Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weeds and Wildflowers

Hello and welcome to my brand new blog! My name is Ellen and I'm a pre-service elementary educator. I am just about to finish up my last semester at Indiana University Bloomington and dive into four months of student teaching!

I started this blog not only for you readers, who may or may not be interested in my crazy antics, advice, and musings, but also for myself. I want to document my journey into teaching so I am able to look back and see how far I've come by the end of all this!

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Now, as for the title Weeds and Wildflowers, here's my explanation. When I was little, a decent-sized patch of white, puffy dandelions sprouted up in our side yard. My mom was dismayed, and worked long hours trying to rid our property of those pesky weeds. I, on the other hand, thought they were a perfectly good and even somewhat beautiful plant. I delighted in blowing the little seeds off, making wishes, and watching them grow into tiny yellow flowers.

In the spring of my junior year at IU, I walked past a similar patch of white puffballs in the yard of a little college house and found myself thinking Wow. That looks terrible! Remembering my childhood pleasure of picking those little dandelions, dreaming up wishes, and playfully blowing them through the air, I felt ashamed for the negative shift in my viewpoint.

Immediately, somehow, the thought connected itself to my perspective on teaching. All teachers (even brand new teachers, or pre-service teachers like me) find themselves exhausted, exasperated, and upset every once in a while. It's easy to grow impatient and wish away your annoyances, your problems, your weeds.

My challenge to myself, and all educators, is to view our weeds as wildflowers. Start seeing the good in the bad. Children are absolutely crazy, and they do things that frustrate us, confuse us, and challenge us. But, above all, they are wondrous, brilliant little people. It's up to us to nurture those wildflowers so they can grow into something beautiful. If we view them as weeds, that's how they'll view themselves. If we view them as flowers, they will bloom and blossom with confidence and grace.

I hope to keep this idea in mind as I begin my teaching career, and, of course, as I progress through the years. I look forward to this amazing journey, and I hope you'll join me by visiting this blog!

- Ellen

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