Monday, November 2, 2015

Pondering Moments to Connect

I sat on the edge of the sandbox on a glorious Michigan fall morning last week. The temps meant we needed light jackets, but the sun was streaming down and the trees were on fire with their red and gold. We were full of vim and vigor as everyone anticipated the upcoming big candy Halloween night, so this outside movement break was even more necessary than usual if we were to get any inside work done. I sniffed the fall air and was glad at that particular moment to have this job.

As I sat, my kiddos stopped one after another to touch base with me. One showed me his new coat with special sleeve holders– an ingenious new invention for keeping sleeves in place when taking on and off coats. Another one needed to touch parts of my coat to compare with parts of hers, both of us enjoying the different textures and words we could come up with to describe them. Yet another told me a story about his brother Sam, which included his brother Ram and Blam... I'm not saying it was a true story. A couple more ran by talking about their costumes and wanted to know what mine was going to be on the big night... yes, I have one.

Even as I encouraged each little person to go on with their run and play time while they had it, it occurred to me that these brief three-minute check-ins were just as important as everything else in the day. Most teachers will tell you, and the research will back up the fact, that our teaching is based on relationships. The more we connect with our kids and the more they connect with us, the more they will learn their reading, writing, and arithmetic.

And yet our days are so hectic. The best of us have every minute planned, every activity and objective at our fingertips. We pace with the curriculum and keep records on our students at all times, especially the struggling kids.  In addition to reading groups, we carve out minutes for writers workshop, guided math, social studies, science, health, and don't forget special fun activities. We make sure informational books as well as the best storybooks are read everyday. We return emails on a timely basis and never miss a weekly parent newsletter. We turn in lunch money, complete forms, and run to committee meetings. We. do. it. all.

But sometimes I think the most important thing I do can also be the hardest to fit in– knowing my kids. MY KIDS.

I was thankful for the fleetingly glorious fall day before the leaves lost their colors and winter gray set in. I was equally thankful for the time I had to talk to each of my kids. And I was especially thankful for the reminder that those few stolen moments of conversation and connection are what I must make happen EVERYday, as they are the crux of the matter.

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. AMEN, Kathleen, AMEN!!! I love this post!

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! I'm not surprised knowing you :) Nice to know someone read it. K


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