Thursday, September 4, 2008

One foot in front of the other....

As with any talk show program, there are issues or topics that draw me in, and then others, not so much. Not to long ago as all of you were busy waiting in your classrooms for the buses to arrive; or preparing for the next day with the children, I spent the afternoon at home. It was the annual Pay it Forward installment of Oprah's talk show and as I watched and listened, it dawned on me that the little things each of you do on a daily basis is paying it forward. How lucky your students are to have you. In my travels talking and visiting classrooms, it never fails when someone doesn't say: "Teach, I have the best class this year." And then, you begin to share a short vignette of your life with children; those stories that matter and what my friend Heather has coined, "shout-outs".
Oprah put it once again into perspective for me as she shared a story of a man in his seventies who went to a local school and asked a first grade teacher to teach him to read. And she did. As a young boy, he dropped out of school so that he could be the financial support for his 8 siblings. Thus, he never learned how to read the words on the page. I watched as he sat along these little ones and read to them and as each day came to a close he became a better reader. Imagine that. Then one day he was presented with a box filled with books-he had tears streaming down his face-I had tears streaming down mine. It was one of those “WOW” moments.

My challenge to you this school year is for each of us to look for similar “WOW” moments: with our colleagues; with the children we teach; and with our administrators. And on those days when there seems to be no smile, all I ask is that you put one foot in front of the other. If you must, find someone who can give you a shoulder to cry on. But remember, if the shoulder you choose is mine, I will make you laugh out loud.

No comments: