Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 157- SOME and Worthwhile File Note

I was thankful for something quite simple on this day last year, a lukewarm shower.  After hours working hard in the hot sun, I just wanted a cool place to hang out and a shower to wash it all away.  I couldn't possibly imagine what it would be like to not have a place to go home to.

I decided to donate to SOME today.  Here's what they do:

SOME (So Others Might Eat) was founded by Father Horace McKenna, S.J. and an interfaith group of priests, ministers, and lay persons in 1970 to help feed the city's destitute citizens. Today, SOME is an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of our nation's capital. We meet the immediate daily needs of the people we serve with food, clothing, and health care. We help break the cycle of homelessness by offering services, such as affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling, to the poor, the elderly and individuals with mental illness. Each day, SOME is restoring hope and dignity one person at a time. We invite you to join us.

I'm happy to have found such a wonderful place to donate to today.

http://www.some.org/

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One of my education professors encouraged all of us, future teachers at the time, to create a "worthwhile file".  This is a place where we can put any sunshine we get at work to pull out on those days when nothing is going right.  Quite simply, every now and then we need these files to remind us of why we do what we do.

I asked my kids to fill out some evaluations today.  I designed these for the kids to give me feedback on all the main texts and activities from the year.  I purposely had them rank activities numerically to make it all more about the "stuff" and less about me.  I also wanted to get some usable data.  I didn't want a whole bunch of comments where kids were either disinterested, passively rude, or kissing up.  From the numbers, I can safely conclude that kids love Mad Libs, projects, anything that can be perceived as a game, and anything where they get to work with each other.  They liked activities that required more work much less.  No real shockers there.

I was really surprised by the evaluations though.  I thought that kids would do the absolutely minimum on these things (simply ranking numerically without any/many comments), and a good number of them did just that.  I feared that some of them may say things that would hurt my feelings, and I was ready to put on my big girls pants about it and to continue to thicken my skin.  However, I actually had a number of kids go out of their way to write nice things.  I was especially surprised by the notes a few of them wrote on the back of their evals.  I'd love to share them all, but that seems as if it would be excessive to anyone but me.  Instead, I'll just share one that will make it into the file for sure.  It may not seem like a whole lot, but it means the world to me.  If you knew who the kid was, you may begin to get it.  If you understood how hard I have worked to find the balance between disciplining and nurturing this one, you might get it even more.  I almost got a little teary eyed.

"You are one of the best teachers I have ever had.  You find a way to make everything fun."

When writing this, the student had shielded the paper and not wanted anyone else to see.  I wondered what in the world would be written on that paper when I read it.  I told students they could hand these in anonymously in order to encourage honesty (which is funny because after hunting down "no names" all year, I can guess just about any handwriting as well as an FBI agent), and this one was anonymous.  I won't embarrass this one by acknowledging what was written in an obvious way.  I will just nurture the best way I know how for our last few days together and hold this close to my heart.

Chalk another one up to the worthwhile file!

Thank you, worthwhile file note, you made my day.

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