November 9, 2021
This is a week assembled for reflections of many kinds.
Veteran’s Day, this Thursday, is a day to reflect on sacrifices made. Some veteran’s are coming to read to the first graders on Friday. Our librarian and I combed through our collection to develop a text set for them to choose from, but how can we know what they want to read aloud. It seems so deeply personal. Do they want to tell a story about heroes close to home or a survival story of a veteran returning making those slow steps back? Do they want a book describing Veteran’s Day or Veteran’s memorials like The Wall or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? I’m not sure for my reflections of this day will be far different from the veteran’s who will sit in front of those first graders this Friday.
On Sunday, the day was crisp and sunny and as my husband and I drove by a nearby river, I said, Look at how beautiful that is! It was beautiful, the yellow and orange leaves reflected on the absolutely still water. Those views in those moments fill all of my senses and my heart to the brim. I don’t know exactly why. Perhaps it is the moment of exquisite beauty that fills me.
Yesterday, I had a phone call with a classroom educator. Spur of the moment I asked her, why do you think teachers are anxious right now? What is it that is making everyone less resilient? While I have my suspicions, I was exactly expecting what she said. Everyone’s worried about catching their students up, meeting standards, getting them back on track… she said. It was a forest and trees moment for me. Of course, we know that the students have missed school and some learning, but could this throw all of us just a little off course? Where the experiences everyone was having in their classrooms enough to make every task feel harder? I suppose it is.
Recently, I was asked to complete a lengthy survey from the school district. I put it off for days. It seemed too long. I wasn’t feeling reflective. What was the point? But when I had that phone conversation with that educator, she had completed it. I decided why not. I wondered as I began, why were these questions chosen, why were there so many about a single subject reworded and reworded it seemed to … see if I might change my mind. The truth is, I might have had a completely different mind about things this morning v. yesterday v. any other day. I wondered what would become of this information. By the time my responses were aggregated with the 1,000 or so other responses, who would be reflecting on what they might mean? What insight might they draw from whether I felt like people respected me times all my colleagues or whether I felt like I had friends at work?
Yesterday, I spent an hour watching a student teacher in her writing workshop, her mini-lesson, her small groups, her transitions, her conferring. It’s quite a while since I spent an entire hour observing and reflecting. I listened to her words. I watched the students reactions. I looked for adjustments. I considered what I might say to her. In the end, I asked her for her reflection. How did she think it went? Her answer surprised me. It made me realize something about reflections.
All of these reflections are multi-faceted, the image I see or perceive based on my own experiences and expectations, the actual thing that happened, and the joint reflection of everyone else in the experience whether they voice those reflections or not.
It was a week for reflection. What will I learn from them?