This week has been a bit of a challenge in many ways.
Perhaps it’s the damp and dreary weather causing people to appear unenthusiastic, tired, over-worked, and just down right grumpy.
After weeks of beautiful sunny days with luxurious brilliant foliage surrounding us, a few days of cold temperatures, rain, and darkness can be disappointing. Many are surely thinking about the long winter ahead, with feet of snow to move, or wade through, and lots and lots of fuel bills.
Tuesday morning at work, the first three people I saw and said “Good Morning” to in my cheeriest 7:00 am voice, totally didn’t respond. They just slumped on by, giving me pause. Tuesday was a 14 hour work day.
Wednesday I was still tired from Tuesday’s long day, it was still dark out when I went to work and nearly dark when I returned home. Uggh.
However, on Wednesday there was a high moment in my day when author, Tanya Sousa came to my classroom and talked about her work, her writing, her passions, and her recent book, The Starling God.
Right on par with the rest of the week, only about half my students were present when Tanya arrived, and a half dozen of them drifted in over the first 10 minutes of her presentation, pink slips in hand. Tanya was unfazed and carried on, her passion for her work evident as she shard her stories with the class.
What she may not know, but I do, is that while the students were not enthusiastic, they were, in their own way, enthralled. It was a subdued kind of captivation, but it was evident to one who has spent many hours with the group. In the ensuing days I will gush my enthusiasm all over the classroom, oozing the value of having the author so available to us to learn from, and hope that some of that enthusiasm sticks to one or two, who will then seek out other opportunities that will enrich their lives.
It’s a great challenge for adults to get across the incredible value of seeking out ways to enhance ones own life to a fifteen-year-old. That doesn’t stop me from trying, however. Like Tanya’s book, which gives humanity a new way of looking at and thinking about our feathered cohabitants of the earth, I strive to give my students new ways of looking at themselves and the world around them every day.
Since I’ve met Tanya, read her book, begun to think about birds in new ways, and learned of murmurations, I have had the experience of seeing flocks of birds murmurate, and have made new friends who will continue to lead me in new directions; all of which has tightened the circle of humanity.
As a person, I thrive on these new experiences, one leading to the next, and the next, and the next. As an educator, I understand the importance of relying on one other and that it truly does take a village to raise, and educate, a child.
Earlier this year, as I gushed my passion for books all over the classroom, one student said, “A book could never change a person’s life.” Since that day I think continually of ways to help this student understand that books, even a single one, can change a life. What that young man does not yet understand is that books can lead us to many other things. As the catalyst for what can be a long line of learning, books, or people, or experiences indeed have the power to change a person’s life.
Thank you Tanya, for the new opportunities you’ve brought to my students and myself by sharing your stories with us this week. As you know,
“There is greatness in sharing what we were born to tell.” ~Tanya Sousa