Some days I find myself with my head in the clouds, my mind floating on thoughts of projects to be done, problems to solve, reflections on what happened before. Like a helium balloon, I float on the air currents, directed by my inner monologue. When my head is in the clouds I risk missing what is right in front of me.
Like most Mondays, today was a day for laying groundwork for the rest of the week. The hours pass like minutes, the minutes like seconds and time rushes through my fingers like a waterfall…not stopping to pool at my feet as it disappears, just out of reach. I get into the hurry up mode, chasing time ideals set in my plan book. I get impatient with my students, wanting more from them as I feel the pinch of time. Trying to find the perfect ratio of time to learning.
When the bell rang ending our afternoon recess, I headed out the classroom door to pick up my students from the playground. My head was already running through all we would accomplish while still leaving time to clean up, pack up, and gather before dispersing at the dismissal bell. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a lizard, sitting on the sidewalk, soaking up the energy and warmth of this amazing almost-spring day. I almost rushed by–feeling the tug of time. But instead, I stopped. I watched and noticed. I crept closer, wondering if I would capture an image of this grounded creature. I snapped from afar, then crept closer. The lizard seemed to keep an eye on me, unwilling to relinquish the warmth coming up from the sidewalk and down from the sun.
That lizard reminded me to take a breath and appreciate the moment. And also to remember to appreciate all those moments that students need…to tell the seemingly unrelated story in the middle of my lesson, to ask question after question–and then the same question again, to need directions…again…and my patience and encouragement, even when I feel like my own well has been emptied. I need to spread my toes and grip the ground, feel the earth beneath me grounding me, giving energy and reminding me to use those roots to connect and grow and to support my students as they connect and grow too.
I guess I have another ratio to work out…the ratio of head in the clouds to feet on the ground!
‘I guess I have another ratio to work out…the ratio of head in the clouds to feet on the ground!’
You are not in this alone. As a teacher, there’s a lot in hand to juggle. I have also learned from the lizard to at least pause at some time to enjoy the moment. Thank you for sharing a slice of your life.
You set the pace of this really well. I felt the rush to go out and grab your students off the playground and then the lure of the lizard and the accompanying slow down. Ahhh…this is what I love about nature and you capture it so well here!
Spread my toes and grip the ground. I love it!!! You have expressed to perfection what spending a day with third graders requires!
I laughed at this “That lizard reminded me to take a breath and appreciate the moment. And also to remember to appreciate all those moments that students need…to tell the seemingly unrelated story in the middle of my lesson because middle schoolers do that too. Sometimes it is to distract, but most often it’s something important to them that something in the lesson reminded them— like the “adjacent possibles” that Terry Elliott reminded us of. Like the post after this one — it’s a balance of learning time to relationship time, and both are so important.