All my secrets: Slice of Life #23

All my secrets #sol16

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.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

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.

 

32 thoughts on “All my secrets: Slice of Life #23

  1. “Make room for each of them to have a little piece of your heart.” Beautiful.
    Thank-you for having the courage to put into words, the thoughts that we have in our hearts and minds but are too scared to say out loud.

    Sharon xoxo

  2. “Be with these children. Watch. Laugh. Find joy.” The life of a teacher is filled with joy as she watches her students grow into learners. There is a good deal of inspiring thoughts in this post, Carrie.

  3. “How the biggest secret is to be okay with not knowing.” This idea is truly profound and comforting.

    Your post is filled with such wisdom. I just printed it out and it will be added to my wall of teacher inspiration by my desk in my classroom. Thank you for figuring these “secrets” out and for sharing them. Great reminders for teachers at every level!

    This is my 20th year of teaching, and I still remember something a retiring teacher said to me during my first year in the classroom. “I have never been afraid,” she said, “to admit that I don’t know the answer, and that keeps me learning how to improve my teaching every day.”

  4. This is really a beautiful piece, with many things that you do, in fact, know about this calling. My favorite, one that is rarely addressed is this:Let it be quiet. Teach them how to close their eyes and be still. And this:Know when everyone is too tired. Provide calm. Rest. Still. They won’t seek it but they will accept it. Shhh. Hush. Breathe.
    Yes, teach them to play Rock, or Statue. Teach them to eat soup, and to smell the flowers. They are not likely to receive this at home, so teach it while you have them with you.
    Thanks for a lovely read this morning.

  5. Once again your tone is so striking. I feel calm and a sense of urgency at the same time. Your writing has an amazing rhythm to it. I love these lines:
    “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.”

    I think we can be too judgmental of kids “today”. I think we need to celebrate who they are and follow their lead. Thank you for sharing.
    Clare

  6. Beautiful secrets. My favorite one is “Show them your honesty. Reveal your vulnerabilities. Sit down sometimes and sigh.” Yes! Honesty is so, so important. Be real and they will be, too.

  7. Can I find a line that is my favorite? No, I would be recopying every word. You have such a gift for writing and teaching and that is not a secret. The families, of these children in your care, are so lucky you are nurturing and teaching their children.

  8. Carrie I want to share this with the teachers I work with during Teacher Appreciation Week. You put into words so eloquently what I wish for them. Like Elsie, I cannot even pick out a favorite line or word-they are all beautiful. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with us, and your gift of teaching with those cherubs in your care.

  9. Yes. This. So much wisdom here, Carrie. The wisdom, most of all, of knowing that we don’t know and being open every day to challenge, change. The way you work, the way you write about your work…. takes my breath away. (And you’ve planted a seed for a parenting post I would like to try to write if I can figure out how to say it.)

  10. This is a touching post about all the things that make teaching special. Making room for them to say the same thing over and over. What a test of patience children can be. Just because they are fully children. I’ve been doing this a long time yet I don’t know any more secrets. Each day is new. Thanks for your wisdom.

  11. This is marvelous…so I marvel at each perfect word!
    I loved it all, but the following line spoke directly to me today. “How the biggest secret is to be okay with not knowing.” I needed to read that; and I’ve been teaching 22 years! Thank you.

  12. I love this part:
    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.

    Beautifully said!

  13. Your post was lyrical, powerful. It has the raw and rhythmic qualities of a Walt Whitman poem. It is hard to choose my favorite line because each line, either by content or juxtaposition, contributes to the beautiful sum total. Still, looking at this as a fellow teacher of 20 years, I would say that “be with these children” gets to heart of it all. It captures the best we can do for them and for ourselves. It reminds me of the simple advice a teacher gave me the first year I had my own classroom. “Enjoy them,” she said. That was in 1991. That was pre Common Core, pre APPR. Pre the need for lockdown drills. “Laugh. Find joy.” Thank you for your post.

    • Thanks for this comment Cristal. So interesting to me – the advice that so many remember from their first few years – is really so, so simple and crucial. “Enjoy them.” <- – Right up there with the best. If we aren't appreciating these children then . . .

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