So, I’ve decided that’s my new motto for the last week before any holiday break! “Meltdowns, Movies and Munchies” Today there were some moments of joy but it kind of felt like a full day meltdown.
It’s just so hard to keep the schedule normal-which is what many of my students need-on the week before break. Now, I love all those Christmas parties. I love those Christmas themed Language Arts and Math lessons that you can find on TeachersPayTeachers (or all those ones that you used to create on your own in the olden days:). These changes in schedule and routines, however, wreak havoc on my students who thrive on structure. I’m sure I’ll get to teach a lot of flexibility lessons this week. I usually plan calm activities in my room so that if students need a break from all the concerts and cookie baking and ornament making, they can come have some down time in my room. Today we joked and said “let’s just watch movies and eat popcorn all week!” So, there came my motto: Meltdowns, Movies and Munchies (and maybe the teachers will even let the kids come join us!:)
But, let’s get back to that moment of joy! I am so thankful for the teaching assistants that work with me. Today, as I watched one of them, I realized that many days, my joy comes from seeing her interact with the students. She knows how to push them to be the very best they can be, but she is also flexible and patient and knows when to just stop and laugh about the situation. Today, I was mentally exhausted at 1:00, and yet when I watched her interact with students, she was able to smile and keep listening and encouraging them. It didn’t matter that she hadn’t finished her Christmas shopping or that she had a million things going on at home, she left all that at home and engaged with her students in the moment.
So, my prayer for this week is that I can portray peace in moments of chaos, and that I can purposefully engage with my students in the moment. Then, maybe I won’t need as many movies or munchies to calm those meltdowns:).
So I don’t know about you, but I’ve been loving all the TV Voice competitions. Although I loved The Voice last season too, I had forgotten how much I LOVE watching the original coaches. It’s been so fun to see them encourage their teammates and coach them to be the best that they can be. At school, I see that as my role-a coach-not just someone who imparts knowledge but someone who coaches my students to become the best that they can be. My goal is to encourage them, to challenge them to take risks (in a safe environment), to celebrate their successes, to walk alongside them in their hardships and to help them become life long learners. I feel like I get just as excited as those Voice coaches when my students have successes.
Tonight as I am watching another voice competition on TV, I’ve begun comparing these groups to the school musical that I watched tonight. My friend invited me to go with her to her son’s school to watch their holiday program. Her son goes to a school for students with autism. Honestly, this was the most amazing program I’ve seen in a long time! These students with autism had been encouraged in their talents. They had practiced long hours. They had been challenged and encouraged to take risks and to try new things. They were confident in their parts, and you could tell that their successes had been celebrated. I loved watching the smiles on their faces and listening to their amazing voices. Each actor stayed in character and performed the dances and songs with grace and joy. I laughed and cried and smiled. What an awesome way to spend an evening in the middle of a busy week.
When I got home and turned on the TV to watch the end of the Sing Off, I watched those groups sing and dance. But…instead of getting lost in the drama and the fun of those groups, I found myself thinking again about those amazing students with autism who were doing the same thing tonight. I’m so thankful for those teachers and parents who love those kids and care about them enough to provide opportunities for them to show off their talents. It gives me joy and hope for my day tomorrow! Thankful for neurodiversity! (Do you know what that word means? If not, look it up:)