I have been teaching for more than twenty years. I should be able to tell you some secrets. I should have tricks up my sleeve. There must be things I can do in my sleep. Wisdom I now know for certain.
Yes, after all of this time, I should have that.
Yet, I don’t.
The more I do this, this classroom work, where I spend my days with children as the adult in charge, the more I am aware of endless things I will learn. How many things each child can potentially teach me. How the biggest secret is to be okay with not knowing.
Be. Be with these children. Watch. Laugh. Find joy.
Let them play. Run them around. Feed them apple slices and snap peas in the afternoon.
Let it be quiet. Teach them how to close their eyes and be still.
Smile a lot.
Listen when they speak and even more carefully when they don’t. Notice everything and let it roll around in your head waiting to land with some clarity, or at least formed into a better question.
Wait. Be patient. Honour small, small things. Celebrate everything.
Show them your honesty. Reveal your vulnerabilities. Sit down sometimes and sigh.
Know that you are present everyday for the amazing of childhood. Don’t try to chase it away or shake it out. Childhood is sad with snotty sobs. Silly with contagious laughter. Angry with stomps and hiding. Wild with wonder and delight. Full with the magic of the world.
Read them stories. Surprise them. Enchant them. Pull them in. Marvel at the things you would have missed if they hadn’t told you. Make sure there is room for them to rant and revel. To say the same thing six times. To ask you more than once. They are figuring it out. It takes some definite time.
Let them be writers. Make it safe. Cheer them on. Help them find their voice.
Hang up their drawings, their love notes, their offerings. Be their favourite even if it’s just for this year. Make room for each of them to have a little piece of your heart.
Know when everyone is too tired. Provide calm. Rest. Still. They won’t seek it but they will accept it. Shhh. Hush. Breathe.
Let them teach you. Follow their lead. You will end up in that place of secrets. Those ones I couldn’t tell you.
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.
Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.