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What I've Learned This Week...

As a Mama, as a Teacher and as a Human

Thank you for being here! 

As we enter November together as a family and as a community in our classroom, I am reminded that we are still trying to manage the big emotions and changes that come along with living, learning and playing during a pandemic. Everything can feel so normal yet so different at the same time. I am looking forward to slowing down even more this November. With the writing stages of Teachers These Days with Dr. Jody Carrington wrapping up, the cooler temperatures and the longing for peace, I am hopeful that November will bring rest and reconnection to my world. What are you hoping for this November?

Here is what I have learned this week...

As a Mama

Making memories with a special Halloween Hunt (including this candy stuck in a tree!) was a highlight for me this week
If you had told me in March when all got shut down that we would have to rearrange summer plans/ school start up/ classroom design/ Halloween and now even Christmas plans due to this dumb virus? I never would have believed it. Sometimes I find it hard to believe and process just how much Covid has affected and continues to affect our lives. With all of the changes and protocols and restrictions this year has brought us, I find myself, like so many of you, exhausted by it all.

We all have that go to "word" to describe our world when discussing Covid and all that comes along with it... "unprecendented", "tricky", "hard"... mine? "Too freaking much". I hear myself say it as I talk to colleagues and my husband and my friends... it's all just too much.

And when it all feels too much? My go to strategy has always been to shut the whole damn thing down.

Avoid. Withdraw. Retreat. 

I have to fight this feeling every damn day. Some days the overwhelmingness of it all wins. I retreat and forget and feel safe for even just a minute. It works for me.

But I know this is not a long term solution.

So, some days? Instead of retreating?

I come in hard. Pushing back. Fighting. Refusing to let this thing win. It's exhausting. But necessary for me. To feel like a fighter. To feel strong. To feel alive.

What I have learned this week? The hardest thing to do when you are in pain is to connect. 

But it's essential to my literal survival at this point.

Connection not just with other people, but with myself. My heart. My body. My soul.

This week that connection looked like a note and gift of gratitude for my kids' teachers, making memories on 
"Pumpkin Hill" with our learners, having coffee and dreaming big with my incredible husband, crying it out and laughing with my Mom at her kitchen table, making one of my favourite meals and spending an unforgettable Halloween with the people we love most that our kids will talk about for years to come.

Connection is key. And when it is hardest to do so? I am reminded that it is more necessary than ever. 
Finding "Pumpkin Hill" this week was a wonderful experience.
Our kids will remember this for years to come. 

As a Teacher

Part of our daily kindergarten routine is to do a land acknowledgement together.

Notice I said "together".

For the first 7 weeks of school, I did our land acknowledgement. Kids were polite. They listened. I read it and talked about how important it was. It was consistent but I started to realize it was not as meaningful as I had hoped for myself or for our kids. They were not actively part of the process. And I knew it needed to change. It needed to shift from and "I" to a "we" and from "routine" to "honouring".

Last week, I pulled our land acknowledgement down from the wall (it was one I had "googled" at the beginning of the year and was one I was comfortable with as I had heard it used many time before) and asked the kids if they could help me out.

With some questioning, I learned that they understood why we did the land acknowledgment. They said things like "because we need to remember this is Treaty 7 land!" and "to remind us that every child matters" and "to show gratitude". All things we had talked about in previous weeks.

We reviewed the words of the land acknowledgement I had been reciting to them and they helped me pick out the most important words. We worked together to reword the acknowledgement so that they could become more active participants. To hear them repeat each line of it back this week felt much more powerful and authentic.

What I have learned this week? If it doesn't feel right, fix it.

We could have continued on all year with me reading the words and them politely listening. But that is not the point of a land acknowledgement. To take it down, rework it and make it more meaningful? It feels right. It feels like we are honouring the land on which we work, live and play and reflecting on the gratitude for the Peoples whose land it is.

It certainly isn't enough, but it is a small step we take each day together.

As a Human

I had one of those “moments” this week. One where you know your practice will be changed forever...

This little sign I purchased from @artlovelifelc in 2017 is one of my very favourite things. It is displayed in our home where it catches my eye several times a day and really has become my life’s goal.

I had a case of the Mondays this past week. And as I left the house Tuesday, I noticed the sign and spoke the words “Laurie, live intentionally” I set a new TUESDAY goal for myself that had nothing to do with a dumb Monday. I granted myself grace and smiled when I thought about moving on to all the possibilities Tuesday could hold.

When we jumped into our Rainbow Circle to hold our daily kindergarten morning meeting on Tuesday, I explained that I had done some reflecting.

“Do you know what? I wasn’t my best self yesterday. It’s ok to have a day where you can’t really explain what’s wrong but you know you just don’t feel yourself. You feel kind of “blah”. “

(Of course the precious souls all then assured me I was wonderful and that they could all relate and I was not alone because that is the most beautiful thing about 4 and 5 year olds.)

I told them what a “goal” was. I explained that I had made a goal that morning to have a better Tuesday. To find joy and to be better than I had been the day before. Not perfect, just a little better.

That’s when these words came tumbling out...

“I wonder if any of you might have a goal today?”

Did. They. Ever.

“I want to be kind and helpful for my friends today”.
“I want to be a better listener when someone is talking”.
“My goal is to make someone laugh”.
“I want to try harder not to be loud in the bathroom today”. (Can you tell we had talked about that the day before? 😉)
“My goal is to just be who I am today”.

Love. Love. Love.

What I have learned this week? 4 and 5 year olds make for some pretty unbelievable accountability buddies.

We kept each other accountable this week. I heard kids say “good job for not running in the hall! That was your goal!” and “You’re a good helper. I asked for your help because that was your goal” and “Good job trying your best! You got your goal!”

And my favourite?

"Mrs. Mac! You did it! You finded the joy today!"

No doubt about it. “I wonder if you might have a goal today?” is happening. I’m excited for us to grow together with this new practice. 

I am grateful to be on this learning journey every day with all of you...

Love, Kindness and Happy Learning to You!

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