Friday, August 21, 2015

Motivation? Who's got time for that???

Some of you are already back at school.  I know, I know!  I'm one of the lucky ones who has until after Labor Day to prepare for the first day of school.

But those of you who are still setting up classrooms, are you getting tired?  Have you lost focus? interest? motivation?

Let's take a moment to remember some of those reasons we do this job.

I was scrolling through photos on my phone.  Yes, trying to delete move to more permanent storage the pics from last year's class so I have room for this year's class. This one stopped me:

It doesn't look like a huge "stop-you-in-your-tracks" type photo.  It's just a single rose in a little glass vase.  But, in this case it is definitely the thought that made all the difference.

You see, I was given this flower on the last day of school.  Not from one of my fifth graders.  Not even from one of last year's students.  Three years ago, I worked with a little girl in Kindergarten as her ESL teacher.  She spent the first half of the year in the (ESL term) silent period.  She's a shy girl to begin with, and not being able to speak English with students and teachers meant she didn't say much at all.  She and I worked together daily in a small group.  I slowly coaxed her into speaking if I set her up with support.  A very bright young lady, she was a joy to work with.  That was my last year as an ESL teacher as I moved back to a 5th grade classroom position.  I still see her sometimes in the hallway and make a point to wave or say hello, but I don't get to work with her regularly anymore.

Anyway, on the last day of school, this young lady and her mother came to my classroom door with this flower.  Mom had taken her to the store to purchase a flower for her classroom teacher.  She asked if she could get an extra one to bring to me.  How floored was I to receive a gift from a student I hadn't worked with in 2 years!

That flower was my bright spot for many days after school got out.  Now the photo I snapped is my reminder that you never know what "little thing" you do might actually affect a student in a big way and for a long time.  It's my little reminder that my efforts are appreciated and remembered.

So as I'm looking at the piles of pencils to sharpen and the feet of laminating to cut and the stack of copies to make and my still bare bulletin boards (ok, I'd better stop here 'cuz I'm freaking myself out again), I am reminded about the reasons I do this job.  I'm going to keep working a little bit more today.  I'm going to drink another cup of coffee and push on.  I'm going to stop thinking about "all the things I HAVE to do" and start thinking about all the ways I can prepare myself to be awesome this year.  I'm going to make a difference.

:) Heather

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