How often do we stop to appreciate the people we encounter each day? Today I worked with five different middle school English teachers, observing each at work in his or her classroom to prepare for an upcoming coaching day. They hadn’t invited me, but we were asked to work together, and they were kind and welcoming. I felt a twinge of nostalgia for a classroom of my own- more than that- for students of my own. The life of a coach can be lonely. Still, I admired each of these teachers for their individual approach to a common workshop structure. They all showed kids how much they cared about them, shared enthusiasm for literacy, and engaged students in meaningful reading and writing. As we reflected and planned later, our conversations focused on students and growth; there wasn’t a single negative sentiment shared. I left school feeling grateful and smiling.
Next stop… the chiropractor. I hurt my back recently, and bonded with Jenni at the welcome desk on my first emergency visit. She could see my hurt that day, and she rushed me in, sharing sympathy. It was a long visit that day, and as I left with my college-aged daughter and exchange student daughter, she wished them a successful shopping trip, “I want to see pictures of that dress!” I questioned them with my eyes, and the girls reported that she chatted with them the entire time, asking questions, wondering if they were really sisters.They loved the attention. Days later, she asked about dress shopping, wondering if I had pictures.Today as I walked in, there was Jenni, “Hey Robyn! How’s your back?” As I left, she told me how she’s taking a less fortunate friend’s teenage kids to an indoor waterpark hotel for the weekend. “What a good friend they have in you,” I told her, and I meant it sincerely. I left smiling.
Before heading home, I went to my kids’ high school for parent-teacher conferences. Between my two boys and my exchange student daughter, I had a lot of teachers to visit. Not one shared anything negative. Even though my youngest is a goofball… smart, but not always focused on school, his teachers smiled when talking about him. He makes them laugh. I shared frustration with one particularly wise and patient teacher, and she convincingly diverted my attention from the negative behavior to the inner workings of 15-year-old brains. Thank you, I told her, for the reminder and for your unique approach to working with kids this age. I left conferences smiling!
Today reminded me to pay better attention to the people in my life, to make connections, and to be a source of positivity for others. I don’t really know any of the people I encountered today, yet I appreciate the work that they do and their dedication to students and patients. I appreciate how they reminded me to see the beauty in humanity.