Week one of school is complete. I have had three full days with this new class of students. They have brought a different and exciting energy into the room. At this point, there is no sitting back and trusting what we know. It is full speed ahead finding our way. There are also new emotions – exuberance, fear, worry. Routines are slowly being adopted. There is a lot of exhaustion. There have been moments of everything falling into place. And moments where it is not even close. I have received some big beaming smiles and little whispers of “I like this class.” Younger students have a wonderfully genuine, open way of being in the world. The comments are honest and hilarious. Sometimes I feel like a big gust of absolute joy rushes through the room. Other times, when I have taken a much needed deep breath, it feels like maybe, there is not quite enough air to go around.
The reality I don’t often dwell in: I teach in a high needs school. There is much that is beautiful in the work I get to do. And also, much that is heartbreaking.
So this week I celebrate 5 words. These are my tickets, in a sense, to what I want to do in our classroom: build community, turn up the “wonder” factor and create a space where we can safely, with kindness and compassion, be learners.
I celebrate my instincts. This week, for some very important things, they were exactly right.
I celebrate perspective. At the end of every day, I sift through all of it and hold up the amazing, the amusing and the wonderful. Those are the things that matter.
I celebrate experience. This is my 21st year teaching at my school. I know a few things. And I really know what I still need to figure out.
I celebrate hope. For very obvious reasons.
I celebrate, finally my ability to honour celebration It is amazing how healing and energizing it is.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. This week, in particular, celebrating was more than necessary.
This is my favorite Carrie Gelson post yet. Absolutely beautiful. Your honestly and insight are oxygen for me, my friend.
Thank you Julie. I have been thinking of you and your first week “not starting”
Congratulations on making it through your first week. I really appreciate how difficult it can be to work in a high needs school. I work in an urban public school where 100 % of the children receive free breakfast and lunch. These students desperately need not only the academic curriculum we teach, but our compassion, our patience, and the relationships that many of them don’t understand how to build. I love your 5 words and know that each week will get better! Enjoy your weekend!
Yes – Jana I so agree that relationships are everything. Where we start and where we end. Nothing is possible without them.
Hi Carrie, I’m with you! After two weeks of school, I’m exhausted. Gearing up and resting this weekend. I am also working with students in an urban environment, some with high needs – other than academic. Yesterday after school outside, I had to explain to a mom from India what “giving the finger means” when her student tried it out in music class. He didn’t even know what it meant, but was “in trouble” with the music teacher. Agreed – building positive relationships are important as this wasn’t my first contact with this family, thankfully.
Susan – happy to have others who “get it”! So important for us to be able to have those relationships with both students and their parents.
I’m fighting off tears in order to write this comment. Thank you so much, Carrie. Your words breathe life into our community. You help me see so much through your love of what you do.
Wow, Julieanne, thank you for this. It means a lot. This post was my way of healing from some very emotional events Friday.
Carrie: What a thoughtful reflection on this week. The five inspiring words were truly apt for the kind of week it was. I look forward next week, and the next, and the next. Your classroom is a space for growing hearts and minds. Thanks for welcoming me so warmly.
It is such a pleasure to have you with us!
Beautiful post, Carrie. I love your words about following your instincts and knowing what you still need to figure out in the classroom. That first week is so exhausting! As exciting and stimulating as the first week is, I’m always glad to get to Week 2.
So very true. Finding the rhythms so that everything can begin to move forward.
The five words you picked have positive power over life. The words shared with others have influence on the reader. Lovely post. This is what I take with me: “At the end of every day, I sift through all of it and hold up the amazing, the amusing and the wonderful.”
Thanks Terje for sharing your take away. It is always so wonderful to know that one celebration can impact the reader.
The words you chose reveal what a beautiful soul you have.
What a lovely thing to say – thank you so much.
Carrie, it is interesting the five words you chose because they provide insight into your positive attitude after two decades of teaching. Keep on believing in the power of possibilities through positivity.
How I keep doing this work and loving it! Thank you!
I love that picture with the petals, Carrie. It seems to show all your words that are so caring: nature’s way (with petals) accepting who your students are, & teacher’s way to help the learning (adding one’s own creativity-the sketch). Glad it was a thoughtful & satisfying week.
This piece was done by one of my new students. Isn’t it wonderful? I had to capture it in a photograph before the petals withered.
“There have been moments of everything falling into place. And moments where it is not even close . . . Sometimes I feel like a big gust of absolute joy rushes through the room. Other times, when I have taken a much needed deep breath, it feels like maybe, there is not quite enough air to go around.” I love the honesty in these lines. You’ve captured the crazy seesaw that is the beginning of community building. Your five words – exquisite!
Thanks so much Ramona. This post was all about the honesty!