Our students are just like that. When we teach them, and we have to choose our words carefully, as they make a specific and lasting impression. When you have a conference in reading or writing, be sure to use language that is strategic, meaning you use words that can apply to many situations. As many wise teachers have told us before, "Teach the reader, not the book. Teach the writer, not the writing." We want to teach students ideas that go beyond the exact book they're reading and the precise piece they are writing.
I'm sure that when whatever animal it was that left these prints dashed away quickly, because its feet were cold. Upon arriving at its home, it probably did a quick scurry to get some snow off its feet. Don't we all stamp our feet when we get back inside after a hearty round of shoveling, sledding, or a nice healthy snowball fight?
As teachers, we need to walk away covered with the snowflakes of what our kids taught us in each conference or interaction. As much as we like to think we taught our students something, each time we talk to them, we learn a little bit more about what it means to be a teacher. You should approach each conference listening as closely as you possibly can, so that your mind is just as stimulated by what students say, as you hope theirs will be from listening to you. There are some teachers I know, who I always tell that they are very good listeners, staring into the learning part of a child's soul when conferring. After watching them, I push myself to do the same, trying to walk away with what they teach me about good teaching and learning.
So as you finish digging yourself out of a wintry mess, ask yourself if you've had the kind of conferences that have left an imprint on kids, and if you've been left with a little bit of snow on your teaching from what kids have said to you.