I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Human Touch and a Real 180

To say I didn't know what to expect for last period on Friday after coming back from a lively pep rally would be an understatement. Who thought holding class after a pep rally would be a good idea?!

Let me be blunt - the morning had been a little s*****, as a few of the 8th graders were really pulling out the shenanigans. I even had to send two of them to our dean. Let's just not get into those details. The 7th graders, meanwhile, had mostly redeemed my hope in humanity, as many completed the class activity (which included reading or listening to a story about recognizing what is most important and then following up with a written/artistic choice reflection) appropriately and thoughtfully. But, again, the morning had been a far cry from perfect (or even pretty good).

The 6th graders managed to enter the classroom relatively calmly - it was a miracle! But then the real miracle happened - one I didn't know I needed until that exact moment. One girl said, "Miss Foyle, it's national hug day." Now, I don't believe this was actually true, but she proceeded to come up and give me a hug. And then so did 3/4 of the rest of the class. I was stunned and almost in tears (of joy). I realized that I never really hug my middle school students...but maybe that's just what we need more of. It's so basic - human touch. Yet, can we really ever get enough?

Maybe some of them were being silly, but some of them just wanted to give me and each other a hug. And afterwards? They sat down and listened to directions. (Miracle again!) We proceeded to have a really good class - many kids shared their Old Testament figure basketball team intros project, the students played an extended version of Silent Ball as a brain break, and then we reviewed the test they had just taken. At the end of class, they cheered when I told them I'd be playing in the faculty versus student basketball game that night, and it just all brought a smile to my face. What I had gone into worrying would be a wasted class turned out to be our best one of the week. God is amazing!

Fast forward to basketball warm-ups. The students were filling up the stage and finding their seats while we, the teachers, were warming up on their side of the court. A few of the 7th grade boys started yelling, "Miss Foyle, shoot a 3!" At that point I politely declined. I knew I could possibly make one, but I was honestly afraid of shooting an air ball right then and there. But then the 4th graders told me I could do it, and I had no choice but to square up and shoot a 3. When it went in, the kids went nuts, and the joy and fun of it all eased me into a rhythm of making 4 baskets (not 3's) in a row. (Some of the parents thought I had played in high school - ha ha, no.) While I did not end up making a shots in the game (because I did not even take a shot - oops), I helped make a few plays, and I had the most fun cheering on my coworkers. We ended up beating the kids. It was a great night.

It's amazing how a day that starts out rather poorly can turn around for the better. I'm still smiling at the "national hug day" and support at the game. I love my students. What a great way to kick off Catholic Schools Week!

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