BAM! The points I had been trying to make converged and nailed me to the wall. Was I a quality person? Great question, I thought.
“Great question,” I said.
Naturally reluctant to blatantly brag (covert bragging is a different story!), my initial reaction was to dismiss and/or diminish myself. Quickly (and I hope accurately) I realized that, if I wanted them to own their ability to decide to be high quality people, I had better own mine.
“I am not perfect,” I continued, “but yes, I do my best to be a high quality person.”
QUALITY is a theme in my classroom. Our discussion about QUALITY the first week of school lays a foundation upon which I build the entire year. I use the word in reference to assignments, behavior, and life in general.
What is quality? We define high quality as a person, place, or thing that meets or exceeds expectations.
What are the characteristics of a high quality person? I love this discussion. Often the words “rich”, “smart”, and “fancy” appear on their lists, alongside words like “nice” and “kind”. In first period one of the students disputed the word “nice”, arguing that he knew some rich people who were not nice. Good point.
The ensuing discussion, in all classes, led to the truth that education, wealth, ethnicity, cultural background, gender, family background, and religion do NOT determine a person’s quality. The decision to be a high quality person is a personal one; being quality is up to me! It is truly a wonderful and amazing journey to make with my students and I love it. LOVE IT!
Darling James! Oh my lands. A quiet, diminutive boy, one who had never previously volunteered to say anything in class, he raised his hand near the beginning of fourth period’s discussion on quality. In a soft voice, his mouth nearly covered by hands encased in the sleeves of the sweater that he had pulled over his knuckles and held tightly in his clenched fists, he said, “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from. Anyone can be a quality person.”
Oh bless you James! Where you found the courage to speak out when all of your body language indicators broadcast reticence I may never know but bless you, bless you, bless you for finding the courage to participate.
Have I mentioned that I love my job?
My first week back to work was tough. TOUGH! I had to be at school every day for training meetings. I still had to teach my online Electronic High School class. Relief Society responsibilities exploded. And, hardest of all, my children were at home without me. My only desire was to be with them consequently I had a difficult time maintaining a good attitude about the fact that I have to work. In fact, I was only marginally successful. It was tough. TOUGH.
This week the students returned and so did my good attitude. I had a blast (to use an 8th grade word) the first day of school watching students discover that it is the length of the pendulum’s string, rather than its weight, that determines how fast it swings. A former student dropped by, dressed in suit and tie, to tell me that he landed an internship with a credit union. A current student sought me out after school to tell me that she would volunteer to help with whatever needs I have. I teach with amazing people who are sincerely dedicated to student success. I am truly blessed to be paid to interact and associate with such wonderful—such high quality—people. I love my job!
I also love my not-job. Our school is on an A/B schedule. I am an A day teacher which means that I do not go to school on B days. I love, LOVE the feeling I get on A days at 4:00 p.m., knowing that the work day is drawing to a close and that I get to stay home the next day. It is almost like getting a vacation day every other day and it is very heady. I love, LOVE being at home.
Working in the garden with our children is one of my favorite activities, though it is not necessarily theirs. Tanah and I have had some marvelous chats through blackberry vines. She really is one of my best friends.
Going to the Roy Aquatic Center ranks high on Miles’ list, though not necessarily on mine. Thursday I shoved my reluctance to put on a bathing suit into a bathing suit and joined him in the water…..and had a marvelous time. For most of our time there, I stalked him around the pool, tackled him, and wrestled him and he escaped so that I could do it all again. What’s not to love about being with an 11 year old boy who is ecstatic to be spending time with his mother? “Are you having fun Mom?” he asked sincerely. “Yes,” I answered honestly.
Grace participated in the Highland Invitational as a member of Roy High’s cross country team. It was conveniently scheduled on a B day so I was able to attend. About 1500 people converged on Sugarhouse Park for the event. My chances of finding a parking spot and of meeting up with Grace were equally miniscule. I managed to parallel park in between two busses. First blessing. When I ascended up the bank after wading across the creek that bisects the park (I love my Chaco hiking sandals!), I heard Grace’s voice say “Hey Mom!”. Second blessing. Having a daughter who is willing to work and to run hard…best blessing.
Marriage to Lance…another blessing, indeed a veritable miracle. Marriages are miracles, don’t you think? In this day and age, finding two people who are willing to do what it takes to make a marriage work…almost miraculous, certainly a blessing, and definitely an indication of quality.
Thanks to YOU, my friend, for being a high quality person in my life.