Find Your Calm

This morning I woke up with the sun, sat outside, and listened to the birds chirp their morning conversation. One of my favorite things in the world is sitting outside before most of the world is awake, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the birds, and thanking God for another day. I frequently do this during the summer, because I’m well rested from not having to get up early all the time, so this morning was a rare occurrence for me during winter. Georgia’s seasons are doing a dance right now, not quite sure if it wants to fully submit itself to Spring, but this morning I felt Spring winning.

Do you all know this feeling? The feeling where you can just sit there and feel this immense calm over you. You recognize your breaths, the hair rising on your arms, the trees swaying back and forth, the tiny ant moving in the grass…it’s almost as if all of your senses are on hyper-alert. It is a beautiful feeling and I encourage you to find moments like this, even if you are in the midst of chaos.

This past week has been filled with meetings and IEPs. For those that don’t know, I’m a special education teacher, currently co-teaching in 2nd and 5th grade. I am loving the year we are having this year, but we are starting to move towards testing and man, can I feel the tension rising. Being a Title 1 school, the growth that we show at the end of the school year is looked at under a magnifying glass- this terrible state test we take in April holds way more weight than it should. So many of my students do not do well on tests. Whether it be from anxiety, emotional baggage they are bringing to school that day, or the fact that they have to remember everything we have learned the entire year (this is super hard for some of my kiddos). The further I move into my educational career, the more I loathe state tests. Is this really the best representation of a child’s knowledge? So much of the “fun” has been taken out of teaching because teachers are required to teach every standard, give every practice test, tutor those who look like they won’t pass the state test, in order to make sure their students do well because it’s a reflection on them as a teacher if they don’t do well.

I have students who have parents in jail, who live in drug environments, who are in foster care, neglected situations; they are living in environments that I cannot even fathom because I was privileged to not experience that as a child.

And here we are, expecting those kids to come to school and leave that baggage at the door so they can learn and pass the test. If we know as adults how hard it is to work through difficult situations, why do we expect kids to know how to deal with their emotions when most of them don’t even know how to express what they’re going through?

All these frustrating thoughts are starting to build up as we move into this testing season, so this morning I was little taken aback by the calm I felt. It was a beautiful reminder to me that even in the midst of stress, chaos, anxiety, we can find that moment of peace, even if it is just for a second. I woke up in an attitude of prayer, almost as if God was saying, “Hey, get up early today. There’s something waiting for you.” Waiting for me was that peace I didn’t expect to find this morning. I haven’t even had coffee yet, and I’m feeling more refreshed than I do most mornings!

I’m interested in learning more from you all! When have you experienced this sort of calm? I know that it impacts people in different ways. Feel free to share! I hope you have a blessed week, one in which you can experience those moments of peace.

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