Already we are in the last week of the first quarter. I have a wonderful group of kiddos this year – curious, energetic, and engaged. Not perfect (what class is?) but so willing to try, to try again, and to bravely keep trying even when they are clearly struggling. They are not struggling though – they are all making progress! My heart melts with joy when I think of this group of kiddos!

Of course, I have this feeling every year — but this year there is a difference. A wheelchair. Because I am not in pain every day, I am actually able to enjoy even the more-challenging moments when I cannot find the materials I know I set out…

And the students seem to know it. They are more relaxed than any other group of kiddos I have had. They are cheerful, helpful, and genuinely interested in helping each other.

Not always- these are “age and stage appropriate” third graders! But they clearly feel comfortable and secure, and it is making a difference in their learning (which is accelerating!) and in my teaching (which is actually not bad this year…).

I know that not all years will be like this, but because I have more energy for thinking on my feet (yes, ironic!) and for planning and preparing, we are making more time for activities, and having more time to reflect and discuss. And because I am able to notice them and tap into their interests more often, I can see the hope and joy in their lives.

And that gives me hope – for their futures, and for our world.