Support is something everyone needs whether the reason is positive or negative. Certain situations require a lot of emotional, physical and mental stress. And that’s when you need your friends and family even more. Support can come in the form of someone calling just to say ‘I’m here for you’ or ‘Is there anything I can do?’
In my experience I have come to find out that I have an incredible amount of support from my family and my church family. But right now a situation that I’m going through doesn’t involve just me. It involves the teachers at my school, in my county, in my state. West Virginia teachers have been feeling the strain of rising insurance premiums but no raise in pay. It hit its breaking point in February. After a rally in Charleston our union told us to walk out on Thursday 2/22 and Friday 2/23. That way all of the Board of Educations had time to prepare for this and so would the parents. It’s March 2nd…and we’re still out. Everyday we either have a group in Charleston at the Capitol or we are standing out in the rain, wind, and on those rare days sunshine, picketing. We’ve had a large amount of support since we walked out. Parents have stopped by dropping off food, hand warmers, or coffee. Retired teachers have come to stand with us like they did in 1990. Drivers have honked their horns, waved, and one even held up a sign that said YOU ROCK!
But that was a week ago. Everyday we grow a little more tired and a little more worried of when the public support is going to fade. Yesterday in the middle of a downpour a small ray of sunshine came glistening through in the form of an elderly gentleman. He pulled up in his van, opened the trunk and brought out homemade brownies, coffee, and napkins. We thanked him many times and he smiled, replied that it was nothing, and left. We started passing the coffees out, grabbing a brownie or two, and reached for a napkin. And that’s when a 1st grade teacher noticed that there was something written on it. It said you are special. We smiled and we told her to set it aside because that little note was sweet. The next napkin had writing on it too and the next one and the next one.
This brought on the tears. The morale was boosted immensely and several of us wished we had thanked that man more. We added his name to the notebook to the list of people we will be sending a handwritten thank you note. With our backs a little straighter, our heads held a little higher, and our hearts overflowing with gratitude we grabbed our umbrellas and walked back out into the rain to continue our shift.
It’s March 31st and that means that this 31 Slice of Life Challenge has come to a close. I can’t believe how quickly it flew by. As a first time slicer I went into this challenge telling myself that I would try to have quality content in every single on of my posts. Did I succeed in doing that? No. A few of them were short and not my greatest and that’s only because I was exhausted that day and I knew if I had kept writing it would’ve been a rambling mess.
First I’d like to thank Twowritingteachers.org for setting up this writing challenge. I feel that I grew not only as a writer through this challenge but as an educator too. By being reflective at the end of each day it helped me learn how to be a little more patient or a little more encouraging. I’ve met so many new incredible educators over the past month and allow me to say that your students are lucky to have each of you as their teacher.
Over the course of the past thirty-one days I’ve learned the following things:
- Writing is easy when you don’t box yourself in and think you need to write about a certain topic.
- I shouldn’t be afraid to put myself out there a little more. I really dove into some personal events and thoughts a few times. Each time the responses blew me away in just how supportive you were.
- Sometimes the smallest things can provide you with inspiration.
- I’ve fallen in love with blogging daily. I think I’m going to try to blog three times a week and write about more than just my daily workouts.
And one thing I’m very sure of is that I’m already looking forward to next year’s Slice of Life Challenge. To those of you that took the time to comment on my posts thank you. Those comments allowed me to grow as a writer. And it also allowed me to feel how my students feel when they present their writings to me. They often stand next to me nervous but they light up when I leave them positive feedback. That’s exactly how I felt each time one of you commented. Sometimes I think as educators we kind of forget what it’s like to receive critique from the student POV. I hope all of you stick around and read my slices occasionally. The challenge may be over but I still have a lot to write about it. And I definitely plan to take part in the Tuesday Slices.
Over the course of the past twenty six days I’ve come to know several new teachers. Each day I check in on their blogs and am given a snapshot of their life. Sometimes their life is full of joy in the form of an announcement of a new grandchild, sadness in the form of their beloved fur family member passing away, to being stressed from work. No matter what’s going on in their life I can relate to them in some way. Sometimes their slice can trigger an emotion in me that I’ve tried to bury away for so long but it inspires me to write something that is soul baring. Other times their slice can inspire me to write a very lighthearted post about childhood. This slice is a slice about gratitude. To those of you who have read my slice of life posts every day thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read about the going-on’s in my life. To those of you that I’ve checked in on everyday allow me to say thank you.
Thank you for inspiring me to put myself out there. To write about why I love teaching was quite an easy post. The post Slammed however was the most difficult to write. In writing that I was forced to re-open feelings that I thought I had done so well to hide away. But in the days following I found that I kind of needed to write that piece. Everything has finally been closed now. I feel like that I’ve been able to find out a little bit more about myself through this Slice of Life Challenge. I’m a very guarded person and so for me to put down those walls and let each of you into my life (even for a second) was a little difficult. Your comments and kindness had an impact. You may be thinking, ‘It’s not that big of a deal,’ but remember we’re all kind of like our students. Sometimes the smallest positive comment can have the largest impact. Again, I thank you.