Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Kids in the snow

Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!
"Nohhh!" "Out!" "Ang-yul!" "Boots!" "Ang-yul!" Little Sweetie is prancing back and forth beside the sliding glass door, pointing outside and back at our winter clothes strewn haphazardly on the doormat from our first snow on Sunday. With one hand, I attempt to pull on my snowpants and boots while simultaneously gathering up her scattered fleece suit, snowpants, boots, coat, and mittens. Daylight is fading fast out the window, but I've been waiting for this all day as I watched the fluffy flakes fall. Quickly, I plunk her down on my knee and stuff her into layer after layer. By the time I finish wrangling her tiny mittens down and out the arms of her coat, I'm so hot I consider just leaving my own coat off to go outside, but I throw it on anyway.

"Down-down!" Her little legs squirm as I carry her down the deck stairs. "Wwalk-ing!" She toddles off into the yard, making little "ooh-ooh" noises.

"Ang-yul!" "Mannn!"

"Our snowman fell down, but we can fix him!" I find the intact-but-separated balls from Sunday's snowman, quickly roll them a few times to add some new snow, and stick them together.

"Mannn!" "Pat!" "Hugggg!"

"Are you the very sweetest?" My heart wants to burst as she pats the snowman's shoulder and snuggles up to him for a hug. She just loves everything and everyone so much!


"Do you want to make a snow angel?" I remember how cute she was when we helped her make one on Sunday, spreading her legs back and forth and flailing her arms, and I can't wait to help her try again.

"No. Mommy!" Her succinct, clipped "no" with a slight head shake is definitely "no", not "nohh" (snow).

"You want Mommy to make a snow angel?" I'd rather have her make an adorably tiny one, but... whatever makes her happy!

"Mommy!" "Ang-yul!" "Make!"

"Ok, you can watch Mommy make a snow angel!" I plop down, savoring the soft cushion of snow underneath me, and start wiggling. As she grins and giggles, I'm suddenly stunned by the gentle beauty of delicate flakes falling onto my face under a backdrop of gray winter sky. It's impossible to be anything but purely happy while making a snow angel! The last lingering bits of school stress melt away, and I'm a kid again, even as I sit up to look back into my own toddler's eyes.

"Do you want to make a snow angel now?"

"No! Walking!" She takes off, little legs plowing through the snow, and I follow. "Weeeee!" Our two sets of tracks crisscross through the pristine white expanse of the yard: two kids playing in the snow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What I really love

Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!
"Oh, you LOVE talking in front of people! I'll just sit over to the side and nod, maybe click the slides..." My colleague laughs and winks at me, joking-but-not-joking about her nervousness for our upcoming PD presentation about modifying assessments.

I grin, because she's right-but-not-right, and I like the me that she sees. I like that she doesn't see the anxious tension that ties my muscles tight before a presentation or the restless intensity that courses through me as I check and rework my slides. I like that she doesn't see my jittery knees and hands, the fierce heat that pours into sweat as I talk, or the flurry of thoughts that floods my brain as I fight to appear calm, knowledgeable, and relatable. I love that she sees my enthusiasm instead of my fear and doubt. Because I actually hate "talking in front of people", but I love teaching them.

I love nudging people to change their thinking, whether they are students or adults. I love opening minds to new possibilities, designing opportunities for focused practice, and settling down elbow-to-elbow to guide and encourage. I love lit-up eyes and heads bent in concentration. I love building communities that center on learning and growth. I love sparking change. Most of all, I love my kids, and I know that I can make a bigger difference for them by stepping out of my comfort zone to be a resource to my colleagues.

So while I'm rehearsing my exact words for the millionth time, pressing my hands across my laptop case to savor its calming smoothness, subtly stretching my rigid back, and sucking in deep breaths, I'll take a moment to float above the room and see myself as I jump in: energetic, determined, and grateful for every chance to change the world for my kids.