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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...

Wednesday

Welcome Back, Ms. Kotter


*forgive the janky pic...I just like what it says.*

Hey Girls & Boys, Guys & Dolls!! I missed you!! Where were you, Ndygo? Well, I was in Venezuela on an adventure. I packed my classroom up 1 day & the next I packed a bag & got on an international flight. Literally. It was good times!! While away, since I left at the EXACT end of my school year, I had to process it there. My return home, attempting to clean my coffee table, I ran across a gift that helped me identify my lessons.

Dear Ms. Sunshyne,

I love the way you let stuff GO! because you just get attitudes from students, but at the end of the day you just don't care! That's good. Maybe you need to rub off on some other teachers (names removed) but anyway. I apologize for all the bad stuff I did before and just know that you not gonna be 4gotten next year.

Love,

Brownin


That letter did a couple of things for me. 1, it let me know that I had successfully learned a lesson from my friend & fellow teacher, Minnie. Last summer, when talking about all the isht her students throw at her she said she never got mad. I couldn't figure that out because even my younger students have found ways to get up under my skin like popcorn hulls in my teeth. ANNOYING!! It just made sense, & thank goodness for it because these children....LAWDY LAWDY LAWD!!! They were off the ((fill in the blanks here with the most ridiculous thing). Unbelievable attitudes...they stayed angry at each other & themselves, they hated everyone & everything. They were unbelievable. & I had my moments, but they never saw it & I survived. Thanks, Minnie.

The other thing it did was remind me that children take from you what they need, not what you want them to have. EVERY school year I come back to this lesson. While I would LOVE it if they went into their classrooms next year all well versed on the parts of speech & knowing how to construct good sentences & turn them into good paragraphs...that may not be what they got from me. This particular Brownin learned that you CAN shake things off. She may not start applying the lesson anytime soon, but she at least knows now that it's possible. I don't know of any school system that has a learning standard/objective for that, but for this child that particular lesson was important.

I was also reminded that when you're doing what you're supposed to do, it comes so naturally that you assume you must not be doing it well. Funny how the more I struggle at something the more effort I feel like I'm putting in & the better the end result should be. Not. I'm still working on that other lesson I learned last Summer: trust my gifts!! I am where I am supposed to be & that's a great feeling, even when things are a lot little funky.

See, Summer break is working. It's revitalizing me already, despite the fact that my Venezuelan adventure gave me the gift of an upper respiratory infection. But hey, that's what health insurance is for & I'm thankful to have it.

Stay tuned as I bore you once or thrice more with gifts left me from the students. Nobody's coming to shower any awards on brown teachers for positively affecting the lives of brown children, so....I gotta shine my own spotlight from time to time. & since this is my house, on my block, in my neighborhood... You know the drill--

Watch me move.

6 comments:

  1. Aweez you is back!!!! I know I took a break too for some sunning but nothing as exciting as you and Venezuela. I's jelly! Not of the upper respiratory infection cause that just sounds narsty but you know what I'm saying. Now to the point...I sometimes wish I could tolerate children because it seems so gratifying what you do. Everyone's gifts are different I guess. Consider this my applause and award for you making a difference for the brown children. You are great and fantabulous and wonderful and great again!!!

    Side note I'm not bored with this I actually like slipping into Aweezy's world.

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  2. I need a place to vent about this and this is a safe space. So I am inheriting this here bunch of brownins, I'm nervous like I'm starting teaching for the 1st time. I have a whole tool belt of management strategies, pedagogy and 9 years of just being reflective as hell, but I hope that these kids will be able to get from me what they need and that I can give them what they need while preserving myself for my own family. I am nervous about being on a team that has already written these kids off. Now I will admit that I am not a fan of many of the kids, but I don't look forward to being the one who is going to have to advocate for them when I want to kill them myself. Next year just seems tough and I'm praying for the strength do good and keep my sanity in tact. Le sigh...

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  3. Yay!:) That letter is worth more than your student will ever know. This is what keeps us pushin'!

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  4. DML-I completely feel your pain & respect your need to begin processing what you have in store in your future. I'm not sure which is better: showing up on the 1st day without the slightest knowledge of who you'll be receiving, or going in knowing full well that the task ahead is a daunting 1. I assume the former. At least w/the former you can begin with hope until it's been crushed. Here, it's difficult to be hopeful & I fully understand. If it makes you feel any better, at the least understood, I started last year similarly. I knew these children from my Student Teaching, though only a few of the names stood out as true contenders as Children of the Corn. It didn't take long to figure out they were all competing for the title & that it would, in essence, be a long gestation. It was hard work, they drove me INSANE, but they were indeed lovable & gave glimpses of understanding & the occasional sign that they wanted to do & be better. I'd implore you to hold out for hope. They'll be older & 1 can assume slightly more mature. As it is w/any other school year, oftentimes the light bulbs don't come on til the end. Such is the life of a teacher. You will survive the lack of support because you will still have support SOMEWHERE in the building. & you know I WILL ride w/you for that bunch. Have no fear, Love. If I, with far less formal experience than you, could survive it than you will find all the necessary magic in your rucksack to get through.

    CC-Hey Girl, Hey!! Don't be jelly. We're all out here chasing different experiences. I have so much to process but eventually I will share what I have gained from this latest adventure. I appreciate your applause & put it in my own rucksack for when I'm feeling less than understood/appreciated/effective. & I promise I'll share more because the children have shared more. &, I think it'll help DML to see that they mean well even when they can't figure out how to show it.

    Minnie-I know, right!! It seems odd that while people in other industries receive Xmas bonuses & extra vacay or awards galas, etc, those of us busy raising the nation receive letters in envelopes addressed in crayon to get us through. It is both delicious & disgusting. But I'm GOOD!!

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  5. "children take from you what they need, not what you want them to have." and THAT is the truth no matter the child. thanks for the reminder.

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  6. yup...i would assume, as you've just proven, the same would be true of parents. well, those that bother to attempt to meet more than their children's basic needs of food, clothing & shelter.

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