I don’t even remember when I first heard that saying “It takes a village…,” but goodness knows I live it and breathe it in so many ways at this point in my life. Whether that means my personal life at home with kids or my professional life at school with my other kids (which is what this post is about), I could definitely not do it all alone.
So when I read someone else’s post a few months ago, it got me asking and answering that question “Who’s in YOUR village?” for myself. And this is my answer. At least for this season of life. 🙂
And so a few words for the few that help make my school life bearable and even fun!
1.) My hubby
Ok, so there’s about a thousand things I could say about why I love this guy and how he helps make my life possible, but two of the biggest reasons are that he gets me and he gets my job. We’ve been together (between dating and being married) for 23 years and it’s been super amazing how we’ve both grown over the years into new and different people, but have grown in the same direction. I love that he gets my weird moods and what that “thinking face” I make means, and how he knows just when I need him to bring me a Diet Dr. Pepper (and he does this without being asked–love it!). Also, he’s a teacher, so while there’s WAY too much shop talk at our house, he can TOTALLY relate to lesson plans, report cards, parent conferences (from both sides now!), how the school week really starts (and the weekend really ends! :() on Sunday about 5 when we have to start getting ready for school again, and that some times I just need to either 1) talk to NO ONE for a while when I get home or 2) talk to an ADULT and have a conversation with someone other than an 8YO. Anyhow, he’s kind of a catch and I’m really lucky that he’s on my team. 🙂 Love you, Grant!
2.) My friends
It’s always to hard when you start to write a list, because two things usually happen: you leave someone/something off because you mean to, or you leave someone/something off inadvertently. I’m not really sure which is worse, because especially when you’re listing friends (which, ok, doesn’t usually happen after high school) it seems harsh. And now I’m going to write a list. And hope that it doesn’t make anybody upset. Oh, and it’s in no specific order. 🙂
Shannon–What can I say except God put her in my life at just the right time and the friendship that has blossomed in the last two years has been nothing short of amazing. Besides being an amazing teacher, she’s kind, loving, understanding, funny and challenges me in a respectful way. Shannon cares about me as a person as much as an educator and takes such interest in my life, regardless of the topic. What’s important to me is important to her, too. She understands that I might do things in a different way than everyone else (and she would sometimes, too!), that I have to think (often for a llloooonnnggg time) before I can answer with my opinion or ideas, and she accepts and love me for those things. She has the most intense belief in her students as learners and works to make them better people when they leave her classroom (and I know this firsthand–she was my son’s teacher and he blossomed in her care!). She inspires me to be a better teacher just by doing what she naturally does. It makes TOTAL sense that her last name is Appelbaum, because she truly does plant seeds and grow children.
Rachael–Yeah, I know that’s a picture of a dog. It’s Rosie, actually, but it’s the only picture Rae would let me post of her. Aside from that silliness, Rachael is a pretty fabulous person. 🙂 She also came into my life at a perfect time; after being an acquaintance for a very long time, our paths finally crossed on a teaching team. We quickly found out we have much in common (and much that we don’t because she’s so much nicer, calmer, and more considerate than me, LOL), and that we get along really well. One of my favorite things about her is how she loves on my kids; Allie and Riley love her bunches and love to spend time with her as much as I do. She asks thoughtful questions, encourages at just the right time in the right way, and has probably the biggest heart of anyone I know. She has a way of seeing such good and potential in people (little people, too!) and inspires me to be a better version of me. It’s true when she says she’s for students.
3.) My team
I still laugh about the story behind this picture. It literally happened because as we were starting the day one morning someone said, “Hey, this is the first time we’ve all been in the same place together in a long time!” (Guess it had been a busy week!). I said, “Well then grab a camera!” and of course, a selfie followed. No, it’s not the best picture of any of us, but it speaks to a moment in time and for sure shows the joy that’s on our faces each day when we’re at school. No, every day is not perfect, but for sure we work through those rocky parts together. This is my first year on this team, and it was well established before I came into it. In many ways this scared me, as I am probably not what you’d call an “established” person; I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, make plans and change them, respond to the moment and see what happens–well at least at school I do. LOL Instead of being scary, though, the organization, structure and flow of the way our team works has added so much to the way I teach and learn. We each bring something different to the table (including unit plans for each subject that each one of us is responsible for creating and then sharing with everyone else), and there is always laughter when we’re together. We’re different in many ways and that works so well. I love Team Tuesday lunches, even though it took me until January to remember to have lunch there that day so I could join in; I love that someone else sends copies for me to the copy center because I don’t usually think that far ahead; I love that these ladies think so fondly of everyone at our school and send holiday cards to ALL of the support staff (I never knew 2nd grade did this!); I love that they understand and respect how I might not always be the first to follow the crowd. I will get there eventually–usually–but might also put my own twist or spin on something and that is ok. We care about each other, talk about many things other than school, and have each others’ backs. That’s good for the soul. 🙂
4.) My kiddos (and their families!)
These are the friends I’m here for, after all, right? These kiddos are perhaps some of the best little people I’ve met in a long time! This is my first (well, and second since we’ve been together for 2 years) class of primary students for almost 10 years and they’ve been a breath of fresh air. I had forgotten how eager young minds can be to learn new things, how they come into pretty much everything with zest and anticipation and I love how these learners are willing to try each new and kooky thing I suggest we do. Even better than that, they have some super ideas of their own that I think they know and trust that I will in turn be willing to let them try. We are truly a big, happy family (who sometimes bicker like siblings LOL), and we’re in this together. And I can’t mention these amazing students without of course mentioning their families. The support and love I get from them is unmatchable, and the way they help and support their kiddos is inspiring. I am lucky.
As much as I have these few close people on my team to hold me up, I can truly do what I do because of WHERE I do it. My school (because of our principal and the rest of the staff) is truly a magical place to work and play everyday. It’s been my home for the last 16 years, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. While the teachers have changed over the time I’ve been teaching there, the culture and “feel” of our school remains the same because our mission remains constant: we’re here for our kids and we are willing to do whatever it takes to help each and every one learn. We care about kids–all of them and the whole child–and it shows. There is always mention of how welcoming and warm our building is, and it’s definitely not because of the 1930s era heating system (I kid). You can feel the warmth and love that resonates from all the people who work and learn inside the walls of 803 S. Couch.
So…who’s in YOUR village?