Just ignore the calendar, please…

My grade 7 students have been inspiring me a LOT lately. They remind me of the surge of pride one feels when faced with a challenge and persevering… and praised for fortitude in spite of the outcome. Pride in trying.

They remind me of the beauty of music when, upon sensing technical difficulties with the PA system (again), they don’t miss a beat before starting to sing it themselves, word for word. Beauty in music.

They remind me of the glory of silliness when, while writing a History quiz someone’s stomach isn’t right and a very long-winded sound rumbles against the plastic chair… and they wait until the test is over to laugh their butts off about it. For a long, long, long time. The delayed hilarity.

They remind me of the magic of inquiry when their questions become so deep and rich in critical thinking that they finally are okay with having more questions than answers, and see glory in asking even bigger, deeper, more unanswerable questions. The intrigue of discovery.

This is the time of year when we are beginning to feel growing anticipation for warmer weather and the sun begins to tease us into turning our faces upward to blue skies as we see summer on the horizon. Yet there is comfort in the routines of learning and relationships within the classroom. We have hit our stride and day by day, the teaching and learning comes second nature. Indeed, it is a pretty awesome feeling of accomplishment. Educators are prone to look at the calendar and do this crazy thing where we measure our accomplishments (read: curriculum covered) against instructional days, and more often than not, what results is a sense of panic and incompetence and frustration. Add to the mix a healthy dose of standardized test pressure and you’ve got a perfect storm for stress-induced irritability.

But that’s teachers. With students, it’s different.  They are oblivious to all that and just like those flies beginning to bounce against the windows, they have no idea of the impending erratic buzzing… the hormone/sunshine connection that is about to hit them hard. So before spring fever truly sets in, I  find myself observing and appreciating these guys and their roll-with-it take on learning and being. They are embracing the learning strategies we’ve been discussing since the fall. They continue with the learning without me in the room and transfer their skills to other subject areas and with guest teachers in my absence.They support one another when someone is down and stop to ask me how I am doing as well. In short, they are thriving.

Advice to self: Ignore the calendar. This is good.

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