Back to Reality

Spring break was everything I needed it to be.

It was relaxing. It was restorative. It was fun. It was focused.

I went on adventures with visiting family.

I binge watched tv.

I got a massage.

I got my nails done.

I cooked amazing meals.

I visited my family in Connecticut.

I visited my boyfriend’s family.

I reconnected with a dear friend.

I had dinner with another dear friend.

I even sucked it up and got some work done.

Now I’m up. A little underslept. A lot over-allergied. Am I ready?

I have plans. I’m going in a bit early to set up. I know what I want to do.

But Am I ready?

Am I ready for 20 kids?

Am I ready for behavior plans?

Am I ready to start Spring assessments?

There is so much to do before this year is out.

I have tons of fantasies about all the cool things I will teach the kids and all the fun things we will do together and all the skills I will get them up to speed on. And I know they can’t all fit.

I have to get report cards done.

I have to keep the worms fed.

I have to make sure the chicks hatch.

I have to help with hiring committees.

I have four MAJOR projects to get through before I 100% get my certification.

I have three major evaluations to ace.

I have three weddings, three bachelorettes, and four rounds of eagerly-awaited visitors coming up.

I have my school’s fundraising gala to go to.

I have Girl Scouts to help out with.

I have to sleep and eat.

I am terrified about the next 8 weeks.

I know I can do it. I know summer will come one way or another and I will get everything done and I will be relieved yet sad when the year is over.

But facing it is absolutely daunting.

I guess, just like my father always says, I have no choice but to take it a day at a time. Maybe even a step at a time.

So step one: time to conquer breakfast.

 

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Is it Scary to Create?

I’ve been struggling with a question for a few days now. And I don’t think there’s an answer. Still, it is simply fascinating to ruminate on.

Last week, my school hosted a Professional Development event run by Project Zero. Teachers all over my school presented their work and introduced other educators to the type of project work that they do with children. I helped run an activity in the art room, where adults were given 25 minutes and open access to art materials to make a magic wand.
At the end, we debriefed. I facilitated in a protocol in which each participant was allotted 30 seconds to speak. In between each 30 seconds of speaking, the group observed 30 seconds of silence. It gave great space for thinking, listening, and reflection.

One of the many reflections that I heard repeated was that each adult felt a pang of nervousness or fear or shyness when approaching the project.

This got me thinking about how the act of creating is a vulnerable one.

It took me almost all year to get up the courage to make a blog because it made me feel vulnerable to share my work.

And that feeling accompanies any kind of creation. Creating means sharing a piece of yourself. It means putting your ideas into action. It leaves you open and exposed.

I think this is something we constantly forget when teaching children. We as teachers- especially in Early Childhood- are asking kids to create all the time. We’re asking them to take risks, try new things, learn to master new skills, and to do so all while also putting out work and art and buildings and ideas.

I left this discussion thinking to myself “How can I make sure to be more actively aware of this condition and sensitive to the kids’ needs as they experience it?”

We then adjourned back to the whole group and met back up with all the other workshops. The leader, Jim Reese, invited us to consider 3 things: Connections we made, Things we learned, and questions with which we were wrestling.

I shared my new realization with an Autism professional from my school. Her being firmly tied to the strategies room on a different floor means that she’s one of the rare individuals with whom I never get to interact. I turned out to be very glad to have sat with her.

She accepted my idea, supported it, said, “That’s really profound.”

And then she turned me on my head. She said, “What if that vulnerability is a learned behavior? Think about it. Maybe kids are so free and creative and uninhibited because they haven’t learned to fear the vulnerability that comes with sharing your creativity. So what if the challenge isn’t to be sensitive to the fears they’re feeling, but to make sure our language doesn’t incite self-consciousness and encourage anxiety?”

I agreed with her and connected it to my newfound comfort with worms after 28 years of fearing creepy crawlies.

I think that no matter what, you can’t take away the fact that sharing of yourself creatively means leaving yourself wide open.

I think what is up for debate is whether that openness necessarily equates to vulnerability. Does it really leave you open, exposed, and in danger of feeling embarrassed/wrong/inadequate? Or does it simply open you up to possibility? Does all the fear simply come from our self-imposed needs to please/be right/do it the best? And if the danger attached to being creative comes from inside our heads, how do we get rid of it, and how do we keep ourselves from raising kids to think that way?

I don’t know. I’m still debating.

What do you think?

 

 

April Fooled Myself

I have every intention to keep up blogging along with Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Stories on Tuesdays.

I had every intention to write tonight. I was going to write about April Fool’s Day and its impact on my room.

 

I laid down on the couch, glasses on, computer open.

I caught up on 6 work emails.

I turned my head to the tv to watch Chopped and tune out for a minute while I formed my words.

 

 
And Then I fell asleep with my lap top on my lap.

 

 

It seems that today, without even working through the meat of reflecting, blogging helped me to see what I most need: rest.

Thus, I’ve decided to share simply what I’m working with and will hope and intend to put up something heartier next week.

For now, this tuckered teacher is turning in.