Sunday, April 27, 2014

Crossing the finish line

Principal ponderings...

Monday, April 21, 2014, was an emotional day for many of us in MA.  It was marathon Monday, probably the most important marathon Monday in the history of the marathon.  After the bombings last year, this was a true test of everyone's physical and emotional strength.  Last year, I had made plans to take my husband and step-son to cheer on the runners since neither of them had ever done that.  We spent some time at the halfway point in Wellesley with the intention of then going to the finish line.  I was trying to locate a good friend who was running for the Dana Farber team and who was wearing my mom's name on her bib.  I never found her and because we stayed longer than expected, we made the decision not to go on to the finish line.  Thankfully, when the bombs went off, we weren't there.

This year, it was very important for me to return to the halfway point to cheer on the runners.  I knew several people running this year, but there were two people in particular that I needed to support, Kim and Rachel.  Kim was the friend who I never made it to see last year.  She actually never completed the marathon; she was forced off of the course around mile 20.  When that happened, she also had to deal with the fact that her entire family was at the finish line, her three children and her husband, and she could not get in touch with them or even get close to find out if they were all ok.  My friend Rachel, who I met several years ago when we were placed as roommates at a creativity workshop in Italy, did not run the marathon last year, but she was at the finish line.  She also was Martin Richard's 2nd grade teacher.  This year, she was determined to run the marathon, her first ever, with Martin's spirit pushing her all the way.
I saw Rachel run by, and I shouted, "You rock Rachel!"  I was so proud of her for everything she had done this year leading up to the marathon.  The smile on her face and the thumbs up she gave me told me that she was absolutely going to cross the finish line for Martin and his family.  I waited to see Kim who I thought would be coming by pretty soon after Rachel.  I waited and waited and no Kim.  I decided that I would wait 5 more minutes before leaving for an appointment.  Then, over the hill, I saw Kim and her husband walking towards me.  I ran onto the road to give her a hug and she started to cry, saying that she was having a bad running day.  Kim has run several other marathons, but I know leading up to this one, she had been dealing with some medical issues.  I also knew that crossing the finish line this year was very important to her.  I hugged her again and thanked her for what she was doing; it didn't matter if she was having a bad running day.  I knew she was going to cross that finish line.  As I watched her walk away, I saw her start to run again.  And several hours later, Kim crossed the finish line.

Speaking of marathons...we are in the home stretch of our school year marathon.  Now I have never run an actual marathon, but I did complete a half marathon a few years ago.  And let me tell you, those last 2 miles were a killer!  So now we are racing to finish this school year, and I know that you will all cross the finish line in June.  It is important to finish strong.  Just like in those last 2 painful miles of my half marathon, you don't want to be counting down to the last day.  You have to continue with the pace you have set for yourself and your students.  You don't want to rush through these last few weeks.  Think back to the routines that you set in place with your students at the beginning of the year.  Make sure you are still following through with those routines that have allowed for students to learn and grow.  Like my friend Rachel, make sure to remind yourself why you teach everyday and who you are running this school year race for.  And like my friend Kim, remember that there will be bad teaching days, but don't let them stop you.  Keep going.  Make sure that in these last few weeks that you take care of yourself.  Runners need those water stops and snacks along the way; educators also need to make healthy choices for themselves so they can be their best for their students.  This past week has reminded me that I need to take my own advice and make smart choices in order to finish this race.  I could get only a few hours of sleep a night, not exercise and make poor eating choices, but then what kind of shape is that going to leave me in to do my job of supporting you and the students?  I could also let my time get swallowed up by meetings and paperwork, but I know I need to be interacting with all of you and with our students.  We all have to take each day one day at a time and not just focus on the finish line.  There is still so much that we need to do, so much learning that needs to happen with our students.  

I promise you that if you stay the course, you will cross that finish line.  I look forward to running and cheering alongside all of you these last few weeks, but most important, I look forward to celebrating a well-run race as we all cross the finish line together.  And that feeling at the finish line that you get when you know that you have helped each child in your class grow and the impact you have had on them...that makes the hard work and the struggles along the course of this school year so worth it!

Currently reading:
Over the break, I was busy reading lots of different books.  My Goodreads account reminds me of my lofty goal to read 200 books during 2014.  So far I am only up to 35...I need to keep reading!  A few picture books that I read during some quiet office hours:
And as I was organizing my home office and some of my bookshelves...I reread this book that our nieces gave us at our wedding reception.  They thought they were very creative for changing the character name to my name.  My husband was not too happy that his character was a lazy slug! ;)

Currently, I have too many chapter books going at once!  Need to focus on finishing one at a time.  Since Mrs' Potter's class is beginning an historical fiction unit of study, I started ready When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.  
And since Mrs. Fournier's class will be doing biographies soon, and for something lighter, I am reading Who Was Elvis Presley?

Events this week:
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  I am sure the PTA will be showing their appreciation of you all week.  Thank you for all you do for our students!
Monday - Welcome back!
Tuesday - Wendy Frank will be leading some poetry workshops in two 3rd grade classrooms in the morning.
Wednesday - Eric Carle program will be happening in kindergarten classrooms.  Roundtree, Mills and Coronis will be having MS transition meetings.  FR and SU lab teachers will be meeting with Joia.  School Committee Meeting @ 7:00 in the HS library.
Thursday - Curriculum half day of school, Wendy Frank will be leading some poetry workshops in two 3rd grade classrooms in the morning.
Friday - 2nd grade Eyes on Owls program

Check it out:
Here's a little motivational video clip to get you pumped up for the final stretch!

And in case anyone was wondering if my reading addiction runs in the are 3 of my nieces enjoying some time at Barnes and Noble!  Love my little readers!

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