminds us not to give up when it comes to our students. I have had many “D’s” in my class over the years. Your effort and connection with her just might be the turning point in her learning life! She is lucky to have you! We don’t get much snow on the west coast – so your description of your snow days sound wonderful! You snow photos are amazing! Have a great weekend!

  3. So happy to hear about D, & about M too-that is the energy that keeps our lights glowing! And I loved hearing about you and your husband’s time together, cozy inside while the storm was outside! Good times no matter what. Finally, thank you for the sharing of Patricia Polacco quotes, especially on FB. I know I can go there too, but like what you choose! Happy Weekend!

  4. First, I love the new layout of your blog!! The top photo is breathtakingly beautiful! Second, your story about D. gives me hope for all the other Ds that I have. I will not give up!

  5. Thank you for sharing this so we can celebrate D along with you. Lions of Little Rock is a powerful book – a brilliant one to connect with and to build that relationship as readers together. Thank you for your persistence with this child. It is a model for all of us – how we have to commit to all of our students!

  6. Oh, I’m so happy D. showed up. She took her time, and fortunately for her, you were still waiting. She is lucky and knows that on some level. She’ll be back! And your marine, he made me want to cry. I’ve had a few like him. Saw one on Friday, he’s now a senior in high school, a fine young man who came up to me and shook my hand. Never would I have thought this once struggling boy would stand up so strong and tall.

  7. It’s amazing to be part of this process of growing up with our students. I love the stories you shared with us. And the photo of the redbird is breathtaking! We loved Lions of Little Rock – it was on our Mock Newbery book list last year! I’m glad D is loving it too!
    Thanks for sharing the Polacco quote. It’s a keeper. I celebrated our bit of snow this week.

  8. Enjoyed this post. It can be hard to go forward with just blind faith that something good will come out of the things we do. I’m glad you have these rewards to keep you motivated!
    “No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakens into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted for the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth
    anything is done in faith.”
    – Albert Schweitzer

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