Beyond Room 119


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Fine Lines

Sometimes the smallest boundaries exist between two dichotomies. Brilliance and insanity. Hilarity and offensiveness. The right choice and the easy choice.

Giving up and pushing onward.

How many times in the past four months have I wanted to give up? More than a couple.

How many times in the past four months have I seriously considered saying, “Adios!”? A few.

Yet here I am, on the morning of my 22nd birthday, drinking Kona coffee in my living room in North Carolina, Gilmore Girls playing in the background, with rain flying through the air outside.

Thinking about Thanksgiving with excitement, yes.

But also thinking about Zion, who had a rough morning, but then wrote a note saying, “I should just give up on everthing. But I’m not because I’m not a quiter so I will do everything I can do anything I want. And if you say I can’t try me.”

Thinking about little Mia, who is learning English step by step, who raised her hand in math yesterday when I asked what 2 x 5 was. She raised that pink-gloved hand (I didn’t know they made gloves that small!) and proudly said, “Ten!”

Thinking about guided reading yesterday, when I asked Ariyonna to guess what “staggered” meant based on context clues. Ariyonna, who has been so hard to reach and often sits there, pondering something silently in that beautiful head of hers, jumped up and did a fantastic job of staggering in from the door, proclaiming, “Set Damon free!” A performance that was Oscar-worthy.

Thinking about Desiree, who fell asleep in class first quarter more than she was awake, who never did her work. Miss Desiree, who wrote me three different notes this week, all with variations of, “I am ready to learn!”

Thinking about our first meeting with our kindergarten buddies yesterday, each student paired with one or two kindergarten kids. The kindergartners were writing what they were thankful for and drawing a picture. My students were responsible for helping them to spell words and make sure they were writing correctly. Thinking about every single student, who was so patient, so loving, so thoughtful with their kindergarten buddy.

Thinking about Jah’Curtis after his buddy walked away for a second. I leaned in and whispered to him, “You think he thinks you’re the coolest kid around right now?” The slow, spreading smile of him as he thought about it and then nodded.

Thinking about the reactions afterwards…”Teaching is hard!” (Ahaha, you’re telling me, kiddo!) “I had two buddies and I had to help both of them and they both wanted my attention!” (Try it with over twenty kiddos next time.) “That boy, that boy!” “Now I have a little homey!”

Thanksgiving is a time to remember our blessings.

I’m thankful for family. For friends. For freedom. For safety. For everything I’ve always been thankful for.

This year, I’m thankful that I am six months out of college and I have a full-time job.

I’m thankful that not only do I have a job, but a dynamic job. Every day is a new journey, for better or for worse. I’m thankful that I have a job that pushes me to grow. That challenges me. That makes meĀ want to be challenged.

I’m thankful that despite the struggles, the frustration, the moments that leave me wondering – despite all that, there is always something to find at the end of every day that makes me smile.

I’m thankful that, come Monday morning, I have 19 beautiful students who will be walking into my room, ready to learn.

I’m also thankful that on Monday morning, I will be up in front of that room, ready to teach.

Life is good.

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