This is the first week back from Spring Break, getting back into the swing of things, and practically anything that's ever been due in the history of teaching is due next Friday. I like to call it my final exam time of year. Early mornings, late nights, less showers. Yesterday I had a "Five More Minutes" moment. There's a time during the day when the playground is empty. When I get a crazy notion, I take my doodles out there and we have the place to ourselves for about 45 minutes. IT. IS. MAGICAL. I don't have to do that thing I do at Recess with grade levels where every minute I'm scanning for all of them, I don't have to worry about stressing the importance of personal space and explaining that the prompt verbiage for the other kids is "hands off", I don't have to start prepping them 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes before their homeroom teacher calls the whistle- they get to just BE. Do not get me wrong, it's not a free for all. We do work on expressive language, turn taking, and safe choices but it's just so much more enjoyable when you're outside surrounded by playground equipment (and when you're hanging upside down on the jungle gym).
Yesterday, I was on this stool thing and one of my gals was spinning me around. I was going so fast my surroundings were just a blur and a rainbow of colors. I was yelling, "AHHHHHHHHHH! Slow down I'm gonna puke!!!!!" and my students were laughing so hard! Then I went down the slide a time or two. After that, 1/2 way up the rock wall (it's really scary). Then flips on the jungle gym and lifting up three or four doodles so they would get a turn on the monkey bars.
When I saw 2nd grade coming out for their recess I was so dissapointed. I wanted to stay out there for 5 more minutes! Maybe I wanted 5 more minutes because I knew I'd be at school until really late. But maybe. . just maybe. . . I like those moments where I'm not a real grown up. And when I can just be silly and enjoy them without worrying about how they are coping with the world around them. We just get to be ourselves. Just how we are.
This job is hard. Like really really hard. Lots of jobs are hard. Life is hard. Things will always try to distract me, zap my joy, and take me away from recognizing how blessed I am every single day. But not if I don't let it. Not if I continue to pray and trust that there is a plan at work that is greater than my own. A dear friend of mine has been teaching Special Education for over twenty years. One particular day this Fall I was struggling. Big time. So many "not fairs!" I asked her how she handles it. Her response: "Pause. Breathe. Pray." If I take the time to do that everything changes. Not just with work. With any curve ball life or my crazy mind takes me. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the paperwork, the data, the emotions, the setbacks, the regression, the planning, the prepping, the laws, but that's not why I do this. Those things just come with a job I LOVE to do. I've got to focus on the joy and concentrate on what I can give back to this world. Playground afternoons keep me sane. Next week I hope we have good weather because I can't wait to try to master the rock wall.
And next week, I'm going to take those five more minutes.
May sunbeams find you!