You're driving in the car, and a song comes on the radio that is so well sung that you start singing it yourself. You get all the confidence you need to belt it out like you yourself were on stage. I won't embarrass myself here by telling you the songs that make me do this, but we all do it sometimes, don't we? It's a release. It's a rush that feels good even after the song ends. Why does this happen?
My hunch is that there are certain songs that are just well written, and performed with such talent, such attention to the sounds, and with such heart that you can't help but be drawn in to them to the point where you feel like you want to sing them, too.
So why am I telling you this?
Well, there's barely 36 hours left of 2014. We've lived a great deal these past 12 months. We've done many important things. I'm glad I've begun to blog with all of you. It's opened up my eyes to teaching in a new way. Listening to your comments online and in person has made me talk to kids differently. It's made me watch lessons in classrooms differently also. Now, more than ever, I'm inspired by teachers I see every day!
Recently, I've watched special education teachers handle difficult situations behaviorally and academically with such finesse that it makes me want to try it out myself. I've heard master teachers have difficult conferences with parents, explaining the difficulties their children are having, reassuring moms and dads that we will be with them all the way in helping their kids through these problems. I've visited schools led by amazing principals in which the hallways cry celebration to the point where I want to go back and revise parts of my own leadership. I've sat in an after-school think tank with some amazing teachers, teaching me about how to bring choice and voice to teaching and learning, and most recently how to create learning communities where risk-taking feels good, and that's made me want to work harder at these myself.
Yes, when we see others create amazing worlds of music, writing, and learning, we are inspired to create also!
When I taught 3rd Grade, I had a student who couldn't participate in music class, because of religious reasons. This meant that we could no longer sing "Happy Birthday to you." We created a new set of birthday traditions, one of which was a literary gift. The literary gift was a way in which someone in the class would honor the birthday person by reading something special.
Today, I leave you with a literary gift also. It's the video of the speech in which Kate DiCamillo accepts the Newbery Award for Flora and Ulysses this past January. I hope you enjoy it, and that you continue to find inspiration for the important work you do every day!