Right now, in my corner of the world, we are in that moment when Mother Nature cannot seem to make up her mind. One day it will be sunny and warm, and the very next day will be cold and rainy. I love to blame a lot of things on Indiana weather. However, it has made my brain spin lately with the thought of seasons and what they bring.
I have always been intrigued by a snowflake. It might be the fact that each flake is so delicate, intricate, and beautiful. It could also be the kid in me who always imagined a society living inside that snowy design as if my life were a Dr. Suess story.
Let's think about a snowflake for a minute:
If you catch one in your hand or on your glove, you have seconds to enjoy the design before it melts away forever. A mere touch can cause a single flake to disappear forever. Yet, when many snowflakes join forces, this is a much different story. These flakes become forts or snowmen. These flakes cause traffic to slow and schools to halt. These flakes are anything but delicate.
This makes me think:
How can we harness the winter flurries within our classrooms?
I have noticed that in this world of remote teaching, I have a few of my beautiful flakes that seem to be melting behind the screens. It is true that our shyest learners can hide behind a thumbnail, making them more comfortable. Yet, I have also noticed that this online educational world seems to be feeding the fear of speaking out and taking part in classroom activities. Games for me have been the best method for highlighting all of my learners. I think this is due to the fact that in a game, we have a united goal. We become the snowstorm rather than a bunch of single flakes falling aimlessly from the sky.
Debbie Holman (@debbiejholman), an outstanding teacher from Colorado and a dear friend of mine, does a writing that digs deeper into the idea of the snowflake. She has her learners construct snowflake stories. In this she has them reflect on moments in their lives that make them who they are and write them on a snowflake. I think that it is so powerful for kids to take the time to sit back and reflect on how their life journey makes them... them. We all have different hills and valleys to walk through, and those walks create the beautiful designs within us.
As the snow quickly melts and the temperature warms, I am brought quickly to how fast things can change. I think that if there is anything that we can learn from weather, it is that as much as we want to or think we can, we simply can NOT predict it. It is ALWAYS changing.
But isn't everything ALWAYS changing?
I used to shrug off most of the effects of change in my life. Accepted that it was needed, scary at times but needed. Then came my spunky, amazing redhead. Her opposition to change and its effects made me want to have more control of it. Yet, as much as I hated to admit, I had no more control than she did. This made me fear change for her. I saw change as the monster lurking around each corner, just waiting to spring up and send her into an attack. Along the way, I learned to brace her for change. For some things, I could warn her ahead of time and give her the parachute of knowledge before she was thrown from the plane. As much as I want to prepare her for every change, I simply cannot. Some change jumps in front of you and gives you no chance to react. This year my daughter's best friend moved to Tennessee and I had two days to help her brace for the impact. That was truly horrible. Yet, she soon realized that thanks to technology, she can still have that connection.
One of my favorite songs is actually called "Change" by Jason Levasseur and it highlights my relationship with change very well.
"Change is coming and change is good. It's done everything that I ever wished it would, but it keeps me awake at night"
This year has been the year of "Bloom" for me. One of the things that I wanted with this word is to bloom into the role of a coach. I want to work with teachers and excite them with strategies to excite their learners. It has been a long process but I am proud to say that I have accepted a position as a Literacy Specialist for the South Bend School District. This change has been coming. This change is good and is exactly what I want. This change still keeps me awake at night.
I have been at my current school for my entire teaching career. Hammond Academy is where I established myself. The teachers and students there are truly like a family to me. This journey has been an amazing season. Yet the seasons of my edu-journey are changing. This does not change how I feel about this last season. I will bring many of the skills, knowledge, and memories with me as I enter this new phase. I believe that I am ready to stroll into my season and soak in all that comes my way.