So last night I drove home from a National Board Pre-Candidacy class filled with teachers eager to learn about the process and how it impacts their teaching. I left with a great feeling, I was happy and inspired; I was content. Interestingly I began to notice things around me. I listened closely to the songs that played on my iPod. I noticed the billboard advertisements and cars zooming by. I noticed things I had never stopped to notice before.
Now it is Wednesday morning and I am still content, still noticing. On my way to work I noticed two small groups of birds taking a rest on the telephone lines. I noticed there were more trucks than cars going west bound on the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. I noticed how the tumbleweeds turned a golden brown when the sun hit them just right. I noticed patches of rich green grass in the washes. I noticed things that I have never stopped to notice before. For the past few years I have been so focused on getting to work, that I missed everything in between.
Today walking into school I decided that despite the state of education in Arizona and even though over $500 million may be cut from the K-12 education budget next year, I was going to stop and notice. I was going to make a difference today. Walking into school I was stopped by a first grade teacher, who went through her math standards and created a checklist of specific skills she wanted to be sure to teach each week. Wow, I was so glad I walked in at that time. I walked through the office talking with her. When I got to my room, our PE teacher shared with me her reflection of a lesson we videotaped the day before, she was very excited saying that the kids made her look good. As I sit here and reflect, I realize I need to notice more often.
I have come to realize that when people ask how thinks are going, I respond, “Blurry.” So I have decided that my job, the teachers at my school and the kids are way to important not notice. I have taken things for granted. With budget cuts looming and teacher lay offs inevitable, it is very important for me to stop and notice. I don’t know to what extend the budget cuts will affect my job, the teachers in my school, or in my district, but I do know that I can impact students and teachers everyday by just stopping to notice. Will you join me and slow down just enough to notice? I invite you to notice the people at your school, the students in your classroom and how they make you feel. How you make them feel.