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Ten Lovely Minutes

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There were only about fifteen minutes left in what had, up until this point, been a great day. Actually, considering it was the first day back from Winter Break, I would have to say it had been an amazing day! I was making rounds and trying to circulate through classrooms one last time before the day ended.

As I entered one kindergarten room a young girl approached me enter and scolded me for not giving her a hug this morning. I must have been called away because she and I always seek each other out. It was center time and students were spread out all around the room exploring and creating. She proceeded to ask me if I would like for her to read me a book.

In my head I was thinking, duh yeah...that would be freakin' awesome. Don't worry. I have the ability to filter. Instead, I told I would love for her to read me a book. She proceeded to walk me to their reading center. It was small, cozy and wonderful. I leaned back against a pillow and became her audience.

She began by asking me if I wanted to hold a stuffed animal while she read. I immediately said yes and chose a soft cuddly frog. Next, she reminded the class, the cuddly frog and I, that we read top-to-bottom and left-to-right. This was priceless! I couldn't believe I was getting paid for this.

You won't believe what book she picked. Green Eggs and Ham. Who doesn't love that book?

As she read, she would stop periodically to ask if we noticed any rhyming words. Sometimes I would raise my hand and sometimes I would raise the frog's. It was only fair. I didn't want the frog to feel left out. One time, when I answered a question correctly, she responded with...And I couldn't make this up. You are a work of art. Those were her exact words to me for answering her question correctly. I didn't know if the frog was jealous so I didn't make eye contact with him.

About halfway through her reading she made told me that I wasn't holding the frog correctly. She walked up to me and carefully positioned him in my lap. Then she turned his head, ever so slightly, so that he could see her at all times. Apparently, I had him in a headlock. Maybe that's why I was called a work of art and not him.

After about ten minutes she decided to stop and said we could finish the book another time. As much as I would've liked to have stayed there all day, I knew that the bell was about to ring and that I had to prepare for dismissal. She gave me a big hug as I left and I promised to give her another hug when she walked to her bus.

I tell this story because it reminded me of something very important. Very often in our profession, we strive for perfection. We want greatness at all times.

And that's okay.

Actually, it's not!

That is not the real world. Now I had a great day today. And regardless of whether or not I had stopped in that kindergarten class, I felt good about the day. But what if it hadn't been up until that point? What if my day so far had stunk? Even if it had, I truly believe that those last ten minutes would have provided me enough nourishment and enough joy to send me home with a smile. I could be wrong. But I don' think so.

Tomorrow when you go to work. You are going to have issues. You are going to have problems. And you are going to have concerns. Some things aren't going to work out the way you planned. That's life.

Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, try a different approach. Tell yourself you are going to strive for ten lovely minutes. Just ten! I guarantee that you will find them. And when you do, I bet they will stick with you the rest of the day. Mine sure did. And I just had to share them as soon as I could.


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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

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Guest Tuesday, 23 July 2019