Kind Words

Colleague: We almost had a fight in the library over who would be the first to check out your book. Not really, but some of the kids were excited. I am glad they have this connection with you and poetry.

Student: Mrs. Morris, I was the first to check out your book from the library!

Student: My mom has the book you wrote at our house.

Colleague: I’ve been reading your book. I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot about you.

These may sound like simple comments. But each of them lifted my spirits more than they could possibly know. And they could not have come at a more needed time.

The start of school is always hard. Everyone is getting back into a routine. Takes a bit to adjust. And although classes are going well, I am feeling tired.

Grateful for the encouragement. And thankful for the reminder that kind words truly can make someone’s day. ❤️

Opportunity

Tomorrow is the first day of school. Parents and students will be gathered outside the building early tomorrow morning. Some will be excited, some nervous, some may even be afraid. Once again, they will be coming to school in a pandemic yet to be under control.

I have many thoughts, opinions, and experiences on this subject, but now is not the time. Now I have an opportunity. More important than any opinion I might share.

What is it? The opportunity to greet families. The opportunity to welcome students to the music room, making music with approximately 175 kiddos by the end of the day.

Will it all go the way I have planned? Probably not. And that is ok. Because the next day, I get to do it all again. A little more tired than the day before, but that is ok, too.

As for now, I think it is time for bed…😴

Recipe for Rest

Far-off
Rumble
In the late
Afternoon
Looking
Outside
My eyes
Squint
Realizing
The sky has
Grown dark
Winds begin
To blow
Rain begins
To fall
Air begins
To cool
I begin
To relax
A perfect
Recipe
For rest
After this
Busy day
Falling
Somewhere
Between
Anxious
And calm

That Time of Year

Back to School! School supply shopping, bulletin boards, laminating, meet-the-teacher. Even planning those beginning of the year lessons. Lots of smiles and hugs. Old and new faces.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? It is supposed to be…

And yet, here we are. Listening every day as people argue over how to deal with a virus that continues to make people sick and unnecessarily end lives. Listening as opinions are expressed passionately with little to no foundation, especially where schools are concerned.

I have had moments of excitement. My classroom looks inviting. Colorful dots on the floor and posters on the walls. Ready for students to enter one week from tomorrow.

I will be there to welcome them with a smile. Even though there will still be a knot in my stomach. I have had COVID and am fully vaccinated. My students are not yet eligible. Back to School feels like a test-one I do not want to fail.

What Should I Do?

Walking around
The house
So many things
Need doing
Should I force myself
To complete this list
Even if it’s not really
What I want to do-
Or should I
Choose to ignore
Outside voices
And only listen
To the one
In my head
Quietly
Hum your way
Through the day
Rested and content-

Those things
That need doing
Will be there
Tomorrow-

As for today
They simply
Have to wait

Only a few days before school starts. Although I will be ready to see students and colleagues, the transition is always tiring. Soaking up a bit more rest before it’s time.

Keep Writing

Ideas scattered
No inspiration
Whether to seek
Or to settle
Accepting
The need to let
My mind rest
Not sure
I know how…
Pick up the pen
Perhaps
Motor
Movement
Will trigger
Creativity
Perhaps not-
Either way
Watching
Words appear
Somehow
Slows
Racing heart
Cools
Heated face
Relaxes
Frantic brain-
Powerful process
Placing thoughts
On a page

Summer break is coming to an end. I am preparing for school to start. We continue to deal with living in a pandemic. Not surprisingly, my thoughts are scattered. And that is ok. There is strength in honesty. ❤️

Summer’s End

Sweltering heat
Suffocated
The entire
Afternoon
One step
Outside
And I was
Immobile
In the still
Stifling air
Surely, I
Would not
Wish away
A summer day-
Quite
The change
From early
This morning
When, after
One look
At the calendar
I realized
Summer was
Slipping away
And began
Wishing
It would last
Just
A little
Longer-
Now I wonder
How many days
Will pass before
A cool breeze
Blows the wisps
Of loose hair
In my messy
Ponytail

Running Late

This morning I left for work about 10-15 minutes later than usual. Not terribly late, just enough to take away that buffer between arrival and car duty.

As I merged onto the highway, I began to notice pinks and reds on the horizon. The colors created a glowing outline behind the clouds. As my car crossed the bridge over the Arkansas River, a big, beautiful sun appeared. Those pinks and reds were now perfectly blended into one giant sphere.

If I had left at my usual time, I most likely would have missed this view!

The experience made me think about how tiny moments can generate enormous power.

This first week back to school has been challenging. Teaching during a pandemic brings more questions than answers-more uncertainties than assurances. Yesterday, I allowed an onslaught of negative thoughts to weigh me down, unable to focus on anything positive.

Witnessing that stunning sunrise was the first step toward a much-needed attitude adjustment. And if my attitude today reflected even one tiny pink drop of those rays, just maybe I was able to encourage someone else.

I guess when you look at it that way; I really was not running late after all. I was actually right on time.

Neighborhood Walk

It’s that time of the summer. Back-to-school ads are everywhere. School staff members are working hard to make sure everything is ready when the students arrive. It is a team effort.

I spent most of last week preparing my classroom. But on Thursday evening, I experienced a different type of back-to-school preparation. I went on a neighborhood walk.

What an amazing experience! Around sixty school staff members gathered in the cafeteria for snacks and instructions. Our goal? To visit the families of our nine-hundred plus students.

Each team received a list of names with addresses and a map. We drove together to our assigned neighborhood or apartment complex.

Walking door-to-door, we greeted each student at their home. We introduced ourselves and gave each child a backpack. Parents shook our hands, grateful for the information shared. Kids’ smiled, telling us their grade level.

During our walk, one family stuck with me. As soon as we introduced ourselves, the mom began speaking in Spanish. Two precious little girls stood close by her side. Although I could not understand what she was saying, I sensed she was happy.

Thankfully, our assistant principal translated. He told us the mom had shared that her daughter was excited about school. She knew teachers were coming to visit that day, and had been awake since 5 A.M. waiting! The walk did not start until 5:30 P.M. She had been waiting for us all day long! ❤

A little later, we walked back by their apartment. I noticed the little girl standing on the landing with her younger sister. They were playfully hiding behind a post. When she saw us, she looked out from behind the post, smiled, and waved.

The smile on that little girl’s face was the real reason for our walk. Yes, we handed out important information. Yes, we provided a few school supplies. And yes, we were hot and sweaty. 😉 But more importantly, we made connections. We made connections with colleagues, parents, and students.

The first day of school can be stressful. But just maybe, the connections made during that back-to-school neighborhood walk will help ease the stress for our students. I know it helped ease mine. 🙂