Friday, September 28, 2012

Choose the Cone

Last night I watched this TedX video:

The basic premise is that at any given moment in your life, one hand is holding an ice cream cone while your foot is in dog poop. It's up to us to decide where our focus will be.

I'm glad I watched this video last night, because today was rough.  Things got off to a rocky start, and then got progressively worse as the day wore on.  Kids felt it.  I felt it.  Other teachers who walked into my room felt it.  By mid-afternoon, we were knee-deep in an open-ended math problem-solving activity that was causing a lot of frustration.  There were tears and angry outbursts.  Kids were giving up left and right.  Heck, even I wanted to throw in the towel.

And then I watched one of my students slyly place a pink sticky note on her upper lip with a perfectly drawn black curly mustache.  She continued to take notes and listen intently to our discussion.  Trying my best to ignore it and keep a straight face, I kept teaching.  A few moments later, I watched another boy at the same table place a sticky note mustache and goatee on his face.  Keep in mind, no other tables realized this was happening and both students continued to remain serious and studious.  I turned away to chuckle.  Coming back to address the class, I watched a third student place two bushy paper eyebrows on his forehead.  At this point, I pretended to drop my pen and doubled over laughing behind my computer cart. And, just when I thought I had fully composed myself, I looked up to see the fourth student at the table with her whole face covered by different colored sticky notes.

They chose the ice cream cone for me.  We had a good laugh and decided to put our math away for a bit. We took a walk through our school's community garden, took some photos for our science unit, and picked a healthy after-school snack.  The most important part was that we managed to make it through a rough day with a smile on our faces. Together.

1 comment:

  1. "The most important part was that we managed to make it through a rough day with a smile on our faces. Together."

    It's amazing, the symbiotic relationship many teachers share with their class. How powerful the connections. How meaningful the experiences. How permanent the marks made. The connections you make with your students is immediately evident from reading your blog.

    - scout