Yesterday, despite my staying and working later than usual, my desk was still buried beneath student work. But that’s a load I am accustomed to, an endless cycle of never ahead, just less behind. The teacher’s lot. And after 22 years, it no longer fazes me, I just sigh, turn off the lights, and retire for the day. But yesterday, my sigh lasted a little longer, the dark was a little darker when I flipped the switch, and though I walked out the door, I never really left. I remained.
In a quiet little corner of my room, I remained, seated next to Cee Jay, a tear trickling down her face as she shared the weight of her young world, asking for feedback on her hook, and whether it got my attention.
“My story does not begin with ‘once upon a time.’ That’s the stuff of fairy tales. My life is no fairy tale.”
Yes, Cee Jay, it got my attention. It still has my attention. And it likely will for some time. And you are not the first. Many have held my attention over the years, and because I still carry remnants of their shared stories, I know this one will not soon fade from my memory. You, as they from my past, have come to rest on my shoulders, and I will carry you as I have them for as long as my memory’s intact.
And that’s the burden and the beauty of connecting with kids around their stories. That’s the risk and the reward of forging relationships with them. And though I have known that for a long time, it always catches me off guard a bit as each new year unfolds and I get to know my kids, get to know their stories. Thus, I have remained many a night in my room, inspired and haunted by the lives that I learn, leaving parts of myself behind to honor in silence the trust they have placed in me. A heavy load that, but it’s the load we carry. It’s what we do. We are teachers. We carry the world.
Along today’s trail we will…
…begin with Smiles and Frowns.
…build compound-sentence tracks using characters and themes from Seedfolks. I will share the activity and results in tomorrow’s post.
…reflect in our Journey Journals.
And that’s our day. Shout out to all my peeps who also carry the beautiful burden of lives learned. I know what you carry. Thank you.
Do. Reflect. Do Better.