Friday, November 12, 2010

It’s a Friday and I’m done my work, but am just sitting here for a bit. Grades are out and another chapter begins. I hear the kids cheering on the field outside and my colleagues clicking down the hallway to go home. After a while, you know which clicks belong to which person. People all have a particular beat.

The end of a marking period often seems exhausting for everyone - it can like an interruption of our regularly scheduled program, rather than something that joyfully demonstrates progress. When it goes well, it’s an opportunity for meaningful feedback. It should help a student find his direction, determine her strengths and weaknesses, plan for future growth.

Well, for some students it does, but others are saddened by that missing half a point. I want to tell them that this half a point will not define them.

They will be defined by whom they love and who loves them back, by finding their favorite foods and work in the world. They will be defined by thousands of actions seen and unseen. Some of what they do will make them feel proud of themselves and some things will later enter the realm of the regrettable.

Things like…

the white lie to a parent about something trivial, that - when remembered, burns their lips,
the party they should have left earlier,
the friend who betrayed them,
the friend they betrayed,
the child they didn't have time for,
the batch of cookies they ate by themselves,
the invisible kid they didn't befriend,
the teasing they watched, silently,
the words they wished they had the courage to say,
the words they wished they had only thought,
the lesson they ignored and now need,
the story from a grandparent they brushed off and now crave,
the story they were afraid to write…

So many things that will define them and none of them include the half point. The half point is a snapshot and there will be so many more such markers which will become part of the flow of their well-lived lives.

They will look back and savor…

the taste of ice cream with friends,
the win on the soccer field,
the way the bat felt in their hands,
the first time a girl or boy liked them in that way,
the Eagle Scout award,
the first time they took an unpopular stand they believed in,
the time they wanted to cheat, but didn't,
Thanksgiving Dinner, with all of their relatives,
loading their favorite songs onto an ipod and sitting back and listening,
leading a school activity that people came to,
realizing that their parents were once kids too,
making mud pies with their little sister,
the taste of pizza at lunch, after starving all morning,
the feel of the steering wheel when they got their license,
a first kiss
becoming student of the week,
running down the street with soaking wet hair, in a summer rain,
the smell of apple muffins,
earning their first dollar,
helping someone learn to read,
ladling out soup in the shelter,
sleeping on fresh sheets under a soft comforter..

I look outside and see that the sun is still shining on a triad of orange, crimson and yellow mums. Time to go.

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