“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” ~Albert Einstein
I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again today: Not every lesson will go exactly as planned. To be honest, most days are somewhat… average. We do some reading, then some writing, then some counting, and then some singing. We might discuss something, practice something else and have time to play. So there’s nothing spectacular about those days. What about the days when nothing goes right? I’m running late and can’t get fully prepped. Everyone has to use the restroom, seemingly at the same time and all day. Someone has a bloody nose, the phone won’t stop ringing and my assessments of student learning bear an uncomfortable resemblance to a clogged drain. But then there are the exceptional days, when magic happens. A struggling student suddenly understands the concept. Everyone is being kind and getting along. The class bursts into spontaneous singing and dancing at a perfectly appropriate time. Maybe my lesson takes an unexpected turn, but it ends up better than I expected. I need to use these special “contrast” days (OK, sometimes they’re just hours or even minutes) to remind myself that everything is actually progressing exactly as it should. It’s our nature as educators to want everything perfect all the time. We try to control as much as we can to make sure our days go just right. Being mindful of the contrast gives me permission to relax and allow great work to just happen.
When do you notice the contrast in your days? Is it when things are going smoothly and an unexpected wrinkle suddenly occurs? Or does it happen when things are at their most challenging and then you see a student’s smile and the twinkle in their eyes? Take time to notice the contrast when it happens. Then acknowledge the amazing work you do and recognize the difference you’re making in the lives of your students.
(Access to these photographs does not constitute a transfer of copyright or a license for commercial use. The images are for personal use only. No portion of the images can be used without the expressed written permission of Michael B. Stanley, Jr.)