Today … a rock.
As you’ve probably guessed, there’s a story behind it. In my previous life, as a sixth grade teacher, one year I was assigned to teach “low” language arts/reading (the 3 of us sixth grade teachers divided the kids in to high, middle and low ability – not labeled that of course, but it took the kids about 10 seconds to figure it out).
I wasn’t real excited to teach “low” – it’s fun to challenge the “high” kids, and “middle” was at least up-to-speed, but “low” – well, they are the kids who can’t write a coherent sentence to save their lives, and whose oral reading is like fingernails on the chalkboard.
But, someone needed to teach them, and that year it was me. I decided to just enjoy the year, get to know the kids, start at a low level and just teach them anything I could.
I ended up loving that year. I have many fond memories of the 12 of us (one advantage of “low” group is that it’s also the smallest group) sitting on the carpet in the library corner of my room, reading and talking.
On one of those days, we were reading about Robin Hood and I told the kids about my upcoming summer trip to England, which included a visit to Nottingham and Sherwood Forest.
One of my boys, Tony, looked up and said, “Wow! I’d love to just … have a ROCK from there. Just a rock!” His eyes were shining, and I could see that in his mind, he was transformed from a kid in the “dumb class” to one of Robin Hood’s merry men, sauntering through Sherwood Forest, kicking rocks here and there.
I knew what my souvenir of Sherwood Forest would be. Later that summer, I gathered several rocks there, and carefully brought them home. That fall, I found Tony and presented him with his rock.
Mine still has a place of honor in my printer’s tray (proudly displayed in my daughter’s room). On days when I feel uninspired, I remember Tony and look at my rock. It helps me find the wonder in even the world’s smallest things.