To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
I remember hearing this song by The Byrds on my mom’s little transistor radio. Snuggled up next to her in bed with her cool fingers stroking my forehead, my six-year old self somehow knew that these words were timeless. As timeless as the Bible verses in Ecclesiastes on which the lyrics were based. Because Mama loved the song, so did I, which seemed to be the pattern 95% of the time.
Speaking of time, I let my blog languish for too long. Several reminders have hit me recently, and I realize that I cannot let any more time slip away. Recently, during the summer, I’ve conducted some professional development sessions for various districts and schools. At three of these, someone asked me to talk about my blog. Yeah, I had the whole “deer in the headlights” look. Each time this happened, I did a bit of self-talk and vowed to post….tomorrow…and, then, the tomorrow after that… and… Well, you get the picture.
All it took for me to get off my butt and write (wait…I’m sitting while writing, so…) was a pint-sized, giant-hearted, word-loving, passion-inspiring girl named Jessica. You see, Jessica was my student last year in my English II Pre-AP class. While she was all of those hyphenated adjectives I used above, she came to me without a lot of self-confidence when it came to reading and writing. As a matter of fact, she might have even been a little whiny when I set out my expectations. Scratch that…she was whiny! Little and whiny, much like a gnat, but so much cuter.
Eventually, Jessica came into her “own” as far as believing in her abilities to read deeply and voluminously and to write beautiful and profound pieces. When the switch turned on, she no longer whined about reading; she juggled her busy schedule (powerlifting, cheer-leading, Spanish Club, and more) to meet the weekly goal of pages she set for herself. With her confidence growing, she found ways that she could use her writing to change the world, culminating in a school-wide fundraiser to raise money for veterans.
As teachers these types of transformations push us to give everything we’ve got to love yet one more student through their doubts and struggles. Sometimes, like today, it’s those very students who push us out of inaction into action.
Yes, I got an email from Jessica today. While she titled it, “You’re gonna need a tissue”, I was reading it on my phone and did not see the “warning”.
Her opening words:
Let’s be real, I was so upset and being completely selfish when I heard the news. You were truly one of my most favorite teachers and I really didn’t like the fact that you wouldn’t be coming back next year… Now that I have my head on straight, I’m so incredibly excited for you and the path you’ve chosen to take. You’ve taught me so much and now you get to teach many others right in your own “backyard.” I think the word to describe that would be “giddy.” Thank you Membean for inspiring my new taste in words, but also thank you Mrs Gonzo for introducing me to Membean.
You’ve encouraged me to continue the following: my writing, reading, and blogging!! Yes, I have my very own blog. I love it! If you’re interested, give it a read! Jessica’s Blog[Go to her blog—it’s wonderful!]
A time to plant, a time to reap