Belief, Compassion and AND

There are a lot of stories that I haven’t been able to write this year. Some of the stories are not mine to tell. Some of them are not ready to be told.  I have felt these stories inside of me and I have struggled with them.

I have struggled and I have learned. I cannot tell you so many of the stories that have been weighing on my heart but I can tell you that the struggle has been worth it.  Because with the pain and the struggle has come love.  I look at these children who have brought me so much struggle and know that I love them.  We have grown and struggled together.

This school year there have been moments when I have not been the person I aspire to.  I have lost my temper, been unkind, been angry. And each time I have tried to put my ego aside and to hold myself accountable. Every day I have had to believe in what I am and in what I can be. I have had to find compassion for myself.  I had to believe in me because believing in me means believing in them. Having compassion for me meant having compassion for kids, for families, for colleagues. We are all struggling together.

Today our struggles rewarded us with a gift.  Today we were talking about how mathematicians use different strategies for solving problems and that mathematicians learn from each other and one of my students called out

We are mathematicians!

and then another called out AND writers,

And their beautiful voices trailed one after another

And thinkers, and scientists, and learners, and publishers, and authors, and illustrators, and artists and…

AND …

That AND comes from reflecting every afternoon on the struggles of the day and reminding myself every morning to believe in myself and in these kids. Every day we start with a message full of who we are and can be, Dear Thinkers, Dear Mathematicians, Dear Writers, Dear Scientists, Dear Learning Team …

I will never know what path most of these children take but I will know that for one year we worked and struggled to know what we can be and what we are. And it was a struggle full of belief, compassion and AND …