Woke up Late, Ma’am.

Army.mil

Army.mil

I worked at a local middle school today where West Point Academy was sponsoring an all-day STEM workshop and competition. Cadets and officers were in attendance along with about 200 students ranging from fourth to eleventh grade. I stood at the door of entry and checked each student in as they arrived. I worked to get them into the auditorium as quickly as I could. Then, for some reason, I stopped. I looked up, and I saw the promise of tomorrow in the eyes of a young girl waiting there in front of me.

“Good morning,” I said.

“Good morning, Ma’am.” She peered through sleepy eyes back at me.

“How is your  day so far?” I queried.

“I woke up late, ma’am.” Heavy sigh. Her hair was tousled. She wore sweats, a t-shirt and light sweatshirt on this early warm Los Angeles morning.

I smiled. “Well, you did the first important thing. You showed up. You’re here now. Go on in, get your materials. You’re ready to make it a great day.”  Her cheeks rose up to meet her brown eyes in a smile that lit up the entry way. And off she went.

My words make a difference.

Our words make a difference.

I have much weighing on me presently. My mind is full of ‘to do’s’ and ‘don’t forget to’s. But at that moment I remembered, “Be right here. Right now.” It is the only place to be. I spent the next part of the hour looking at students, greeting them and drinking in their beautiful smiles full of hope and potential and greatness. It just does not get any better than this. As teachers and leaders in our schools, we have the responsibility to make the world a better place for the students who pass through our lives. I don’t think we go into teaching for many other reasons. It is good when things pile up, we get busy, we take on too much – to stop and remember to let my words make a difference right here, right now.

middle school students

Thank you to Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, & Stacy for providing a place for so many to join together in a writing community.  The written words from Slice of Life 2015 have made a difference for me. For more wondrous words, check out Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life March 2015 Challenge here.  

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About Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be You

Principal at the Sweetest Little School by the Sea at the north end of Los Angeles Harbor. Working to make the world a little more awesome.
This entry was posted in Students First, Teaching, thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Woke up Late, Ma’am.

  1. franmcveigh says:

    Can’t imagine what you would have on your mind! LOL

    So important that EACH student feels valued EVERY day! Great job, Dayna! Celebrating the “Can Do’s are critical!

    Like

  2. peteacher1 says:

    Wow! So much to say about this absolutely beautiful and touching piece. I admire your love for what you do and genuine care for kids. YOU are amazing! “I saw the promise of tomorrow in the eyes of a young girl waiting there in front of me.” This line just touches my heart. No matter how this girl looked – you saw promise – so neat! Then…”I smiled. ‘Well, you did the first important thing. You showed up. You’re here now. Go on in, get your materials. You’re ready to make it a great day.’ Her cheeks rose up to meet her brown eyes in a smile that lit up the entry way.” First – you smiled! Seems so simple yet so many forget it. A warm smile makes all the difference. You then pointed out the positive and told her to make it a great day. Then the next sentence – what an impact you had that her smile lit the entry way. YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE today! Her day went from bad to great because of YOU! “…greeting them and drinking in their beautiful smiles full of hope and potential and greatness.” The words you choose to describe kids is awesome! Gosh, you are a gem! Stay positive because you are making a huge impact on people daily! Aside from making that young girl’s day, you just made mine too! There is something to be said for people like you that are so passionate about kids – you are special!

    Liked by 1 person

    • daywells says:

      Wow! The “special” you recognize in me is a reflection of you I believe, friend. 🙂

      Too often I hear students spoken to in harsh tones with harsher words. We gotta BE what we want them to be. You made my afternoon!

      Liked by 1 person

      • peteacher1 says:

        Awe so sweet! I couldn’t agree more that students too often are spoken to harshly and that’s exactly why I think YOU are amazing! You have a true appreciation and respect for kids.
        I LOVE it!!!!

        Like

  3. mvervinck says:

    This is teaching. Being able to see beyond what some would perceive as a problem to see the person. Empathy is something that we all need in order to make a positive difference in a child’s life. You have it in spades!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. elsie says:

    I say what she (PE teacher) said. I had those same thoughts as I read this. I know kids don’t get enough smiles and encouragement from too many adults in their life, so it is critical that someone recognizes them and validates their being.
    What a wonderful way to start her day!
    Let me just say I loved the word “queried” that is one word I’m going to be using someday. Such a great word!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cathy Thompson says:

    I was going to comment on the whole piece, but let me instead comment on your response back to one who commented to you. “We gotta BE what we want them to be.” I’m going to steal this line and use it tomorrow with my colleagues. If we lived this philosophy, our students would flourish in our classrooms. Thank you for saying it so simply, yet eloquently.

    Like

  6. Mindi Rench says:

    I loved this piece – the tone, the words, the flow. Thank you for letting me into your day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Be right here. Right now.” That is a mantra I’d like to run through my mind all the time. Not only is this important with our students, but with our own children and families, friends, and life in general. I wrote a Teachers Write post awhile ago on an interview Oprah did with Toni Morrison. Toni talked about how our faces should light up when our children enter the room. We need to be present and joyful with the children who cross our paths each day so they can feel special and loved. Thank you for a great slice!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jarhartz says:

    Knowing, remembering that our words matter is huge. You made a difference in with such a little thing, noticing what was good and saying so. Beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

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