First of all, don't get your knickers in a twist because of my title. I'm sorry, but I simply cannot write "Who do you love?" even though Bo Diddley made that title famous with his song of the same name. "Who versus whom" is not actually the subject of my blog today, although many know I could go on and on (Dave just said, "...and on and on and on..." about the correct way to say things. In fact, I have stood in front of a crowd of participants trying to figure out how to not end my next sentence with a preposition --- to the point that the sentence became so convoluted, I would have been better off with the preposition ending. Alas, it is a fatal flaw passed down to me by my dear, departed mother, who was a stickler for good spelling and fine grammar. She graduated from high school and then promptly married my dad, but I always thought she would have made a spectacular grade school teacher. Instead, she proofread and wrote newsletters for the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. Funny but true story---she always said she would rather hear us say the word "ass" rather than "butt" because she felt there should only be one "but" in the English language.
There you have it: I have paid homage to Mothers' Day in a blog not meant to be about Mothers' Day. I hope each one of you is having a marvelous day today, whether you are spending it with your mom or thinking about a mom who has passed, as both Dave's and mine have.
I just got back from teaching in the Yukon Territory yesterday. I spent Thursday and Friday with teachers and school leaders from all over the Yukon Territory (which covers 186,272 square miles, by the way). With that much real estate, you would think there would be a fair number of schools, eh? (look at me trying to throw in a little Canadian lingo for you) And yet, there are only 28 schools (14 in Whitehorse and 14 in rural areas of the territory). They all came together (or most all, anyway) to learn more about how to help their teachers grow stronger in their craft. This is not my first Klondike rodeo, by the way. I have been up there three other times, so we have built relationships (which is hugely important to the approximately 14 First Nations communities there, and to me, too!).
After learning with them all day on Thursday, they were exhausted. But Friday morning came, and all of them were back, ready to learn some more. The answers to some of the questions I asked about making connections from planning to teaching and about building relationships with students were brilliant. At one point, I simply stopped everything I was doing and just smiled a smile that I know went from ear to ear (which is not a good look for me, as it increases the number of wrinkles on my face---but that is a subject for another blog, I'm certain). I got a little choked up when I said, "I hope and pray you believe me when I tell you I am being totally genuine when I say, 'I honestly love you guys'." This statement was met with finger snaps, answers in French (they have a huge French immersion community in the Yukon Territory), and a few "I love you" signs in sign language.
I told them they couldn't tell Dave (my dear husband of 25 years) that I had said that to them, as he says, "You love everyone. You can't love everyone, but somehow you love everyone." Now that, my friends, is simply not the truth. I met someone in the airport yesterday I can honestly say I do not love (another topic for another blog, but suffice it to say it would be nice if he had a bit of professional learning on the importance of hygiene and manners, in no particular order).
I was talking with a colleague the other day and said that I believe the single most important thing we can do for our teachers, school leaders, students, parents, school board members (oh and anyone else outside the school---in the community and business world, perhaps) is to be in relationship with them.
What does that mean? Surely, it means something different to each school, district, state or territory. But for me, in that moment in Whitehorse, Yukon, it meant telling them how much their commitment to the work mattered to me and how fulfilling it was to work with them. They say they enjoy the work because, while we are learning with as much brain-sweat as you can imagine, we are laughing and enjoying each others' company all the while. For your added enjoyment, I am attaching a picture I took of the beauty of that area after our learning ended on Friday (the sun stays up a LONG time there, if you didn't already know).
I am so grateful for the opportunity to share good news with each of you who takes the time to read and/or comment on my blog.
For that, I say "I love you".