Things I Know 160 of 365: This is what it’s all about

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.

– Smokey Robinson and Ronald White

Watch this.

It was how the last class I’ll be teaching for the foreseeable future began.

I cannot think of any better way to wrap up my teaching career at SLA.

I knew I wanted to write about it. In fact, as I started to plan this writing in my head, I began with something like, “I know this isn’t what it’s all about, but…”

I mulled and I mulled and I mulled. There are ciders and wines that have seen less mulling.

My conclusion – this is what it’s all about.

If it weren’t me who walked into that classroom and the video depicted some other unsuspecting teacher being serenaded by his class, I would venture to guess that that teacher had done well. I would watch that poor sot get surprised by his students, turn to you, and tell you he’d done something right. Because all I want in this world is for anyone who hears about them or meets them to realize how wonderful my students are, my instinct was to downplay any role I may have had in inspiring the song.

I frequently reprimand other teachers who denigrate or allow others to denigrate the impact and importance they hold in the classroom. I suppose this means I need to own these things myself as well.

So, I say proudly, moments like these are exactly what public education is all about.

If it’s about creating community, done.

If it’s about being a positive force in the lives of my students, check.

If it’s about building a safe space for children to be silly, yes.

If it’s about nurturing creativity, sure.

If it’s about developing strength and confidence of student voice, roger.

If it’s about helping students see the value of creating authentic moments of support and compassion in the lives of other, alright.

If it’s about staking out a claim within the teaching profession that means seeing every student as completely as possible every day, got it.

If it’s about establishing caring relations with each person in my charge in a way that inspires reciprocity, mission accomplished.

In the last class of my last day, my students gave me something I will always cherish – a reminder that I am loved.


2 thoughts on “Things I Know 160 of 365: This is what it’s all about

  1. Amen brother. This job is consuming. Sometimes we take time away from family and friends and work crazy hard to make a lesson incrementally better for one class; really, we do that for all our kids. When something like this happens you know you've hit that sweet spot. When something like this happens you know you've been doing something right. Emerson said: “To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded!”Enjoy your success my friend. You deserve every moment of it. 😉

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