Today was the first day of school. I've been in the classroom since 1984 and while no one can dispute the massive problems in California schools of late with miniscule budgets and overcrowding, I made an effort to focus on the small moments of the day. Today I saw:
* 30 smiling 8 year old faces
* a rainbow of skin colors
*anxious parents wanting the best for their children
*children trying to do their best
*happy smiles and outstretched hands when I gave them each a bottle of water with a personal note from me on each label
*heads bent over paper as they composed a letter to me
*nods when I asked if anyone was as nervous as I was today
*shy smiles as I photographed children throughout the day to send home at week's end for parents who often feel disconnected from their child's school
*a quiet boy smelling the new box of crayons. I remember how I loved a fresh box of crayons.
*yellow roses sent by my best friend's mother, a retired teacher, wishing me a great year. A tradition she started years ago.
* a nervous boy erasing his page over and over, so afraid to not be perfect.
*3 girls squealing in delight,hugging, when they learned they were in the same class
*A huddle of kids intently searching a wall of former class portraits for recognized faces with a title" Who Was Here Before You?"
* giggles from the floor as children sat and listened as I read aloud the first 2 chapters of a book called How to Be Cool in Third Grade
*last year's students stopping by to tell me which teacher they have for this year
*a tiny girl stopping to smell the pink geraniums I'd planted in a barrel outside our classroom
*children skipping to the playground
*new lunchboxes sporting the teen stars of the moment
* a drawing of a flower made during recess shyly handed to me as she walked in the door
*laughter as we played a get aquainted game
*my heart swelling when an 8 year old boy with a mohawk hugged me at the end of the day and said, " I don't want to go home yet.
I want to focus on the small moments and the positives this year as I struggle to meet state requirements without adequate support. The phrase "making a difference" is not taken lightly by most teachers I know. It's why we do what we do.
Please ask a teacher in your community how you can help. They will love you for it.
(images from bing.com)