Thursday, September 4, 2014

Love the Most? #reflectiveteacher Day 4

My small contribution to the Reflecting Teaching: A 30 Day Blogging Challenge for Teachers.

What do I love the most? That's going to be a problem for me. There are a million things in life I love. Mint chip ice cream, glitter, a new set of colorful flair pens, fire pits, inspirational videos, red wine, teachers who tweet, down comforters, books, hammocks, sleep, singing in my car, 5 year olds, the list goes on. But what do I love the most about "teaching"? Well, that's easy.

Quality time.  

I have a hard time when educators talk about making connections and having meaningful relationships with students because it feels SO obvious to me. Sadly though, having these intentional relationships with students is not as frequent as one might think.  I had to take a #caedchat sabbatical about a year ago because it felt super "trendy" to say things along the lines of, "Invest in the lives of your students" and I found myself getting a little agitated that those words even had to be stated.  Thankfully, I've been able to take a step back and remind myself that even the most dedicated, loving, hard-working educator has to make a conscious effort to set aside quality time for students. 

When I was teaching, one of the things I loved most about my job was taking my students on field trips.  I know field trips can be a challenge.  Driver insurance paperwork, car groups, bus reservations, the fear of losing a child, money, gift shops, rule breaking chaperones (yah, you know who you are), the list goes on! For me, field trips were just such a huge gift.  A time to step away from the daily routines and to really spend quality time with my students, their parents, and my teammates. 

When I transitioned from being a classroom teacher to a site principal, I promised myself a lot of things. I promised myself that I would never get too far away from my students and that I would always make spending quality time with them a top priority.  Those special moments are just priceless.  

One of our Penngrove teachers spending some
quality time with one of her students.
Yesterday, I spent the day with one of our 4th grade classes, our two 4th grade teachers, and about 15 parent volunteers at the Fort Ross Historic State Park on the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Honestly, the day was perfect. It was full of quality time.  That's what I always loved most about teaching, and being a principal has made me appreciate those moments even more.  I could write about Fort Ross for hours.  The lessons learned, the personalities that shined, the struggles that were overcome, the relationships that were solidified. It was a magical day. For me it was a reminder of the importance of quality time. And that's what I love the most about teaching, about being a principal, and about life. Time is a gift. How are you using yours?

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