I know very little about plant life, but I do love to see the plants that were leafless and seemingly lifeless all winter spring forth with growth overnight.The Bradford pear trees dotted all over Atlanta provided me with inspiration when I spent an afternoon in my yard a couple of weekends ago when the weather hinted at spring. The empty branches had suddenly filled with white blossoms, but the branches had no leaves. How odd I thought to have white flowers with bare sticks surrounding it. The picture seemed peculiar to me.
The next day as I drove to church, I saw the same tree, but this time, the bare branches had green leaves as well. By the time Monday rolled around and the weather turned sour, the trees had lost the majority of the flowers and were now covered in green leaves. It made me think of the students in our care. It is possible for them to look like they are not “getting it.” And perhaps they aren’t – right then. But with patience and some warmth, they begin to show signs of growth. The white blossoms appear seemingly overnight and in a short period of time, the tree is full of green and the bare branches are but a distant memory.
Some students learn in full view. You see the wheels turn, they pose questions that demonstrate their thinking, and their progress looks steadier. Others, though, can be less predictable. Their learning seems invisible till one day when the conditions are right, they show their stuff!
As the weather warms and the end of school nears, I like to remember that at any moment a student might be ready to grow overnight!
I feel a little like a contestant on “Beat the Clock.” For those of you who are far younger than I, it was a game show in which couples tried to complete a stunt in less than 60 seconds. Today, I have not completed any stunts – at least none that were memorable! Instead, I have been up against a deadline all day long. Even now as I write, the 8:00 PM deadline I determined for this post fast approaches. Knowing that no one had signed up for this day, I was fully prepared to write and even imagined the story I might share, but when the time came to write, I was left to race against the clock. Moving from meeting to meeting, finishing recommendations, writing up observations, and completing a host of other tasks with a shared deadline of tonight, I hurried home much later than I wanted, necessitating a change of plans for dinner. Leftovers would have to suffice. Would I have time to monitor reading and math homework after Sarah’s quick shower? Would I have time to complete this post before 8:00 – and would it be worth the virtual ink on the page? These thoughts swirled in my head as I stirred the chili.
Today, amid the chaos of deadlines and freneticism, I gained more than just winning at “Beat the Clock.” I listened to a worried parent and was able to provide some hope along with two other teachers. I helped a student understand a bit about grace and its power even when one has done something wrong. I observed two wonderful lessons with different teaching styles. I heard the powerful words captured in several students’ writing. I checked on a child who was hurt. I ate delicious chocolate that was dropped on my desk as a wonderful gift at the end of a long day. I made one of our cleaning staff smile as I thanked him for his hard work on Friday night.
As I hit preview and then post, kiss my girl goodnight, and start proofreading progress reports, I am so happy that this post was my responsibility today. It has been a gift to see that so much good was hidden in the midst of what felt overwhelming. I needed that – and it is only 7:57!
Learner, Thinker, Writer: Maryellen Berry serves Trinity School as Upper Learning Department Coordinator. @fastwalker10
I learned to sew as a ten year old at my grandmother’s side one summer. She was a brilliant woman who knew how to knit a sweater and to fashion fancy clothes for my Barbie dolls. She was a stickler for details, and she taught me to sew a button correctly and how to rip out a zipper when I wasn’t careful enough sewing it the first time. As a result of her talents, patience, and time, I not only learned to sew, but was also able to turn her tutelage into some real clothes. I made clothes for myself, bridesmaids dresses for me and my sister, and sundry other items over the years. I don’t sew like I used to but the skills Grandma Ger imparted to me are still present.
So why is it that with the skills I possess, I managed to have a pile of clothes that needed buttons replaced or a hem sewn? With a wild hair this past Saturday, I decided to tackle some of them. I threaded a needle with white thread and in 30 seconds had replaced a button that had make a jacket unwearable. I said aloud to my daughter, “Hmm, all this time, I have put off this task, and it took more time to thread the needle than to fix it.” It started me thinking. How many times do I put off a task that I could easily accomplish if I just dug in and started? After sewing four buttons and fixing the hem on a pair of pants, I was once again aware of my tendency toward procrastination as well as its deleterious effects on me. I have heard it said, “A stitch in time saves nine.” A lesson worth remembering for 2013.
Learner, Thinker, Writer: Maryellen Berry serves the Trinity School community as Upper Learning Department Coordinator. @fastwalker10