Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Little Bits of Joy


I wasn't going to write today. Grades are due tomorrow. I've got lots to do. But two little moments happened today that I just have to share (and they make events of yesterday much less meaningful).

I went back to school this week invigorated after spending most of break participating in the Facebook/Twitter discussion of Penny Kittle's Book Love. I have spent two days talking books. We figured our reading rates, set our goals, made a plan.  We talked about the importance of reading and the amount of reading they will need to do in college. It helped in one class when the guidance counselor showed up at my door and backed up everything I was saying. I told students they needed a book picked out for next Monday. That's when we will officially start. I gave students time to find books or read.

A quiet, at-risk student came up to me as he was leaving and said, "Mrs. Day, would you pick out a book for me. I don't know what to read and you pick awesome ones."

My heart melted just a little bit.

I have several picked out for him that he can choose from tomorrow.

FYI, I gave him "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" last semester. He read it in a week.

The second bit of joy today happened in one of my speech classes as students were giving their introduction speeches.

A quiet, "A" student stood in front of the room, pulling items from her bag as she talked about herself.
"Like lots of you, I hate to read. Except for books Mrs. Day picks out for me. Those are awesome."

I gave her "Looking for Alaska" last semester. She fell in love with John Green. She wanted to know if he wrote anything else. He'll keep her busy for awhile....

Little reminders to myself:
Joy comes in small, quiet ways.
And we teach students, not classes.
One student at a time....

17 comments:

  1. "...we teach students, not classes." I love that.

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  2. Glad you have found some joy already! I'm trying to search for some in the midst of coming back reinvigorated, like you, to find that many of my students have come back wishing they were still on break, not ready to learn. I need to focus on the 2 kids who excitedly told me they read half a book over break, when they used to not read on their own at all, and the girl who loved our nonfiction article in class today, and... Your post is such a great reminder of the small and yet big ways we make a difference. Thank you for your comment just now. It means a lot to hear that teachers like you get upset too.

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    1. Oh Jenn---just because I don't write about being upset doesn't mean it doesn't happen. That's one of the reasons I chose Joy as my one little word. I need to remember to find the good in every day. It's been working too. Yesterday was crap, but finding the joy each hour of my day helped me realize that what started my day off so awful shouldn't define anything. One moment at a time....

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  3. This is what I love about Tuesdays...

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  4. I'm so glad you shared today, you made a difference to those kids, but also a fellow teacher. Words, stories matter, that's why we need to write. This made me smile. :-)

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  5. What JOY does. It prompts you to share and your stories brought joy to my teacher's heart.

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  6. JOY rules! I also loved "we teach students, not classes" I needed to be reminded about that fact today! Thank you!

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  7. You know what I love? That this community knows why these little moments brought such joy to my heart.

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  8. Deb, again, for about the millionth time since I started reading your slices, I wish and wish and wish that my boys had had a teacher like you. Just one.

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  9. JOY. A refreshing word that reminds me of fountains, no geysers, of happiness :). I love that you framed this piece in not only how much a teacher can impact a student, but also how much a student can impact a teacher. Perfect-o. Have a good week back, Deb.
    b

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  10. I agree with Carol, I keep wishing for a wonderful teacher like you to be my grandson's teacher. He still walks the walk, but is so uninspired at school, yet out of school he is an excited and busy learner. It was lovely to hear about the 2 joys in your day, Deb.

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  11. I also like the phrase, "we teach students, not classes"...knowing your readers builds their connection with you. Obviously, they know and trust that you know them well enough to put the right books into their hands. Way to go Deb! So happy that you recognize these joys in your life. Joys like these keep us going!

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  12. Thanks for sharing your "little" joys. They are what makes our lives meaningful. If we waited for the "big" joys, we probably would wait a long time. A reminder to us all - to look for each little joy in our life. Hope you find many more this week, and next and ....

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  13. It's good you found the time to record the two little moments - bringing joy to you and to your readers.

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  14. Your students love you, value your opinion, and have a deep respect for you. What an impact you are making on them!

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  15. I like the ideas at the end of your post, a reminder that JOY comes in quiet ways--one student at a time. And in turn you are sprinkling JOY on the lives of others--one student at a time.

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  16. Wonderful moments! Yes, we teach one student at a time. It's not about quantity but about quality. It makes it all worthwhile!

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