After a week of spectacular views and countless wildlife sightings, the return to reality was jarring. But it didn’t take more than a few minutes to discover a different type of beauty within the classroom.
As always, I was greeted by hugs and the need to confirm that I would be present all day. And as expected, kids were visibly pleased when I remembered their names.
But the community circle where we shared the events of our weekend brought me back into focus about individual priorities. One student was scratched by his cat, one watched a basketball court collision and one acquired new notebooks and pencils. Recognizing the importance of these events and my implicit responsibility to acknowledge the significance of each were mandatory.
The gifts these children give me are no less valuable than observing a herd of Montana bison. They allow me to participate in their growth, according to their unique styles. They do this by laughing, crying, confiding and sometimes merely through eye contact. My favorite is the girl who is busily writing a love letter to me, looks up and brightly smiles at me.
One by one, they appear at the desk to notify me that they are finished with their assignments. As if I have absolute power over their next hour, they all wait for me to deliver guidelines. When they are four or five years older, they will automatically try to check email or sports videos. But for now, they will (usually) comply with directions. They will do everything possible to secure my approval.
While my location in the world has changed drastically from one day to the next, my understanding of my world has merely adjusted. In one case, I am a citizen-observer, grateful for the beauty around me. In the next, my role is that of leader-observer, assisting with the diversity of learning.
Love for my surroundings is the same in both places. But while the mountains are massive and immutable, young minds continue changing and absorbing. Shalom.