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  • Jennifer Caesar

#LoveTeaching Week - Thankful Tuesday

2020-21 is a school year that we will remember for a long time, like a really, really long time. Depending on where you live, you may have started school late, or maybe not at all. Regardless of when you started, or how you started - it likely looked much different than any other year before. Searching for things to be thankful for is not as easy as years past, because frankly, it is easier to think about everything that needs to be done, and how we can do it for students at home, and in the school building. The list seems to go on and on, long after the 3pm bell rings. Online, virtual, and/or hybrid are all the words we use now to define the way we teach; this brings about stress, not thankful hearts.

Ironically, it was time to create lesson plans for the topic of “circle of control vs. circle of no control.” There were lots of options on how to present this to the students, but what better way than to make it applicable to their life today (and hopefully long into their future). We discussed t

hat Covid-19, quarantine and the constant flood of media exposure is most definitely in the circle of no control. The great thing is though, we have the power to control our thoughts, what we focus on and how we can choose to stay positive in spite of the fear, anxiety and unknowns that so largely surround us. With that - we got right to work! It was explained that without spending a lot of time, or a lot of money, we each have the ability to change a life. Yes - regardless if you are 8, 18 or 80 - you can choose to use your words for good! We spent the better part of 2 class periods making thank you letters to every single person on staff; wonderful cooks, amazing janitorial crew, administration, paraprofessionals, coaches and teachers. Listening in as the students are writing their messages, it was uplifting to hear things like “she is so nice” and “he makes me laugh everyday”. These notes were sweet, some were kind, and others were funny, but all of them were positive reflections of relationships that have been built.

After school I put the notes in the staff mailboxes and it was only a matter of minutes before the emails filled with gratitude began pouring into my inbox. The staff was overwhelmed at the kindness the students wrote. People would catch me in the halls to express how much the sentiments meant to them. Watching the students get excited about doing the project was great, but seeing their faces when I explained the responses I received was the best! They lit up with a sense of pride and accomplishment to know they made a difference. It helped them to grasp the concept of how much thankfulness impacts people, and in the process helps them as well. Small acts of kindness are always a win-win! The project was a clear reminder of the power words hold. The truth is, if it wasn’t Covid, it would be something else. We never know what tomorrow holds; life gets hard, things are complicated and not what we want, not what we need - but we overcome, we persevere, we overcome. We are leaders, we are advocates, we are a voice in the quiet, we are fighters, we are brave, we are a beacon of hope, WE ARE TEACHERS!

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