Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Human Becomings

I'm not sure why I decided I want to write about this, but the idea was tugging at me for a while, and today when the sentences started formulating themselves in my head I decided maybe I should sit down and sketch out my thoughts in some form of semi-cohesive text.

How I wish I could open up a door into possibly the deepest section of my emotional mind so that all of you could glimpse how I really feel about my job... I doubt anything I write here could possibly give over the exact feelings and meanings I want to portray, but I'll try anyway, so that perhaps at least one person will walk away from this post with a newfound appreciation for what I do.

Every job has its perks, its negative points, its benefits, and its acutely annoying aspects, but some jobs are innately more gratifying than others. I suppose it's a matter of opinion and personal taste, but there's a reason why so many teachers describe their jobs as intensely rewarding and emotionally satisfying, while most office personnel do not. There's something about watching children's eyes light up in understanding, about feeling little shoulders ease under a loving touch, about listening to laughter wafting out of brightly-lit classrooms, that almost can't be described in any other language than love.

I know a lot of you reading this are teachers and appreciate exactly what I'm saying. So big deal, Corner, what's the chiddush here? Why are you making it sound like you are different than any other teacher out there? Maybe it's just because as unappreciated and bashed the teaching profession is, there is still something glorious about saying you teach 10th grade Chumash, or 12th grade Bio, or even 6th grade Tefilla. But when you tell people you teach Kindergarten, most look at you, almost struggle to conceal the sympathy in their eyes, and comment, "Oh really? you enjoy it?"

Are you kidding? Do I enjoy it?

It's my inspiration. My air. My life right now. I may be an overly passionate soul in most aspects of my life, but when I talk about my job, I feel such a pride, such a wonder, such a privilege to be able to carry out this amazing responsibility.

So many people consider early childhood education as a babysitting service. Parents drop their little ones off at school, run errands, go to work, take care of the real world while some Morahs keep an eye on the kids that "can't even read yet so how can they be learning...?" Our children are more than just learning--they're drinking up every word that's uttered within their earshot, putting words to things they're not even able to consciously understand yet, growing in self-awareness and self-worth, and building the foundations of love for learning that will be the cornerstone of every other lesson they'll ever learn for the rest of their lives.

The thrill of watching a little girl finally realize that the little black characters on the pages of books really mean something is simply breathtaking...As is watching from afar as a child with behavioral difficulties finally works out her own problem without resorting to hitting...As is hearing the exclamation of delight from the little one who runs by in the playground, legs pumping, heart soaring, flying by with nothing to anchor her to the ground...As is the glow on the face of the child who proudly holds up her clay masterpiece, explaining, "Morah, I made this for you..."

The vitality of life that permeates every square inch of my classroom is other-worldly. It is there that children develop their essences, their dreams, their pride in themselves, their life skills, their middos, their love of learning. We may not teach the difference between Rashi and Ramban, but we can help them discern the subtle differences between speaking nicely and hurting feelings. My girls do not yet understand how to add or subtract, or anything about the U.S. government, but they do know that they live in a community of chessed and middos and want to emulate those they see around them. Mitzva notes are not just a bribe; they impart to our children that not a single good deed goes unnoticed, that each mitzva is recorded, cherished, held close, rewarded. Creative play is not just a time filler; it's a forum for children to learn consequences of thier actions, how to interact properly and successfully with their peers, how to be mevater and be patient and be kind. To those who wonder what exactly their children are learning besides for the weekly Parsha, I ask, "What are they not learning...?" Pre-school is the workshop where children develop the tools they need to succeed in grade school, and more importantly, in life...

Maybe now you can see why I so adore what I do. There's no question about it--It's a physically draining, emotionally taxing, and sometimes very frustrating job, but I can't imagine another I'd rather be doing right now.

Seeing that life, that joy, that sheer bliss of being and living and learning and growing helps me strive to be and live and learn and grow myself. It's in my classroom that I learn anew how to be mevater and be patient and be kind. It's not just my students that are learning; I am taught countless lessons as well every single day.

So when those people who don't appreciate my achrayus look at me in pity, almost as if I'm taking care of something distasteful, I warm myself up with the knowledge that I'm making a difference in 22 different worlds...and 22 different future families of children who will comprise the next generation of Klal Yisrael...

My girls are each stunning jewels. And I have the privilege and the honor of helping make that first cut into the faces of those jewels so that at the end of 14 years of schooling, those same jewels emerge from the school system as refined, happy, polished, proud daughters of our King.

The director of my school has a sign in her office:

"Children are not human beings; they are human becomings."

And I have the opportunity to nurture those precious becomings...

My beautiful girls.

Monday, October 29, 2007




Blips on a screen.
The thin green line
reaches a peak,
turns, and
only to rise again...

clean curves up and down.
Other times

But yet...
the rise and fall


The line will always fluctuate.
The ups
always fall,
the downs
always rise.

A flat line means

And so,
we rise.


Sometimes haltingly,
sometimes sure of ourselves,
but then,
when all seems good,


The blip
turns downward,
darkens our eyes,
makes us feel
a failure...

But in reality
is only found
in a flatline.

The downs
are a component
of life.
The valley,
the trough,
the exhale,
are as essential to life
as the vast mountain peaks,
the foam-tipped wave caps,
the cleansing, nourishing breaths
of lifegiving air...

We fall and rise.
Life is dark, then light.

We must prepare
for falls,
cushion ourselves,
steady ourselves,
reach out for support.
But we must also
The line will


The dark never lingers
longer than its wavelength,


If we know the secrets
of how to climb
out of the troughs


and ride the crests
as long as we can hold on to them,
we have





Sunday, October 28, 2007

Corner Takes the Plunge...

This seems a little strange to me...

My own blog? Mine?

Well, after all this time, I guess I'm savvy enough in the blogging world to have my own venting space, but it's still weird that I've joined the ranks. I hope I can live up to my own expectations...(as I'm sure nobody else here has any expectations of me yet!!)

I suppose I should introduce myself a bit. It seems appropriate, although some of you probably have some inkling as to who I am based on my comments on your blogs. Eventually, some of the details will probably come out as they become relevant, but for now let me just say that I am a frum, twenty-somewhat girl with some things to say and the passionate desire to be acknowledged, understood, and part of something big. I'm intesely curious, I love learning new things, and I'm self-critical to a fault. My purpose for starting this blog is twofold: I want to hear what others have to say, and I'm enticed by the concept of a place where I can say what's on my mind and not worry about what others will think of me.

Comments are very welcome. I hope to meet a lot of new and interesting people through this blog, and I hope I can spark others to think or ponder or contemplate things they hadn't thought of or wondered about or contemplated before. I can't promise to post too often, but I'll try my best.

And with that, let the thoughts begin...