What I Pick Up

I enjoy substituting more than I thought I would.  I like the variety, the flexibility and of course, the multitude of people I meet every single day.  I feel like a sponge at times too, because when you walk into a good teacher's classroom, it is the best education you can get as a teacher.  I pick up all sorts of ideas, insights, and more often than not, inspiration to be that good!  

For example, after visiting elementary classes, I am inspired to get more organized, use lots of bright color and add simple structure to my life.  Elementary classrooms are full of these things!  I love the bright colors, the simple lessons, the little chairs and tables and the "town hall meeting" areas: specific areas of the room to gather together, designated by a cool rug, usually a rocking chair is off one corner and the rug has fantastic themes and colors all over it.  Personally, I envision creating a room or place in my home for the little people in my world.  Since I have no children, I have no reason to do that, but I love having kids around and dream of the occasion!

Something comes alive in me when I am in these classrooms.  Sometimes I think I missed something when I went through that season of my life, maybe the joy of elementary school?  Seeing the fun and joy of these classrooms touches me, and it makes me happy.  

Of course, I think the heart and spirit of the teacher is what really colors the classroom.  An organized, detailed and loving teacher does wonders for the hearts and minds of children.  Of course, being a sub I don't even meet the teacher in most cases, but their fingerprint is everywhere.  It takes a good teacher (and parent: I am a huge advocate for homeschooling!) to draw out the gifts, talents, and heart of a child.  It's a true blessing to see this reflected in a classroom, as well as in action.  

So as you can see, I have experienced a wide variety of kids.  I am continually impressed with a few thoughts as I pass through these classrooms, visit these schools and connect with families dedicated to teaching their children at home:

1. I am inspired and challenged to model the ones with the special ability and desire to draw out the heart of children.  That takes love, because love truly connects.  I want to be that kind of teacher/parent!

2.  Amazed at how much our public schools give to children, especially special needs kids.  

For example, kids with special needs have lots of special tools, care, and education provided to them everyday through the public school:  in other areas of the world, this does not happen.  I love that our society values special needs children, and helps families who face the challenge (and blessing) every day.  It takes a lot of work to be a caregiver.  I think this is a good part of our society... no matter what side of politics you stand on.  Valuing others is always good.  It's a privilege to be part of such a society.

WARNING...Rabbit trail: education is often considered a right, yet is it?  Have we lost the value, respect, and honor of education as this privilege is seen as a right our government/society owes us? 

3.  I also learn all about what's hip, what's hot, and what is not.  I come home singing the newest songs and Youtubing the hottest band, thinking of new styles, and jargon.  So, today's hit was... Jordan Pruitt's song "We Are Family" ... played in an elementary special needs classroom:

How Fun is that!  :-) Now, come on, you wanted to start dancing too!?

So these are just a few items I pick up...but there are a few things I leave behind, besides my favorite coffee cup!

Today, an autistic middle schooler felt comfortable enough with me to give me a hug, a few hugs, and enjoyed smelling my hair.  No words; just a warm, loving, accepting touch.  How can a heart not burst into tears with that? I just want to wrap up these kids and love them forever, love their families, and cheer them on and on.  So everyday pieces of my heart are left behind but somehow I don't see that as a deficit.

So, My encouragement: connect with a kid soon, You may be surprised what You pick up too!


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