Slice of Life 29 and a Celebration

Today I celebrate with Ruth Ayres on her Celebration link up  and my 29th  slice in the March Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Read more slices here.

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI dragged myself to a swim workout this morning. Started out feeling very tired, wondering if I was going to make it through. Not wanting to shame myself by getting out early, I forged on deciding not to judge my effort too harshly, just do it I thought. And I did. By the end, I had left my negative persona in the pool and was greeted by a warm shower and locker room talk with women I’ve swam with for years. Some are literally world champions. Others, like me, are there to just complete the workout not aiming to win any trophies, but to start the day with a clean outlook on life.

When I woke up this morning I was beating myself up a bit as a teacher, wondering how I could write a celebration post. At home after coffee, I looked for inspiration on the Celebration link up.

celebrate link up

I found Linda Baie’s post that cited a quote from Ruth’s book on Celebrating Writers:

Celebrations ought to wrap around many moments in writing workshop–not just the final product. Celebration is essential to the livelihood of young writers.

Linda goes on to say how this is something to consider, not just in writing but for our lives.  Thank you Linda and Ruth for helping me find and secure a mindset that allowed me to hone in on pieces of my life very worthy of celebration. Here are seven things I’m celebrating.

One. My house is quiet and clean. I am very lucky to have someone who cleans my home on Fridays. Having a clean house to end a cluttered week and start the weekend is a year long gift my husband insists on. I thought it was too much, but he is wiling to pay for this. It is a wonderful weekly indulgence that I am grateful for.

Two. My daughter is on her way to becoming a licensed driver. On Friday she passed the written portion of her driver’s test. While the prospect of her behind the wheel is disconcerting, she is thrilled. I remember the feeling and I honor her celebration.

Three. My adventurous and interesting friends came to dinner. Last night, they shared their homemade soda beverage, toyon berry soda. It’s made with native toyon berries that grow in their backyard and throughout California. These non-native friends (Australian and German) rediscovered what the our native indians knew. When the toyon berry is steeped, the result is a natural tea beverage. Add a little yeast and volia! soda. Another interesting tidbit: the plant that blooms in the winter months is the California Christmas holly plant and the origin of the name Hollywood.

Four. My colleagues are open to risk and learning. This week was the first week of instructional rounds. The ones I took part in were positive and instructive.There is risk in this work. Done incorrectly it could subtly create a pecking order. Still, teachers willingly open their doors and let their colleagues in, so we can learn.

Five. My students  are filled with spring fever, but holding on tight for two more weeks. Our spring break is very late this year and students are getting antsy. It’s so interesting how learning, like all of living, is subjected to our biorhythms. I don’t know if it’s the weather, something in the air, the age of the student, or the amount of school they have taken in. Whatever the reason, they are ready for a break, from school and from each other. Tears have been shed over hurt feelings, less than performances have been experienced. And in spite of this, they keep on, doing as best as they can, even though their brains and bodies are resisting.

Six. My reflection on teaching is a good thing. After getting through the “I’m a lousy teacher” thing I do from time to time, I reflect and revise. It sounds counter intuitive, but I think one of the good things about me as a teacher is that I am hyper sensitive to the negative. Many times that is what I see in my teaching. It makes me very aware of my weaknesses. Lots of what I do is good, but I would not be growing if I didn’t look for the cracks in the teaching and the learning. Some are obvious. But more importantly, I need to look at places where I feel comfortable. Those are places to throw off the covers and look underneath. Test it and question, is is as good as I thought? Then revise!

Seven. My Slice of Life virtual writing colleagues are the best. I can’t thank those who write posts and read mine enough. I have grown, grown, grown this month. While parts of my life have suffered, (lack of sleep and bit of a cold) the rewards have far out weighted the negative. I only wish I had the energy to read and comment on more posts. So many,  so good.  Thank you, thank you  TaraAnnaDanaStacey,  Betsy  and Beth  and all the bloggers who contribute to  Two Writing Teachers .

Happy Weekend!

 

13 thoughts on “Slice of Life 29 and a Celebration

  1. I was reading through these and thinking, “check! I can relate” (except for the one with the berries – no such delicacy in New Jersey!), but number six really resonated. Sometimes (well, a lot, actually) I feel like a terrible teacher who has so much yet to learn. But you make me see this in a positive way, Julieanne – especially this line : “Lots of what I do is good, but I would not be growing if I didn’t look for the cracks in the teaching and the learning.” So, thank you – looking for the cracks can be a bit demoralizing at times (I find so many of them!), but it’s evidence that I am growing. And that’s a good thing.

  2. What I love about this meme is that each person contributing reminds me of other things I am thankful for in my own life that I didn’t remember to acknowledge. I too have a daughter working towards her license and I have a husband who arranges for help with the house. These are things to celebrate for sure. Thanks for sharing your week!

  3. Therein lies the power of weekly celebrations, find the small and reflect that there are more positives in our lives than negatives. Now this has been a month to celebrate all the writing of small moments and reflections.

  4. Spring fever is rampant for us too, just one more week! I also love the community here at Slice of Life and long for more time to read and respond. Have a great weekend!

  5. I’m so glad the benefits of the month outweigh the downsides. (I, too, have paperwork that has piled up and so many things on my to-do list since I’ve been reading and commenting a lot.) It’s been a good month, hasn’t it?

  6. Thanks for the response to my post this am, Julieanne, so happy it touched you & helped you see things in a different light. I love then how you’ve expanded your thinking into seven positive things. When I was working full time, and had my husband to care for, too, I had my house cleaned. What a boost it was to know that wasn’t part of the weekend, too! So glad for you, & congrats to your daughter. It wasn’t my favorite time either, but it is one of our rites of passages, isn’t it? Interesting to hear about the toyon berries, new to me, & what fun to have dinner with friends. My biggest response must be like Tara’s, however, to number six. I am preparing to give some direct guidance to a struggling teacher starting our meeting on Monday, then after break, & I will use your paragraph to help us begin. Reflection is something that is critical for all teachers to do! And you said it so well! Thank you!

  7. Starting the morning with a swim! That sounds like fun! You have so many celebrations! Glad you decided to join in!

  8. You have seven great celebrations! Good luck with the driver – for me that is the one thing I worry about the most! I love the idea of instructional rounds. For the first time this year, we have had opportunities to observe and be observed. It has been very beneficial for all of us. I too, am so thankful for these virtual writing colleagues (I like that term). This month has also been a month of growth for me and I am sure for many others. Thank you for your comments on my blog – I have enjoyed our connections. Have a great weekend in your clean house! 🙂

  9. Love what you say about reflection. I am hyper aware of what isn’t working in my teaching too and I know I tend to focus on that to the exclusion of even thinking about what’s going great. But that’s how I improve. I am trying to convince my kids that you have to be 25 to get a driver’s license. I think they believed me until they started school and found out the truth from other kids! Isn’t it wonderful to have a clean house? What a wonderful gift from your husband!

  10. So glad that after your swim you were able to find inspiration to share. When we do a gratitude circle in my classroom, I always tell the children that sharing is a gift to others. And your post acts as that – inspiring thought and more gratitude in others. I would love to have my house cleaned every Friday! What a gift. I also always learn so much from your questions and sharing about your own teaching practice. Thank you for this.

  11. Starting the day with a swim is the best! Such a good antidote to being “hypersensitive to the negative.” This is something I struggle with, too. But, as you say, reflecting and asking questions helps us learn and grow. And even though this challenge is coming to an end, I’m looking forward to learning more from your thoughtful posts.

  12. You have a list of great celebrations. I know it’s scary when a teen gets a driver’s license, but it’s also freeing for you! I love that you have open and risk-taking colleagues. That’s so important! We just had our spring break, so I’m hoping my students are going to come back focused. 😉 And bravo for your openness and positive attitude in #6. It’s so important not to get down on ourselves when we perceive a weakness in our teaching, but to look for opportunities to grow! Have a great week!

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