“Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.” Henry Van Dyke
Last Friday wasn’t one of our better days. It started out well: everyone was present, no field trips, visits to the library or my being out of the classroom to work with the reading coach (and the confusion that comes with a one-hour roving substitute). While all of these activities are good and necessary, I was looking forward to focused time with my students and ending the week on a high note. But when I announced that it was time for shared reading, several students whined, “Not again!” and “Do we have to read more than one book?” This wasn’t what I expected. Still, I sent a group of students off to partner read, but four of them decided to have a pretend party instead of reading silently in pairs. Things continued to slide downhill when I had asked a particular student (who doesn’t always follow directions) to stay at her station and work with her partner. While I was leading a guided reading group, I spotted her in our library treehouse, stretched out on the floor and disturbing two students who were doing a great job at their assigned task. Going back to my group, I couldn’t help feeling frustrated with what I perceived as their lack of progress. I was finally saved by lunch time, even though my crabbiness was overshadowed by appetite. On days like this, I need to just forgive myself; remind myself that I’m not perfect and won’t always teach perfectly. Yet I need to find small moments of perfection in each day, regardless if my plans are being followed. After lunch, we planted our sunflower seedlings to create a sunflower house. It was perfect. Then we all drew portraits of clowns to commemorate our recent circus field trip. Such perfect clowns! We ended the day with a contest to see which table group could put their colored markers in rainbow order the fastest – without duplicating or missing colors. Such perfect rainbows to end what started as a cloudy day!
What do you do when your day is less than perfect? Can you forgive yourself? Can you find small moments of perfection in the day? Finding and celebrating these “perfect bits” are one way to celebrate when plans go awry. When you add them up, you’ll find that things are actually perfect overall. Or pretty darn close.
(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.)