Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today and Tomorrow

At the beginning of this week, I visited a middle school on the day that had been dedicated to independent reading. At a random moment during each of the nine periods, an announcement was made over the loud speaker “to drop everything and read.” And the students read—for five minutes. At the end of five minutes, another announcement was made to resume normal activity. As I sat thinking about what I could blog about after my two week hiatus, it occurred to me that I could expound the many thoughts I had about this “Drop Everything and Read” initiative, but I thought, keep it positive, Kim. Come back on a positive note.

During one of those five minute intervals of drop everything and read, I flipped through Jean Little’s Hey World, Here I Am. I love this book because it is filled with short but meaty stories. I have read “About Loving,” “About Old People,” “About Notebooks,” and “Five Dollars” at least one hundred times each (I swear, I am not exaggerating). Every time I read these pieces, I find myself thinking new things, recognizing new teaching possibilities. On this particular day, though, I revisited a little gem called “Today.” It goes like this:

Today I will not live up to my potential.
Today I will not relate well to my peer group.
Today I will not contribute in class.
I will not volunteer one thing.
Today I will not strive to do better.
Today I will not achieve or adjust or grow enriched or get involved.
I will not put up my hand even if the teacher is wrong and I can prove it.

Today I might eat the eraser off my pencil.
I’ll look at clouds.
I’ll be late.
I don’t think I’ll wash.

I need a rest.

Now, I know that someone just returning from vacation does not rightfully deserve a rest, but I’ve been feeling very guilty about not having crossed off everything on my to-do list, one of which includes writing this blog. So I hope you will all forgive me when I blame Jean Little for giving me permission not to live up to my potential. I promise you this though, this is only for “today.” Tomorrow, I hope to feel differently.

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