It’s been an exceptionally challenging week at school, largely due to the thing that’s making every week of school challenging this year: COVID-19. I mentioned this yesterday, but today was more of the same and a big part of the reason I ended up being grateful.
After lunch, the kiddos gathered on the big rug for a story. The amazing teacher I work with this year was reading a book I’d never heard of: Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.
It’s the story of a young girl who struggles academically and has to deal with bullying from her peers. A teacher enters her life, he devotes a bit of time to her, and (SPOILER ALERT) the young girl grows up to write children’s books, including Thank You, Mr. Falker.
The book made me think about our classroom teacher and other dedicated educators I work with now and have known. These people put so much on the line every day to set their students up for success, regardless of their own struggles, exhaustion, and frustration.
Some of their positive impact on students is seen right away through demonstrated learning, but a lot of the sacrifices educators make don’t pay off for years and years. Then, one day, you bump into a student from long ago, and they thank you for the difference you made in their life. Not by teaching them about photosynthesis or coordinating conjunctions or calculating radius, but because you had a little faith in them when no one else did.
Every school has its Mr. Falkers. Some get to learn of the positive impact they make on students in the long-term. Others never get to find out. But they all keep doing the work, day in and day out. And more than ever, they could stand to be thanked.
Patricia Polacco’s story got me through the day, and I’m so grateful for it.
I don’t enjoy snow.
It’s been said that in order to achieve enlightenment, one must find the beauty in all things. If that’s the case, snow will prevent me from finding the divine. Well, snow and cats.
Anyway, it’s Nov. 4, and I hadn’t seen a flake until around 1:45 p.m. today, when a short bout of flurries came through. The second grade students I work with lost their minds. Briefly – very briefly – I felt a bit of gratitude for the joy the snow brought those kiddos.
We’ve still got a whole winter ahead of us, and who knows? Maybe this will be the year those kids and their unbridled enthusiasm will melt my frozen heart when the white stuff falls.
We were tired tonight, and I’m not going to be around tomorrow evening for weekly pizza night. So we had it tonight.
And it was delicious.