The last couple months have been full of some of the highest highs and the lowest lows and I feel as though in the midst of all that, I momentarily lost my voice.
In these moments of insecurity and jumble, I always have my kids.
Whenever I experience any negativity or frustration, I can always count on my kids to have my back, and often times they don’t even realize it. The wit, the jostling back-and-forth we have, laughter while we’re learning — all this reminds me where my roots have been so deeply placed.
My school implemented a 7 Habits lesson at the start and end of every week called HOWL University. Normally I get pretty agitated when my instructional time is taken (I am a very selfish teacher in that way), but having the chance to talk about character and good habits is easily one of my favorite things (does anyone else get super stoked when a kid asks you about integrity? Anyone? Bueller?).
Recently, our topic focused on Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. We talked about student futures and students shared what they wanted to do when they left middle school, high school, and beyond. I posted prompts around the room, like the one below, so students could take a few minutes to reflect.
As I surveyed the room and made my rounds, a boy sitting at the station above called out,
Ms. Stewart, can I put “science class” for this one?
indicating that science class was one of the things he loved to do. I told him that of course he could list it if that’s something he loved, and he smiled and told me it was. He said he didn’t like school too much, but he loved science class.
I’ve seen huge gains in this kid not only as a science student, but as a young adult trying his best to figure himself out (and aren’t we all still doing that anyway?).
A couple more minutes went by and I found myself at another station with a girl and the same boy I mentioned earlier. The question asked about student talents and how students are using their talents. This girl looked at me and said,
Well…what if I don’t have any talents?!
I looked at her, staring mesmerized at the paper, like she was waiting on it to give her an answer. We talked about how everyone has talents, whether that’s being a strong math student or singing or just communicating with other people. I saw doors opening in her brain when we discussed all the possibilities of talents, and I think she saw herself differently when she walked out of room 208.
These moments where I’m able to simply be real with them and help them through their lives in some capacity — pointing out their talents and giving them the space and opportunity to shine — this is where I find my voice.