To everything – turn, turn, turn…


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.

writing meme

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.
And, for my blog readers, I am moving back to Eldorado after my year in Sonora. What the Sonora High School students taught me about high school reminds me of what Carlos and his classmates taught me about teaching in regular education (When a trashed turntable transforms (…or seeing a former student on Jimmy Fallon). Their lessons will never leave me, and, because of them, what I have to offer my upcoming high school students will be even better!
Suffice it to say, when I read those first words of Jessica’s letter, I was already feeling the ol’ tug on my teacher heart. Then, she hit me with this:
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!]
As you can well imagine, I felt a bit ashamed. I’ve let myself down by not posting on my blog since January, and I’ve let those who follow me (for whatever crazy reason! Ha!) down as well. Heading straight to Jessica’s blog, I read and read and was inspired to dedicate myself back to this blog.
It’s time. It’s the perfect time.
Thank you, Jessica and the Byrds for reminding me of that!
A time to plant, a time to reap

About Katrina Gonzales

Having taught almost 30 years, I have a wealth of knowledge to share about the field of education---some good knowledge, some not-so-good knowledge, and some knowledge that might just blow your mind, or not. I decided to name this blog "Mining the Magic" as a tribute to those magical moments that surface often unexpectedly in the classroom. After this much time in education, however, I realized that those magical moments are never random; lots of planning, hard work, and the establishment of a community of learners precludes these extraordinary, and seemingly magical, times in the classroom. Currently, I "mine" the "magic" in Room 320 at Sonora High School. In the past 29 years, I've been known to teach Early Childhood Handicapped, 8th Grade ELA, self-contained elementary, and even adults as a consultant at Education Service Center XV. While I am turned into a claustrophobic mess at the thought of actually spelunking in a natural cavern, the lovely formations that occur in the classroom fascinate me. It's with this eye for a "jewel" with a student that I set out to explain how to "mine the magic."

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