Time

Time travels and the days flutter by. Change and growth has come to first grade, and yet I try to slow it for just a little while, just time enough to catch my breath and wonder at the transformation happening before me.

It is October already. October has blown in with a chilly wind and sunny days. The leaves have a slight tinge of copper and gold and are falling onto my patio; jacketing my flower pots as if to protect them from what looms ahead. They are troublesome and in the way when I step outside, and make me sneeze. And yet at the same time they are fun to watch, and beneficial for my flowers through the cold winter days ahead. I wish for spring to come early, and then see the beauty of the  colors, and stop to take it in.

Some days in first grade I feel just like the leaves. I’m trying to cover all I need to; scattering myself here and there, all the while feeling that time with this class, these kids, is slipping away from me. My kids have already grown and changed so much. They are quickly becoming readers, writers, scientists, and creative, thoughtful thinkers. I watch in awe.

This year began in a flurry of activity and new challenges. Now as we settle in (as often in life) I see that the things I imagined to be a hindrance are the things I enjoy, and I wish for more of it.  For instance we started the school year with two less planning hours as years before. But now thanks to a parent volunteer we have had one day returned to us. She is taking our kids one hour each Tuesday and teaching music. She does a much better job than I do, but still I can almost feel the edges of resentment lurking in at the loss of this time with my kids. I had become accustomed to my “extra” time and had welcomed it. The parent of course is much better at teaching music, and I am grateful.

This week I will be asking my parents’ permission to show the HBO movie Temple Grandin to my class. We will watch it over three days, and use it as a discussion springboard for “wondering” and thinking outside of the box, in reading, writing and life. It is an extraordinary movie of a woman born in the late forties with autism. We will watch it over three days because it may be too much for them to grasp in one sitting. I do not want to show it because her autism, but because her way of looking at everyday things. I want them to see how the movie portrays her critical thinking skills, her innovation, and ability to persevere even in adversity, and hopefully show that they can too.

This is a true story and a movie that all teachers should see to inspire and remind us; that not all children think the same, react the same, or learn the same way. And that it only takes one parent, one friend, one relative, or one teacher to make a difference in a child’s life.

Today Ms. Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University. She has changed the way many farmers and ranchers think about cattle, the way many large stockyards and slaughter houses think about their business, and the way Dr.’s, families, and people think about children with autism.

On some level her story has changed the way I think about myself, my students, and teaching. We can challenge ourselves and others to do better, be more. We all complain and resent, and yet we love praise and should give praise. We should feel grateful and show gratitude daily. We are all teachers and learners, but we often do it in our own way, and own time. We should acknowledge these differences and embrace them.

I try to actively remember every day that like time and seasons, we all evolve. We all have a story, and can learn from our past as we reach for the future. We are the leaves. At times we are scattered and blowing, circling and covering. We can be a nuisance and in the way, but still be protective, and helpful. We can’t slow time, but we can live in the moment, and at times we may silently yearn for the next season to blow in; but not just yet.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Ruth Ellen Hodges on October 2, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Daughter , you amaze me at the things you write. I could read something that you thought of and put into words everyday. this is truely awesome and wonderful. DON’T STOP.!!!

    Reply

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