Saturday I greatly enjoyed my day at #Ntcamp Burlington. It’s fantastic to connect with some of the people that inspire me the most. Thank you so much to Patrick and Andrew and the rest of the #ntcamp crew for everything you taught me this weekend.
Those relationships matter.
I was pleased also to meet some fabulous new teachers, fresh in their professional journeys. They asked all of the right questions. They honestly reflected on their new roles, wanting to learn more. They listened eagerly to one another and their passion for teaching shone through with their words.
Forming new connections matters.
Saturday evening I received a phone call from my Dad, which was the first sign that something was wrong, because he doesn’t often call my cell on a Saturday night. As I stood in the post-#ntcamp venue, he told me in a very composed voice that “we just lost Grandma.” His mother. Grandma hadn’t been doing well, but at the moment when I received that news, I was a few hundred miles from home, and I didn’t like it.
Knowing there was nothing I could do about that, and that I was flying home the next day, I returned to the group of #ntcampers and told some of them the news. There was an instant outpouring of care and concern for me and my family, from people who didn’t know my family. Yes, I was away from home when I received this upsetting news, but in a way, I was in my “other” home, surrounded by people who are a genuine part of my life. Relationships formed through social media around a shared passion for teaching, learning, and kids.
Caring about people matters. Passion matters.
My dad is the oldest of five and is now charged with taking care of everyone. I am also the oldest of five. I now need to take care of everyone. As we spent some time with my grandfather yesterday, I noticed my Dad and I assumed the same sort of robot-like, “we’re in charge here” stance. We deflected emotional waves with humor and common sense prevailed, not emotion. We felt a need to stay composed in front of the people that depended on us.
But, as I am sure we will find in the coming days, emotion matters.
I love this picture of my grandparents. My Grandma’s gaze? The love in her eyes? That’s what matters. My Grandma has taught me so much in my life. She quilted beautifully. She made every grandchild (all 14 of us) a quilt when they were born, moved to a “big kid bed,” and got married… she taught us how to bake and cook…. when we were kids we’d have sleepovers at Grandma’s and she’d treat us to blueberry pancakes in the morning…. she taught us the importance of family and loving one another….she bragged incessantly about our accomplishments… “this is my granddaughter, she is a principal now!”… she was a wonderful teacher because she recognized the value in relationships.
Sometimes we allow mandates, rules, policies, naysayers, standards, testing, data, accountability, etc. to overshadow what really matters. People matter. Kids matter. Forming relationships for learning matters.
I encourage everyone to take a step outside of the web of what doesn’t matter today. It’s easy to get entangled in that web. It’s messy and it can suck you in pretty easily. Look around you, appreciate what you have, and do something extraordinary to make someone’s life more meaningful today.