Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gaining perspective: The children not in our classroom

Today, I was feeling rotten about many things. It is the busiest time of year and many other things are going on at and outside of school. I was tired and generally miserable. The thought that dominated all others was: I am being unfair to my own children. 

When I came home, two things happened that helped me put things into perspective and feel grateful again.

Firstly, we received a fund raising call from the Alannah and Madeline foundation. They related the story of two children, a brother and sister who had witnessed their mother being murdered by their dad! Talk about perspective hitting you in the face.

Then a moment of real joy took place as I sat and read with my daughter. The book was Horrid Henry's Christmas Cracker. H.H. had been chosen to play the Innkeeper in the Christmas play. His only line was "No", which he was to say as he turned Joseph and Mary away. Henry wasn't one to shun the limelight so he modified things a little. When Jospeh and Mary came to him, he insisted there was plenty of room at the inn. He literally pulled the expectant parents by their robes and promised satellite TV and computers. Why would they go to the stable? It had fleas!

I had a good belly laugh with Christina while reading.  We laughed so much that my wife, sitting on the adjoining bed to read to our son, urged me to control myself!

I am now about to embark on a third perspective-rich activity: sleep. Lesson preparation will have to wait to the morning. As a wise colleague of mine says: If you can't walk into that classroom with joy, you're of no use to the students. I am sure my memory has distorted her words a little, but I am equally sure that she will forgive me.

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