It is the time of year for the New England teacher when our moods and those of our students coincide with the natural contrasts of light and dark, and warm and cold. We wake to darkness and provide our own light to prepare for the day. Likewise, we dress to accommodate for the storms that rage within and without. The physical mirrors the psychological.
As caring teachers we have to be doubly prepared to face the elements of the season – students and co-workers in need of a helping hand, the demands of our families, and the pressures unique to our own circumstances. Near the holidays, the light we carry and the warmth we provide may be all that separates someone among us from tears or anger. We will feel some degree of seasonal stress, either our own or that of someone else. Yes, we will keep our students challenged, and yes, we will continue to race the clock with our various projects and responsibilities. But there is one more critical thing than Common Core, common assessments, competency writing, rubrics, and all other tasks at hand, and that is our collective responsibility to look out for the emotional well being of our students and each other.
Too often as teachers we underestimate the power of a touch, a kind word, or the smallest act of caring – all of which have the power to turn a life around. Unleash a tidal wave of courage this season and be the light in your classroom and school. Draw smiles on faces with your eyes until you don’t have to anymore. Believe that through caring, compassion, and commitment you can make a difference that will last long beyond your lifespan.
That is truly extraordinary.