Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On Chaos, Greek Weddings, and Coal Miners.

Over the last few weeks I've been trying to streamline the bookshelves and cabinets in my classroom.  I am a packrat, never quite knowing what I will need, or what fascination some student may have, in any given school year, and if I toss something, I'm sure to need it the very day the recycle bin is emptied.

When I stroll around the English Department, I see teachers who have coordinated notepaper and bulletin boards over their desks.  Mine looks like the bulletin boards in the post office -- minus the REWARDS posters.  In my mind, everything is matchy-matchy, and easily retrieved at a moment's notice.

There are many who wonder how I exist in such chaos.  On many days, I am included in that number.  Yet it is not at all uncommon for there to be a weird request that reaches my desk.  Case in point:  today.

Hey Mrs. Heydt! I have a weird question: 
do you know any Greek people who would be willing to answer 
3 - 5 questions about Greek wedding ceremonies
 for my communications class? 
Would you also happen to know any coal miners? 
Thank you!

Honestly, this just doesn't seem all that weird.  Random, yes, as attempting to wrap my head around lamb and tuna fish as a realistic combination.  (Yes, that was a shout out to the brilliance of Adam Sandler, but I digress.)  And while I didn't know a coal miner -- most likely because the very thought of being that far underground causes heart palpitations and sweaty palms for me, I was able to connect my former student with a woman very active in the Greek Orthodox Church who was both gracious enough to offer her time and expertise, and, coincidentally, knew not one, but two, coal miners.

Of course, the organization to answer this particular query was my list of Facebook friends, and a simple connection of two of them.  

Teachers of the Gifted improve when they are able to make connections.  Working within a community of people supportive of the educational process is particularly helpful, as is maintaining an open mind for a variety of random facts, and listening to what people do - both for their careers and their hobbies.    There is a connectedness that exists in all of us, and attempting to complete those connections with students assists in that "show empathy" goal -- simply by saying, "I care enough to care about what you care about."

Even if it's someone eating baklava in a mineshaft, 2 miles underground.

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