The Pedagogy of Feeling Valued



Good morning!!!  It’s a beautiful day to be on Thanksgiving vacation!  I have so many zings to share with you, now that I have a little bit of time freed up to do things not considered part of survival mode.   Gosh, where to even start? (Insert favorite thinking face emoji here.) Can you tell I’m winging this?  How about them Cubbies?!?! Oh… and holy tacos, the election is big news.

It’s Saturday morning.  My kids are already up and running wild.  I should probably be doing something motherly like fixing them breakfast.  I’ll get to that.  But Imma take a little selfish ‘me time’ first, with my coffee and my laptop.  This is the first day of an extended holiday break from school. Citizens, do not be fooled.  Teachers get just as excited as the students at the thought of many consecutive days off in a row.

So, here we are.  It’s mid-November.  Anyone else failing at life and NOT thinking about Christmas?  I don’t even have Thanksgiving dinner planned yet, which I generally host.  All snark and sarcasm aside, this is the time of year where many start reflecting.  They start sharing what they are thankful for.  Maybe it’s the time change.  We all feel imprisoned past 6 p.m. because it’s already dark, so we sit and reflect.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to be thankful for.  It’s funny, raising my kiddos the way I do now and comparing it to either A) the differences in how I grew up and/or B) the way some of my students are brought up.  Not that ANY of the above is superior or right or wrong.  It’s just perspective.  And if you’re here – reading this blog – you know that “perspective” and I like to geek out once in a while.

I think it’s safe to say for all of us that adulting is hard.  Parenting is hard.  Teaching is hard.  LIFING is HARD!!!  My goal at any point of any day is to observe the world from the cheap seats and try to understand it all.   No judgement.  Just a good grasp on the comings and goings.  Sometimes that’s very hard to do, as we all know.  Which brings me to a very generalized topic:  feeling valued.  Somehow, many parts of 2016 went to hell in a handbasket.  You’re lying if you say you didn’t sit with popcorn some nights and your favorite scrolling finger, going though the many shiz storms on social media. There is a lot of nastiness circling the drain these days.

The one nugget of truth that seems to be constant in all of the hot messes unfolding is the price of value.  You see, to me anyway, we are reaping the disparity of marginalization in 2016.  Go back and read that last sentence again if you need to.  It applies to a lot.  A LOT.  The election, Black Lives Matter, the North Dakota Pipeline, the crisis in Syria, the LGBTQ movement, etc. etc. etc.  So many people, whether in the right or in the wrong, feel marginalized.  And that makes them angry.  And then they come back swinging!!!  You get me?  I wrote about this, a couple of times actually, for Elite Daily. And the worst part is that we don’t have clear cut answers on how to fix any of this.  Because they don’t exist.

Do I think people are allowed to be frustrated?  Absolutely.  Do we have the right to want change?  Of course.  Should we sit around with pitchforks and RBFs (acronym – look it up elsewhere) and attempt to pillage those who disagree with us?  Ummmm…No.  That makes you part of the problem.  You get a half hour to sulk.  Yep.  I said it.  30 minutes.  You get 30 minutes to be angry and throw your temper tantrum.  Anything more and you’re wasting time.  Time is a precious currency that needs spent on doing other things.  Like, I don’t know, making positive changes for example.

So, here’s my version of the olive branch:  we bring value to the table when we feel valued. I have a student at school that brings me a piece of candy every day.  He comes from a very humble background and I know for a fact that he doesn’t have much to call his own at home.  But, every morning, there is a piece of candy on my desk.  Bringing something that’s important to him to share with me every morning makes him feel really significant. It’s a small gesture with huge reward. It’s not something I ask for or expect. I’ve told him several times that he doesn’t need to bring me candy.  I love and appreciate him anyway.   We don’t even talk about it much these days.  The smile and the wink is enough for him.  And it’s been fun to watch him blossom this year.  The value in feeling valued.

Oh… and another thing.  We don’t give ourselves enough grace.  I’m as guilty as the next guy here.  My life is not all roses and sunshine.  I would like to know whose is! If you’re friends with me on social media you know I had a rough go of things the past couple of weeks.  The day finally came where I had to put Maddie, my 15 year old boxer, to sleep.  If you’ve ever had a companion like her that followed you from room to room to give love and affection and sleep at your feet since you were 19 years old, you get me.  Not going to lie, it’s a very dark place.  I miss her terribly.  And only now really “get” what that bond was about.  So give yourself a little grace in those dark places.  There is a silver lining.  The value in feeling valued.


I hope this hits a nerve with someone today.  Just one person would even be enough.  I’m an open book in many areas of life because I like being relatable.  If people can read my crazy and realize that I am still capable of holding down a job and tying my own shoes, then maybe they can spread the hope too.


Pass the peace.  And next Thursday, also the peas.





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