Writing and publishing this is one of many brave moments for me this year in my professional journey. I am facing challenges and opportunities each day this year in my job as an educator that I never expected or imagined. As a support teacher for many years with students with special education needs and English language learners, I would have considered myself a seasoned educator who thrives on challenges and seeks out learning opportunities. Yet this year, through a mixture of choice and circumstance, I find myself both rejuvenated and unsure.
I hesitated to share this journey as my inner voice said “who wants to hear anything you have to say?” ”What makes you so special?” And yet here I am, sharing my journey.
After many thought-provoking, exciting and maybe even frustrating professional conversations this year, I find myself coming to some common themes.
- I must only ask of my students and colleagues that which I will ask of myself.
- Bravery comes in many forms – visible and invisible, celebrated and ignored, valued and devalued.
- I still seek out, notice and celebrate “the magic” of learning each and every day (even when it feels hard to find).
This whole blog is dedicated to Finding the Magic. Those moments where growth, learning, self-confidence, creativity and innovation become visible. These moments are unpredictable and sometimes mere flashes that can be missed but, when I take the time to notice them I am fulfilled. I have seen them in the small faces grade 1 children, the maturing thoughts of grade 8 students and in the lives of my own four daughters. So, if I focus each day on noticing the magic by looking closely, observing my students and dialoguing with purpose and passion with my colleagues and mentors then, selfishly, I will continue to grow and evolve.
Today the magic was a seemingly simple moment that brings forth tears as I write. I start each small group reading lesson with my students in a circle on the floor, pose a prompting question (some more profound than others) and listen quietly as the children share their responses. My ESL teacher voice could list the value of this for oral language development but, that is not the magic! The magic is the little girl who always passes when first asked to share her thoughts (I come back to her but, she has the option to refrain). I must be clear – she usually answers reluctantly and with seemingly painful discomfort after what most educators and classmates would consider an exorbinant amount of ”wait time”. And her responses are what an old school report card would call “limited”.
Her hand was first up to START our circle! And her answer was detailed and on point. She then continued to answer every question and prompt throughout the guided reading lesson. And the true sign of magic, the true glimpse into her heart and the true payoff for me was her SMILE – her beaming, vibrant, glowing face that was smiling with pride and the power of knowing (without me telling her) that she is AWESOME!
Today I found the magic…