Exclusion

We had to stop everything, throw out the lesson on volume that I had painstakingly prepared for. They came in from recess, surrounding me with their tear stained faces and denials of wrongdoings.  They came in posterizing about having enough players and the best being on the same team.  Boys and girls.  Same issue.  Someone felt excluded.

I have a real issue with exclusion.  I have always felt very strong about the importance of including everyone in schools.  While pursuing my MIT, I read for one of my classes the book, “You Can’t Say You Can’t Play.”  It is all about a teacher who researched with her students that concept of exclusion.  She basically started with the idea that you can not tell another student that they cannot play for any reason at school or any public place.

I tend to especially agree in school.  Every student has to be at school.  They do not get to choose which class they are in , who they sit by, or even which school they go to.  They have to be there.  And they are there for an important purpose, to learn.  Your mental state effects your ability to learn.  Students have so much going on outside of school that effects their learning.  At school they need to feel safe.  Safe enough to take the risks it takes to learn.  But unfortunately, students often feel the opposite.

They feel alienated.  Uncertain on how to navigate the social spheres.  How to make friends.  When they make friends, they don’t know how to keep them.  And these thoughts overwhelm them and consume all of their energy.  As they sit in a room and try to learn.  It’s all too much.

It’s such a simple rule to follow, “you can’t say you can’t play”.  If you can’t play a game with everyone, then no one plays.  And saying you can’t play includes body language.  Simple.  Well not really.  But the idea is simple.  Following through…. not so much.

“He tried to follow us and I played with him last week.  This week I want to play with him instead.”

“They told me that they had enough players and that I should go play with the other boys.”

“She told everyone that we were telling secrets about her.”

You excluded someone.

Did you exclude someone today?  Or did you go out of your way to say not only “you can play” but also “do you want to play?  We will find a way.”

You can’t say, you can’t play…

My Real Great Career

I love teaching.  I love going to a work place that is one big classroom that I have designed to be an island of books and technology.  I love that my job involves reading and writing every day.  I love that I get to surround myself with kids.  Most of all, I love that I make a difference and that every day I am surrounded by learners, including myself.  It’s a really good job.

But it’s not my great career.  I am failing at having a great career.

http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_smith_why_you_will_fail_to_have_a_great_career.html

So… I admit it.  I have not pursued my great passion because of fear.

Funny though.  I definitely know what my passion is.  And so does every one else in my family.

“Jordan, what is my passion that I have not pursued?”

“Writing”

“Meg, what is my passion that I haven’t pursued?”

“Writing”

“More details?”

“Writing about learning,” Jordan adds.

“Writing about learning and young adult books,”  Meg finishes.

Yes.  It’s all right there.

Unless….

Unless….

Sounds of life

I sit hear thinking about the day and simply enjoying the sounds of my life.

My daughter sits in the room with reruns of George Lopez coming out of the tv.

“Ooh!” she quietly exclaims, “Friends!” Guess the channel has switched over to another rerun.  Funny how she watches the same shows that I watched many years ago.  Crunch, munch.  She’s nibbling on sunflower seeds. Whoosh!  There goes the sound of an airplane off in flight.  She must be texting her boyfriend as well.

Down the hall, there is the murmurings of tv coming from the master bedroom.  A loud laugh echoes through the door.  He must be watching comedy too.  Or maybe talking to his dad while they play poker online.  Yep, the echo of his voice through the door.

Squeaking coming from my son’s open door.  Lights out.  Door’s open.  He must not be in there.  The door is usually closed when he is here.  Usually there are the sounds of bombs exploding.  Rude comments being flung at his friends through the internet as they destroy zombies.  Nope.  Just squeaking.

“Ashra’s up” Meg comments in between spitting out seeds.

Ashra, Jordan’s dwarf hamster.  Spinning on her wheel.  Silence.  Then the squeaking commences. It will go off and on through the night.

The hum of the washer is interrupted by a sudden change in the cycle.  Water rushes as it enters the rinse cycle.

Above it all, the sounds of my fingers clicking on the keyboard.  Capturing the sounds of life.

Reading day

I got lost in my books today.  What a fantastic way to spend a Saturday.

Have you ever come out of a book reading jaunt in a complete stupor?  That feeling that you are really some place else and this world around you just isn’t quite right?  When you have the complete contentment satisfied feeling, even though you have done absolutely nothing?  Books do that to me.

I curled up on my couch under the windows, reading by the afternoon’s light. Sipping my coffee wrapped in my blanket.  The blue and yellow quilt pattern that used to lie on my daughter’s bed.  The first comforter for her big girl bed.  As the day waned and the evening crept in, I moved to turning on the room lights.  Time passes with only the shift in the reading light to make me notice.

I borrowed one of my daughter’s young adult books.  My favorite kind.  I love the type of books filled with teenage angst, a touch of young love, and the absolute certainty that life turns out ok in the end.  They always make me feel reenergized.  The one I read today was no different.  Girl struggling to deal with her parents divorce and remarriage, meets boy on plane, and a nice kiss as they look off into the night kind of ending.

Sigh… that’s my kinda day.

 

Indulge

Some days are just like that.

I am in the middle of reading Poppy to my class.  I am enjoying having the students really stop and think about all that the character is going through.  We are at the section where Poppy is returning with her father to her family after just finding out that Mr. Ocax, the stern and manipulative owl, has just denied their family the right to move.  They are devasted.  Poppy is struggling with so much.  Her love having just been eaten before her eyes, developing questions about her role in her family and the insecurity of perceiving the fragility of her father.  She is filled with remorse, She is on the brink of self discovery and beginning her hero journey.  But before she can rise to that challenge, she has to self indulge.  She crawls into the home she made for herself, tunnels under her blanket, her own tail wrapping herself into a self indulgent hug.

My daughter is 14.  It’s a really tough time.  She too is on the brink of beginning her own hero journey.  Her life is full of challenges and questions.  She doubts her abilities, often feels like she does not rise up to her friend’s expectations, and has begun to see the chinks in her parent’s exteriors.  Sometimes I feel like I have to reassure her and say all the things to bring her esteem up.  Most of the time that is just the thing.  But today… today she needed to be a bit like Poppy.  She poured out all of the insecurities from the largest to smallest concern.

And then she climbed the stairs and curled up in her blanket and went to sleep.

Some days you have to just self indulge in your insecurites. Give in to them.  And restore alone, readying yourself for the coming journey.

Snap

Today was hard.  Every day lately seems hard.  Took my son’s itouch away from him this morning.  Do you think loud music blasting in your ear makes you more likely to snap at your sister? Forgot the hotwheels cars at home that I was planning on using for the basis of my measurement lesson today. Took my class to an assembly and got snapped at by my principal (I guess the bad day-itis was going around).  Then I snapped at my students because nothing else seems to be working.  One of my students told me that when I ask nicely, the other students go “lala”.  When I raise my voice, they say “oh snap”. It was definitely an “oh snap” kind of day.  By the end of the day, everyone was snapping like a swamp of crazy crocodiles.

But the day ended with a classroom meeting.  We sat around in a circle and talked about how miserable we are when everyone is snapping.  It just gets worse.  We circled up together talking about what we could do to make our classroom better.  As I looked around my circle of students, I suddenly realized that I want another year with these kids.  Oh snap!

Welcome

Oh, the places you will go…

I have started this blog in response to the Slice of Life Daily Challenge.  In January, I started my own commitment to pursue my life long goal to be a writer.  I have always wanted to be a writer.  I wrote stories about my stuffed animals when I was little. I had my greatest accomplishment in second grade, a published Young Author’s book.  I was hooked from that experience on. I majored in English, but snuck in a concentration in Writing.  I got my Masters in Teaching, but snuck in writing with my Master’s Project on First Grader’s Concepts of Writing.  After I got married, in between finding a job, I did a little bit of freelance writing for the business section of the local newspaper. I have ALWAYs dabbled in writing.  Yet, I have never actively pursued it.  In January, I decided that if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to write.  So I began writing.  I started with a personal journal with the goal of 50,000 words in the one month.  In February, I started a professional journal, reflecting in over 30,000 words in the one month on my professional practice- my classroom, my students, my instruction.  This month, I told myself that I needed to make my writing more published.  This challenge seemed the perfec place to start.  I can’t promise you anything.  My life, my writing, my thoughts are likely to be jumbled and insignificant.  But I start on anyway because “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”