UDL in Practice · Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

How lucky I am

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I’ve had some odd end-of-year school years, but I think this one takes the cake–due to the discrepancies in snow day cancelations between districts, I ended up spending the day before the last day of school at Worcester Polytechnic Institute at a day-long Institute with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the Science and Math Ambassador Program.  It was a surreal experience to be completely separate from the madness of keeping kids under wraps and supporting them in making acceptable choices while both teachers and students were at the end of their tolerance.  But, there I was, name tag and all.

ice-cream-cone-1274894_1920.jpgAs the year ended, even in the surrealism of my absence from school, my mind was much on my kids.  And on how lucky I am.  This post is both a thank you to my kids and a reminder to myself, as we head into the glory of ten weeks of summer, that the kids are the reason I show up at work every day.

How lucky I am to have found a job I love.  Let me clear–I was NEVER GOING TO BE A TEACHER.  EVER.  ON NO PLANET, EVER.  I grew up with teachers on both sides of my family, including my parents, and I knew what I was walking into.  And yet, here I am, up at 4:15 each morning for 180+ days, preparing to spend time with my kids….and, on occasion, to teach them something.  I know that the litmus test for when it’s time to retire will be the day when I realize I really don’t want to see any of my kids today.  That’s the day it will be time to bail because, once I don’t want to be with the kids, there’s no reason for me to come to work.  After over 20+ years in some sort of teaching job, I can already see that I am operating at a different level (lower level!) of energy than I used to.  When that drops enough that the kids can no longer buoy me up, I’m out.  (Let’s hope I make it through to the actual planned date financially!)

thank-you-140227_1920In the meantime, I’m taking this time to write to my kids on this blog, to say thank you for every time they made me think harder about what I was saying and how I was saying it, for every time they gave me honest feedback and made me better at my job, for every time I took a deep breath and tried again because I need to do my best for them, always, even when I am tired.

Every few years, I have the dubious pleasure of being serenaded by 7th grade boys who come to sing me a song they have written about our math class.  (It’s extra credit in the ELA poetry unit, just to be clear about why they are singing to me.)  Last time, it was to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  Those illustrated lyrics still go up on my bulletin board of special papers every year, although I did accidentally erase the video of them singing one year.  This year, in an example of how times have changed, there were no illustrations, but I did get a shared Google doc and two live renditions, to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Durling durling b block math

How I wonder how to pass

Up above the fairy lights

Like beef jerky in the sky

Durling durling b block math

How I wonder how to pass

Fish pee water in a glass

How i wonder how to pass

Moon cheese in the fridge of black

Migraines make it hard to sass

Durling durling B block math

carney, braydon highlight class

Durling Durling b block math,

How i wonder how to paaaaaaaaaaaasssssss

Thank you to Carney and Braydon for the lyrics and the the live presentations last month, and thank you to my students for the 2019-2020 school year.  Enjoy your summers!

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