I don't talk much about being a teacher because I feel like my blog should be separate from school...kind of like separation of church and state...but I wanted to tell you about how much teaching a new class has changed my entire perspective about what kids are capable of and what I am able to be as a teacher. PAL is a Peer Assistance Leadership program that is nationwide. It is not a very large group in the grand scheme of things, and that is actually on purpose. The small group is able to be more coherent in terms of group dynamics and how they are able to act individually but with norms that are consistent among the group. I have 20 students in my group this year, and we have three groups of kids in our school for one grade. These kids come from all walks of life and their stories are all different, but what a great group of kids! They are so eager to share compassion and kindness, and they love to be a part of school wide and off campus activities as representatives for making the right choices. This week, we will begin our travels to a local elementary school so that the kids become mentors and peer helpers of younger students...teaching them the kindness and compassion they will show...and that there is always hope. The first smile on a kid's face when their PAL shows up to spend some time with them is priceless. The teacher's squeals of joy to see our group walking the halls of their school is beyond the feeling of excitement and joy knowing what we are there to do. It is awesome. There is no other way to put it. The coordinator for our PAL group told me once that these have been the most rewarding years of his career, and I believe it. I didn't know how much that these kids could change others, but change me too...and lead me to a second calling...right in my own school. I love it. My job is not a job...it's just the other side of the person I am. I am humbled that I can be the leader of these kids, and be a better leader and mentor in my classroom from what I am learning and will continue to learn. Teaching really does touch lives...forever.
With this in mind...I have decided to start a new pen pal challenge this week. Play along if you like. I think it's so cool to get *real* mail...a handwritten note or letter...don't you? Each day I will post a suggestion for the letter you could write...but write to anyone if you wish...and mail it right away! Tomorrow there will be a smile on someone's face as they open your letter. So....here we go! Get some pretty stationery or just find the back of an old piece of mail...creativity makes it fun...and WRITE (not type)! Pass the word around to your friends and have them stop by here. Let's see how many fun letters we can write in a week. Feel free to use the picture below in your blog and comment to tell me you sent a letter! This will deserve a prize at the end of the week...hmmmm...new writing utensils, anyone? I've gotta start practicing my writing skills again...they are kind of rusty!
DAY 1: Write a letter to a friend you see on Facebook, but it's been a long time since you have seen/talked personally with him or her. I have just signed myself up to write two. Yay!