A return to celebration

I’ve been consistently missing the call to celebrate my week. Not because I haven’t thought about it. Not because I didn’t have reason to. But because I set it aside. Taking on a new grade level and subject matter pushed writing away. The grading. The planning. The never-enough feeling.  The habit of celebrating, I began to think of as an indulgence.

This weekend is no different than the last ten. I woke up thinking of all the student work to look at; the planning and lessons to be created based on their work. But then remember my colleague, Cathy, saying I needed to listen to the Heineman podcast featuring Tom Newkirk talking about his new book, Embarrassment.

She was right.

After listening, I realized weekly celebrating needs to be redesignated as a necessity. It should be the first thing to do on Saturday. I realized that marking of a moment of goodness has been an essential element of my teaching life.  It is an antidote to my battle with how I think life should go. Some might call it perfectionism, but of course, I would not see it that way. I’m too far from perfect to even consider such an ideal. But that, in fact, is the issue.

I fight with a vision of who I believe I should be as a teacher. There are moments when it happens. Those moments are not the norm. The times when all the beautiful occurs in a classroom. Those moments are to be noticed and celebrated. They need to be replayed and remembered. Because so often, most often, I replay those moments when I could have been better. I should have been better. Because I know better.  And as I write these words, I think, why are you saying this?  Why admit that you even thought for a moment that you are less than? That little secret is what we all live in. Our students and our colleagues alike. We all live in and with the fear of embarrassment. That fear that holds us back from happiness and learning.

When I started celebrating with Ruth a few years ago, I did it because it was a safe place. A place of acceptance. It was a place that required me to take my week and find the moment that was pure and good and celebrate it. To hold it up and admire it. To set it on the shelf as a treasure. To say that was good.

This week I celebrate students’ joy diving into nonfiction books, groans when we have to stop writing, begging to read another chapter of Zane and the Hurricane, and constant questions of what does _____ mean? I celebrate their enthusiasm for learning and ability to ask why.

I celebrate the concern and support of parents and colleagues. Virtually and face to face.

I celebrate the brillance and compassion of Tom Newkirk.

I celebrate Ruth Ayers and her weekly call to write and honor the beauty we see

Find more celebrations here.

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