Saturday morning I awoke to a strange sound. When I investigated, I discovered a rabbit playing with the chain attaching the barbecue to the patio. I took a few minutes to watch this rabbit; I watched it dig and scratch, twitch and jump; I watched this rabbit play.

Have you ever watched kids play? Pure, concentrated fun. Sometimes they become so engaged in their play, they forget about their need for food or bathrooms. Their primal need for play takes precedent. On Friday our floor hockey teams played against the staff. Exuberant, competitive spirits – kids AND adults – revealed themselves as the spectating students roared their approval.

As summer approaches, we too, must find some time for our favoured source of play. Whether it be putzing around a campsite, playing music in a garage band, exploring the sites of an ancient city or throwing the baseball around with your kids: find time to play.

Perhaps Plato said it best, “Life must be lived as play.”

A look back…

When I look back at this year, I remember feelings of apprehension and excitement beginning at a new school. I remember the heartbreak of moving into the office of a colleague taken from this world much too soon. I remember meeting a new little student and knowing in my heart that something was dreadfully wrong. I remember trying to learn at least five new names a day. I remember relishing in the enthusiasm of our staff.

And though I did some things right this year, I also have a list of things I will certainly do differently next year. That whole hindsight thing, you know? Reflection is a powerful tool for adults and students alike. Consider asking yourself and your students these questions…

What are you proud of? What will you do differently next year? What new challenge would you like to tackle? What was the best part of the year?

I appreciate that we begin each year anew. I appreciate the chance to start over and try again. I appreciate the opportunity to rest, rejuvenate, and imagine new possibilities. Not all professions have the luxury of a fresh start each year.

One more reason I love my job.

Precious Moments, Small Pleasures

Each day holds precious moments. Sometimes these pleasures are so small they are easy to miss.

On Monday as I was leaving school, I heard – before I saw – the icecream truck rounding the corner. Three neighbourhood kids also heard it coming: they were quite literally jumping up and down on the curb side awaiting its arrival. On Tuesday, a grade three student held a freshly printed page to his cheek and said with unexpected tenderness, “Ah… so warm.” On Wednesday, a particularly spirited student sitting in my office noticed a book on my shelf, Tools for Teaching, and said, “Can I read that? So that’s where you got all your tools. I want to read that.” On Thursday, I savoured the professional dialogue, the enthusiasm and the energy of colleagues. On Friday, in the midst of June paperwork, a grade four student who has had a challenging year, came to recite a poem to me. I told him it was the best part of my day. It was.

These moments, though small, are truly what make our job, our career, our vocation, so wonderful. These moments help us to see beyond the paperwork and deadlines. These moments help us remember why we chose this noble profession. These moments make our days both meaningful and joyful.

Stop. Take note. Don’t let a precious moment go unnoticed amid the hecticness of this June day.

The top ten truths about June

10. It feels like we just started this year… wow, time flies.

9. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day!

8. This year, we made a positive difference in the lives of our students.

7. And yes, there are things I will do differently next year.

6. It is a stressful time for those whose jobs are uncertain.

5. Each year is what we make of it.

4. Everyone is tired: students and staff alike.

3. The countdown is on, whether you admit it or not.

2. Somehow everything that needs to get done, will get done! It’s true.

And finally…
1. We are approaching a well-deserved break. Hang in there…