Saturday, November 15, 2008

Truly, A Wonderful Day It Was

Yesterday was an exhausting day emotionally. I’ll say it again. Rain and dark really put me in a funk. However, I think it’s more than fair to say that there were several parts of the day that made up for the weather. In a continual effort to recognize the glass as half full (especially after a day during which I found myself constantly battling the onset of gloom and depression), I thought I’d share with you some of the special moments that took place in my world yesterday.

1. I received the following email:

Dear Wayfarer,

Congratulations on a great season and an incredible final game! I'm sorry you missed the final as it was undoubtably the best game I've witnessed since we starting playing several years ago. Both teams played hard, fair and with incredible desire. Your team displayed unity and compassion for each other, they supported one another both physically and verbally and represented themselves and their school in a manner which would should make them extremely proud. Most of all they exhibited humility while celebrating which I believe is paramount.

Well done!

Hartsbrook Soccer Coach

PS: Please share my email with your players and your other coach.

I’m so very proud of my crew! Have I told you that? This is not the first email of its kind I’ve received over the years from other schools, and it speaks volumes about the quality of the kids at my school. They really are amazing!

2. One of my students brought me a muffin that she made herself. We’ve had this dialog going for a while about good food (she’s experimenting as a cuisinière), and she wanted to share her most recent creation. It was a raspberry muffin with a cinnamon streusel topping, and it was awesome! The fact that she chose to share this triumph with me makes me feel honored. I look forward to returning the feeling. It could have been last night but, sadly, the stars weren’t aligned well for an excursion an hour from home. This girl is a baton twirler, and her troupe gave a benefit event at the local high school where she lives. I’d told her I wanted to go, and my kids expressed interest in seeing it (NiNi would have liked it, I’m sure), but the distance and the late start time would have made it hard to do under all but ideal circumstances. Sorry, Lise!

3. My students have a project due that requires a visual representation of objects in a classroom (2 or 3 dimensions) with labels, so that people can use them to study the words for what they see. Many of these came in yesterday, and I was truly impressed at what I saw. Recognize, now, that I am not easily impressed by projects. I work at a performing arts focused high school, where the students are highly creative. They often show up with wonderfully imaginative, artistic work to share, but when you look beyond the glitz, you can see immediately that it doesn’t really show what they should know and be able to do relative to my class. There were a number of projects that came in yesterday, however, that really met the intent of the assignment well. One student built a book out of cardboard that, when it was opened, revealed a classroom with 3d paper models of desks, pencils and other things, and all the items were labeled with tiny, but readable tags. I’ll see if I can get a pic to share at some point, but take my word for it that it was spectacular! Another came in the form of a game, where you flip up a picture of an object to reveal what it’s called in Spanish. Yet another came in digital form. She created a PowerPoint slide show with pics and labels, but also added phonetic transcriptions of the words because she knows that’s what she needs to help her when she’s learning new words. She’s developed a whole phonetic transcription system in just 2½ months! It’s not perfect yet (the slide show needs to be revised to correct some transcription mistakes), but the effort showed clearly that she takes her learning seriously and that’s the greatest thing any of my students can do.

4. I finally figured out how to complete the current chapter of the roleplaying campaign that Wifeness, Caleb, Maeve and I have been playing. It’s been a very long time, and I’ve had to take extended breaks from it over the last year, but I’m convinced now that I can guide everyone through the toughest part of the adventure. They’ll still have to survive it, but I’m confident they have what they need to do that.

5. I got two letters on Facebook: One from a friend from college I haven’t talked to in, like, a million years, and one from a student who is in her freshman year at a college in S. Florida. Both say life is well for them, and this brings me peace. I really do feel better knowing that the people in my world are well, overall, even considering all the challenges they’re facing.

6. Bessie reached out to me to say that she’s starting work as a hairdresser next week. For those of you who don’t know, Bessie is a single parent who had been struggling through a several-years-long rough patch after her divorce. She decided a year ago that she’d had enough, and that it was time to realize her dream of being a hairdresser. This meant going on food stamps, that she and her 10 year-old daughter were going back to live with her mom, and that she’d have to go to school and work full time in order to stay on top of the car payment. She knuckled down, kept her nose to the stone for a full year and finished school at the top of her class. Then came the license tests, which she also conquered with style (I make this sound matter-of-fact, but the amount of conviction and effort required to do this is beyond considerable). Finally, the search for employment. To hear that she’s going to be cutting hair next week for money is cause for rejoicing. The woman followed her dream, sacrificed like you wouldn’t believe, and came out on top. She has inspired all of us!

I want to say that I feel so much better for having shared all this? It's making today seem so much brighter, and I haven't even gotten out of my comfy clothes yet.

What’s making your glass half full today?

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