7:45 a.m. Fifteen minutes later than I like to be. Eight things on my to-do list when I get there. Two kids in the way back seat slowly driving me the rest of the way to crazy. And I hear one quick story on the radio that snaps things back into perspective. It went something like this:
A man looking for a new job was in the habit of asking people he met, “What do you do?” One day he met a woman who told him, “I give people hope.” When he inquired further, turns out she was a supermarket clerk, but she viewed her real job as hope-giver. She tried to find the grouchy or sad person each day and give them a little extra attention. Hope, even.
So I, of course, had to imagine then how I might have responded to the same inquiry…
I write lesson plans. I stay up too late searching for the next big idea.
I carry a bag of papers home each night. On weekends I grade them.
I assess. I record my assessments, and then I try to figure out what to do about it.
I often fail.
I write emails. I write more emails.
I plan field trips. I fill out three different pieces of paper with the exact same information.
I form stacks of paper that I never end up filing.
I make videos.
I dance. I write songs. I sing. Often.
I run to the bathroom, holding my breath, hoping that I will be fast enough.
I teach self-centered little people how to be a little more other-centered.
I find missing pencils.
I bandage boo-boos.
I call parents when kids miss the bus.
I comfort kids. I comfort their parents even more on some days.
I fix computers.
I use both sides of paper so we won’t be wasteful.
I hoard staplers and tape and pencil sharpeners and glue sticks.
And then there are the moments that I’m never proud of…
I make kids feel bad for something outside of their control.
I forget to do things I promised I would do.
I choose not to forget and move on.
I get short with my teammates.
So what about the lady at the supermarket? Something tells me that if she stepped into my shoes, she wouldn’t describe her job in any of these ways. Her answer would be way better. So after putting on my perspectacles and thinking about this today, here’s what I hope I do…
I inspire. I cheer when I see them go home and keep digging for more.
I challenge. I don’t let them give up on themselves or each other.
I connect. Math to them, them to each other, them to the world.
I apologize. I forgive. I try to be an adult that’s not afraid of those words.
I love math, and I love learning, and I’m learning to love the kids even more than the math.
What do YOU do?