Choose kind…

It is a hot, hot day.

Our Memorial Day assembly was solemn and lovely, but now my kids are restless, and anxious to talk.  It is physically impossible for sixth graders to be quiet for more than ten minute spans, and the assembly lasted almost two periods.  They try to settle in and begin the reading/writing/conferring work that is our multi genre writing workshop now…but our classroom ripples with hard-to -contain- in- one- seat energy.

It is a hot, hot day. And there is a lot to do.

As we close in on the last weeks of school, I am ever conscious of the clock and the work to be done.  I catch myself beginning the period before the bell has rung, and ending the period after it was supposed to be over.  There is never enough time in any given school day as it is, but at this time of year the clock seems to be ticking faster.  Today, as we break for the Memorial Day weekend early (those unused snow days!), I can hear an unpleasant pitch to the tone of my voice: it’s the sound of an anxious teacher, a teacher too conscious of the ticking clock, and lessons still needing to be taught.

It is a hot, hot day. And there is a lot to do. But, the children need me to choose kind.

I thought about that this morning, when a student came to our room early to discuss her photo essay (what she said she needed help with), but spent half an hour talking through a  “friend situation” instead (what she really needed help with).  This is the time of year when friendships have frayed, and long summer days without friends to hang out with loom large.

I thought of my first  writing conference of the day in which my student let drop that he was “actually, really not looking forward very much to summer after all”. One of his parents is moving out of the house and across the state. It will be the summer he has already begun to call “the divorce summer”.

I thought of an eighth grader who had walked me to my car the other day. He is going to attend high school elsewhere, leaving all his friends behind and having to start all over again.  “I will be a nobody,” he said, mournfully, “and where I am a somebody, they’ll just forget all about me”.

I thought of the student who  stopped by our classroom at lunch to announce that the boy she’d had a crush on all year (the one she’d called “the devil’s spawn” just the other day) had finally asked her out.  I took in her  beaming face, and the way she hopped around with delight, and I let myself “forget” (just for a few minutes) that she is quite behind in her writing project.  We’ll get to that later, I felt, right now this kiddo needs a happy  hug.

It is a hot, hot day. And there is a lot to do. But, the children need me to choose kind.  Especially now.



16 thoughts on “Choose kind…

  1. This is a beautiful piece Tara. Full of important stuff we all need to remember on these hot hot days when there is a lot to do and we need to choose kind especially now. I love the structure of your writing here as much as I value the message.

  2. So true. Be kind. Always. I have heard that pitch in my voice as well. My oldest grandgirl read fromthe Wonder Precept book every night.

  3. Just a few words repeated contain so much power in this piece. As I’m reading this, I glance at the time, and I hope the long weekend has started for you and soon you will be on your way to the farm. Once there, let the cooling breezes brush the hot of the day away and enjoy your space.

  4. I know you are a serious teacher, but this post shows that kind-hearted, letting-go-of-the-stuff-to-do-pile moment. ( Did I use that hyphenated adjective craft move correctly?) I’m afraid when you return next week, there will still be angst over getting things done, and you will leave the door halfway open to the summer calling outside.

  5. Thank you Tara for always putting it into perspective for me. We have 4 weeks of school left and I find myself in panic, with so many things we still need to do. Warm weather and restless children…I will remember your words and pause to be responsive to what is in front of me. Thank you. Happy Summer!

  6. I love this piece for two reasons. The first is the message. You shared your feelings truthfully and proved to be a great role model by reminding us to choose kind. The second reason I love this piece is the structure/format. The subtleties you repeated throughout showed the power of the piece. Keep calm, and write on. Summer is just around the corner! ~Amy

  7. Put the priorities in the right order, and life will be good. The sweetest post, dear friend. I am not surprised at any of the decisions. You do choose kind.

  8. It’s a hot, hot day and there’s so much to do and this thoughtful teacher chooses KIND! And these kids are so lucky to be with her. They won’t forget her KIND!

  9. Love every word in this post! I wonder if those who have never been in a teacher’s shoes ever contemplate the moments like the ones you shared with us that fill a teacher’s day and heart?

  10. I am with Elsie. Hope you are at the farm enjoying a well deserved rest. I am not surprised you chose kind and your actions just added to my little hoard of kindness behavior observed.

  11. Pingback: Day 19 of the March SOLSC #SOL17 | TWO WRITING TEACHERS

  12. I love the repetition and the reality. This is what curriculum calendars don’t understand- real children have real problems and you “can’t do Bloom until you do Maslow”. Worries about safety and belonging will interfere with other academic pursuits. Love your post and how you choose kind.

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