Friday, November 2, 2012


Here I sit, in my school gym, watching the ebb and flow of parents.  It’s parent teacher conference day!  It’s my first time.  I dreaded it.  How terrifying to sit face to face with parents I've never met, discussing with them the progress of the students I have come to so dearly love.  What if I say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, hear the wrong thing, and ruin the budding relationships we’re forming?  What if I am not patient enough, not caring enough, not loving enough…or perhaps too patient…and somehow, single-handedly, ruin their entire education futures?  (Perhaps I over-think these things.)

Our conferences are student-led.  Parents and students come together and sit down with me at the table my table in the gym and we chit-chat about progress and behavior and life.  Students and parents alike are surprisingly transparent.  Amazingly, even.  This student-led idea is brilliant.  The students can’t hide…and neither can their parents.  There’s so much honestly flooding my table in the gym, it’s almost overwhelming at times.  My students are flourishing and struggling and sinking and swimming and growing and learning and becoming.

Becoming.  Wow.  Becoming: any change involving a realization of potentialities, as a movement from the lower level of potentiality to the higher level of actuality.  They’re doing that, and I have a teeny tiny bit of a hand in it.

It’s a privilege to be here, to be in their heads, to worm my way into their tender little lives, to make an impact.  It’s a pleasure, a joy, to watch the transformations materializing in the backbones of their tender lives.

As I sit here, I feel it happening, just a little bit—the becoming.  Unexpectedly, though, or perhaps expectedly, the becoming I’m noticing isn’t theirs.  It’s not that of my students or their parents or the world around me.  I feel it inside.  I notice, little by little, and sometimes in dynamic rushes, that while I’m doing my best to teach them, to train them, to get to them, they’re wiggling their way into my life and they’re changing me.

They are changing me.

I am learning, a bit more each day, who I am and what I am and why I am.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am becoming.