Yesterday was our last day of school before winter break. It was pyjama day. We had a winter concert in the afternoon. My class brought in some treats to share and we watched part of a Shackleton documentary to celebrate that we finished an in depth read of Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill and spent time studying all things Antarctica and Antarctic exploration.
Students left at the end of the day with candy canes, forgotten lunch containers and their first term report cards. They bustled about in the main hallways tucking PJ pants into snow boots and off they went into the afternoon cold to begin their winter holiday.
But my celebration is not about the end of the day that signified my much needed break. It is about the beginning of my day and what happened in the thirty minutes before our day had even started.
Many students arrived early and leaped about delivering their party treats and admiring each others’ pyjamas. And then the lure of books and reading time happened as it often does.
Maybe it was the coziness of being at school in flannel pants and robes. Maybe it was the excitement of the holidays. Maybe it was just the magic of the early light in the room. Yesterday morning, a student from the classroom next door visited. He planted himself on my stool and read aloud Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (a title I had shared with the class the day before). He read with beautiful drama and wonderfully hilarious voices.
As more students arrived, they joined in with the read aloud experience. Cozy. Quiet. Engrossed.
I stood back and just smiled. These moments well before the first bell were a gift. They represented what I have been waiting for. Community. A place for readers. That I belong.
It has been a long journey for me. Searching for “home” after leaving my community of 21 years. I have written about it endlessly in the past eight months. Here and here and here and here and here. I write to process. I write to feel. I write to know.
In those early morning moments yesterday I felt it. I have a new here. This school is now my school. I celebrate this peace. Peace and calm. A room full of books. A room full of students. A room full of reading. A community that is mine.
Happy holidays to all!
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.