Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Homecoming of Sorts

"It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got." -Sheryl Crow

"Luck is believing you're lucky." -Tennessee Williams

Several years ago I was complaining about a lane assignment for a 200 meter race I was about to run. I enjoy running on the inside lanes, because I like running the curve, but I must have had a number 6 or 7 hip number. My coach heard me and said, "Amy, the lane you're in is the best lane to be in." It never mattered what lane you were assigned, because excelling at a sport is not about what might have been, but about doing your best in every attempt, whether it be lane 2 or lane 8, in rain, wind or sun.

I took her encouragement to heart. I never again complained about my lane assignments, and even half-jokingly repeated my coach's advice back to her whenever I heard her talking to other athletes about lane assignments. And I think this advice applies to more than simply the world of track. It's good advice for life; playing the hand you are dealt and making the most of it.

It seems fitting that two of this week's vocabulary words for my second graders are "memories" and "familiar." I spent last week in Minnesota, and was pleasantly surprised at just how familiar and comfortable everything seemed, from walking to the grocery store, grabbing a drink with a friend, or playing board games in my former roommate's apartment. I also visited the wonderful school I worked in last year. Nearing the end of my winter break, and not looking forward to the intense quarter looming on the horizon, my visit restored enthusiasm to see my current class again, and was a good reminder of why I am taking on the challenge of grad school.

This past week I thought a lot about where I would eventually like to teach, and at what grade. And frankly, I don't have an answer. I'm not going to lie, I would teach at my lovely St. Paul school in a heartbeat. I feel like it's a very special place, and I got to a point where I truly felt a part of the community, and that feeling intensified when I returned last week. But who's to say I wouldn't have felt that way about another school, had I been placed there 2 years ago? I love my students now, I love my Minnesota students, I love the new students in MN with whom I spent two days, and I love those random 4th graders who let me be a part of their classroom family in Vacaville for one day two weeks ago.

But I wasn't placed in any other school. The path I took led me to St. Paul, and I made the most of my two short years there. I can't ask for anything more, and the hugs I got last week were more than enough to make it worthwhile, to know that while I was impacted deeply by my students and school, the feeling was mutual. I guess it's like my track coach's advice: whichever classroom/grade I'm in, that is the absolute best place to be.

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