I wanted to be able to cut down on caffeine on these 40 days, so I decided on moving away from coffee. This is harder than it sounds, especially for a teacher. Especially for an extended-school day charter teacher. But even though I was really struggling today to even remember my kids’ names in what is usually a fast-paced lesson at school, I noticed something important.
I teach writing. Every day, I write out a prompt for my kids, such as, “My favorite exercise is ___ because ____” or, “My favorite season is _____ because ______” so they can just copy and fill in the blanks. Today, I just read it out loud to them without giving them anything to copy (I like school because _____). A slight change, a slight challenge. I thought they’d love it – I was not prepared for the reaction.
Tears. Tears in every small group. Tears on almost every little face. And why?
“I can’t do it. It’s too hard.”
These are kids who, when they get going, write pages of words they’ve never spelled before. These kids have sounded out the words “hypothesis” and “time machine” and “massage” with absolutely no help. But taking one habit from them made their whole tiny literary world crumble.
It’s a good lesson for big people to learn, too. We’re capable of so much more than we think if we’re only willing to be fearless and let go of old habits that are not necessary.
I spent the morning convincing kids, one at a time, that today our brains would grow bigger than ever before – that when you do something different, you prove that you can do anything you want. Eventually the tears dried and they were able to get to work.
I don’t blame you, kiddos. Time for me to get going, too.