Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What is more important?

My Tuesday posts are typically for Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life.  Check out their website for lots of great reflections on teaching.


Since winter break, it seems as if she has lost the ability to put on her socks and shoes.

Others wake up from their naps and go right to it - throwing on their socks and shoes in an effort to get outside quickly.

But not this little one.

I watch her from across the room.

She doesn't move the socks and shoes toward her feet.
She doesn't move her feet towards her socks and shoes.
She ignores them, although they are right next to her cot.  In plain sight.
She flips around, wiggling, stretching, smiling,
happy on her cot.
Happy to just stay put.

I watch her from across the room.

I shake my head in quiet frustration,
thinking I know,
if she catches my eye, she will make a small groan, indicating
she needs help to put on her socks and shoes.
At which point, I will remind her that this is her job.

We talk a lot about trying to do things for oneself.
It feels like a well-worn record to me at this point in the year.

I watch her from across the room.
But today I cannot even catch her eye.

Seeing the time on the clock,
I know it is time for her to join her classmates outside.

I walk over to her, impatiently,
to nudge her towards this small but overwhelming task.

Before I speak,
she smiles at me and confides,
"I went to a concert one day and it was the same music, a girl had a cello, there were two cellos."

Mozart has been playing quietly in the background, throughout her nap.
She is recognizing Mozart.
Recalling Mozart from an earlier time.
She hears something very special.
How lovely is that?

I shake my head in quiet wonder,
so thankful that I have not been reprimanding to her
at this magical moment,
this very dear moment,
so thankful that she is here,
moved by music,
I am present.

that the distance between
frustration and wonder
is but a moment.

There I was
a moment ago
thinking I know
but I didn't.

I sit down beside her to help her with her socks and shoes,
while we listen together to Mozart.

"...how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these"
                                    - Mary Oliver, "Mindful"


  1. Between your words and Mary Oliver's I feel very blessed today Maureen. What a sweet moment to hear about & to learn from: "the distance between
    frustration and wonder/is but a moment." Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much...I many times jump to quickly to irritation. Being present is one of our biggest job. Today I had to stop also and try to discuss Mind Crafters (it is something video) which never ceases to annoy me. Later on today, I read that in specific Swedish schools they are mandating it in the curriculum daily because it accesses so many different thinking skills. I was blown away! I need to listen harder. XO

  3. What a wonderful way to use the poetic structure in telling your special story of what a teacher can learn from kids. A love this moment. I can see it!