Saturday, September 12, 2015

I M P A C T.

Saturday night.  Already, I'm finalizing plans for next week, after stumbling through last week -- which was the longest short week of my teaching career.  As quickly as a typical school day passes, compared to a day of Professional Development, I discovered that a day filled with student searches, police presence, and the early dismissal of 75% of the student body, leaving approximately 20% of the students in each of my classes, causes the hands on the clock to crawl.  Despite the fact that next week was scheduled to be our first FIVE DAY week of the school year, I only needed to write 4 days of plans, after shelving Wednesday's lesson plans due to the high absenteeism.

By yesterday, we were all both relieved and saddened to discover that the decision to post recklessly on social media that had put this unplanned "attack drill" into motion was a student in our own school.  I guess we'll spend a bit more time in Socratic discussion when we cover online safety in Information Literacy.  (And maybe at least ONE more will be shaken to the core of understanding that online is forever.)

Yes, negativity causes all of us to pause and take notice.  To take stock, re evaluate, and try to figure out how to avoid making the same mistake twice.  As I've said before on this blog, I am looking for the positive, always.  I came home yesterday, emotionally exhausted, and discovered a message from a friend, retelling a story shared by her daughter who had been in  my classroom today.

My kid just came tearing in the door and I ask my usual "How was your day".  This is the teary eyed response I received (almost) word for word: Mrs. Heydt is such a good person...just a really good person.  Awww, Mrs. Heydt.  Today I got to sit in on her BLAH BLAH class (sorry!) and I was kinda listening.  Those kids weren't her most motivated class.  There were a lot of kids who didn't want to be there, but she just kept answering questions.  So there was this girl that you could tell wasn't that interested in school....the kind of kid that you would expect to hang out with not-so-great influences.  Well, she didn't say anything the entire class she just did her own thing.  Then when class was over she jumped up out of her seat and ran over to Mrs. Heydt and was all excited and said 'I am going to join (something musical that I can't remember the name of)! She was really excited and Mrs. Heydt was occupied, but she dropped everything and gave her full attention to this girl and matched her excitement with "Oh my goodness!  That is amazing' Mom, it was SO sweet.  That girl was so happy that someone shared her excitement.  It was an awesome thing to witness".  So, there you have it....you made a huge impression on my kid (again) without even realizing it.  She was so happy for that girl and so happy that you were too.....Happy Friday to me....she made my day.
 
 Please understand, I share this with you, not because the world needs to know about it, but because I need to remind myself that no matter how many emails are in my inbox, or how many papers are waiting to be graded, the most important part of my job is connecting with students and making them feel valued.  

I wonder how many 40 second conversations I've missed because I didn't make eye contact with someone waiting for the bell to ring?  Because, clearly, if I make the effort, it can impact at least one person -- and in the case of yesterday, so many other people.

Yes, the positive message for me was that I impacted one kid, and never really noticed it, until a second kid's mom pointed it out to me.

I've really got to pay closer attention, in those waning seconds of class, for that time is golden, and waiting to be discovered.