Not a particularly clear photo of the white crocus in the snow. Among the masses of deep purple and bright violet crocus is one golden crocus who was completely covered by the snow, and this lovely white one, camouflaged in the snow.
1. Crocus in the snow
2. Crow in the snow. There is some inward thrill I can’t quite name about those black wings flying through a field of dancing white flakes. Also, I love seeing black wings against a field of golden corn stubble. Black wings against a blue sky. Black wings through misty air.
3. Yesterday’s conversations, Part A: For my opening moments in class yesterday, I followed the lead of another teacher friend and showed a video about a high school student who was disturbed by the unkindness of tweets between students in his school. He began a Twitter account in which he began tweeting sincere and heartfelt compliments about his friends. People began talking about it, and it began to snowball. I was afraid my students might be cynical, and the one class that I was most concerned about began talking about it in a slightly cynical vein, and then suddenly they were sharing about the things that hurt them, the ways they respond to unkindness, the ways they try to include each other. We didn’t really get to my actual lesson for the day, but I am pretty certain that learned more in that spontaneous, student-generated conversation than anything I could have offered them. I need to keep remembering that once in a while the best thing a teacher can to is just get out of the way. Language Arts is about expanding the communication skills of students–so I consider that class a success on the academic as well as the psycho-social level.
4. Yesterday’s conversations, Part B: I ended up getting home much later than I had planned to because a Chinese student stopped by after school to talk about how to improve his English grammar. We went through his most recent paper in detail, and talked about how to make his sentences flow. While we were working on the paper, we also talked about imperialism: Japanese imperialism in China at the time of World War II, and Roman imperialism at the time of the Caesars. I love being back in the world of academia and watching my students beginning to piece together their ideas and learning.
5. As I typed that last, I had a sudden vision in my head of my grad school professor, Dr. Zancu, who would set up a discussion, then sit back and smile and nod serenely at us as we went at it. I feel myself in the stream of the many good teachers I have had in my life: my mother who was my Kindergarten teacher; Miss Guntz, my fifth grade teacher at Locust Grove Elementary, and my other teachers there; my teachers at LMH; professors at EMU and Millersville and Sunbridge College; Sarah Preston, who has taught me so much about putting my roots into earth and my branches among the stars. I am incredibly grateful for my teachers. I feel a convergence, as though all those streams of learning are meeting now.
6. Since those last few were several parts of one theme, I am going to give myself a bonus gratitude this morning: Rising to the occasion. I have gotten used to saying, “That’s not in my skill set.” And that’s great protection–it has served me well and kept me from getting too caught up in too many things that I can’t quite manage. But there also comes a time when it seems right to say, “I am ready to grow in that area and develop those skills.” Scary stuff, that. I am going to take on the symbol of the mountain lion for a while, to help me focus on the inner growth that I want to develop.
May we walk in Beauty!