Night before thinking: Slice of Life #29

Tizzy. I kind of like this word. The way it sounds. I don’t so much like the way it feels. It is always attached to so much anxiety: “all in a tizzy.” It is about too much to do, not enough time to do it, feeling unprepared, circling around accomplishing nothing. One might as well spin in circles because when “in a tizzy” feelings descend, we can’t really do anything right.

Often this feeling comes the night before back to school. After a break. Not summer break as there has been a gearing up. The excitement that Septemberr brings. But after winter and spring breaks, teachers begin to panic. What will I do with the students? What did I leave prepared? What will they be ready to do? (Which is actually a not bad question) Is it really starting again tomorrow?

Tonight, I don’t want to panic. I don’t want to enter any tizzy-like state. I want to embrace the possibility, smile in advance at the getting reacquainted. Be ready to grow our community.

This morning I came across the 2003 documentary Children Full of Life about Toshiro Kanamori and his 4th grade class in the city of Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo. Follow this link to watch if you haven’t seen it. Give yourself the better part of an hour. A lot of time to watch. Some time to pause and be teary.

As I watched this video, I kept thinking. This is what teaching is. This! This! The possibility of everything. Teaching is so brave, so vital. Our impact is absolutely huge.  We can make it count or waste so much time filling the time with things that just don’t matter.

This is teaching for life, not for a school day. Giving students opportunities to be part of an empathetic, accountable, humble community where there is so much respect. Imagine telling your students we are here together to learn about being happy. To be happy together.

Mr. Kanamori has his students write daily notebook letters and some students read aloud each day. Everybody listens. They talk about deep feelings, about character, about virtues. I was in awe.

I want to watch this video countless times. It was so absolutely beautiful.

The fussy stuff about back to school, that tizzy inducing fussy stuff, it doesn’t even matter. Tomorrow I return to see my students. Our community. To be and learn together.

The possibility of everything.

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.


22 thoughts on “Night before thinking: Slice of Life #29

  1. Carrie, the goal of this classroom is to be happy and life is captured in notebook letters. What a wonderful thought that children should learn how to live a happy life and share their sense of community with their peers. Thank you for sharing this video with all of the slicers.

  2. I’ll take time this afternoon to watch, Carrie. The video sounds wonderful. I hope you’ve had a good start to the week, and the ‘tizzy’ is just in the classroom having fun!

  3. I am carving out time (during my spring break this week!) to watch the video. I know what it’s like to be “in a tizzy” after break. You are absolutely correct-those things we stress most about don’t usually warrant all that angst.

  4. Watching this teacher guiding (so skillfully) a group of children to share their pain and joy was truly marvelous.
    Thanks Carrie for sharing. Have a happy week!.

  5. Watching Mr. Kanamori and his students together….this is life! “This is teaching for life, not a school day”. I really believe our world would be a kinder place if we held these words close to our hearts in our classrooms. Like you, I was deeply moved by watching this documentary. I think you and Mr. Kanamori have so much in common!o

  6. Just the word, “tizzy,” gives me a knot in my stomach! I added Children Full of Life to my documentary list. I have two I have to watch for class, and then I plan to watch it. Thank you for sharing! I hope things calm down a bit for you!

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