All posts by Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 

Hope springs eternal

So I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day about how difficult this past year has been, and he spoke to me about how nervous he is for the upcoming winter months that lie ahead. Just as we were finishing our chat I mentioned to him that deep down I was tremendously hopeful for the changes that 2021 will bring to our world, and he kind of smirked and said that he loved my sense of optimism. It is true that I am an eternal optimist, probably to a fault, but his comment got me thinking about the idea of hope, and how in my opinion being hopeful is actually very different than simply being optimistic.

The conversation reminded me of a wonderful book that I read a long time ago by Jerome Groopman called the, The Anatomy of Hope, where in one of the chapters he beautifully defines and separates out the meaning of these two words. He writes that, “Hope is one of our central emotions, but we are often at a loss when asked to define it. Many of us confuse hope with optimism, a prevailing attitude that things will turn out for the best. But hope differs from optimism. Hope does not arise from being told to think positively, or from hearing an overly rosy forecast. Hope, unlike optimism, is rooted in unalloyed reality. Although there is no uniform definition of hope, I found one that seemed to capture what my patients had taught me. Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see—in the mind’s eye—a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion.” 

So when I said that I am tremendously hopeful for the changes that 2021 will bring for our world, I said it with the acute awareness that there are some very difficult months that lie ahead, and with the understanding that there are significant challenges and obstacles that we will still have to overcome…yet I remain hopeful, and in my mind’s eye I do see a path to a better future. A little boy said to me on Friday that he can’t wait for things to return to normal, and I know what he meant, but in many ways I don’t want things to return to normal at all. Of course I can’t wait for many of the normal things to return, like hugging for example (I do miss hugging people), but my hope lies in a new normal, a normal that includes a world that is more inclusive and just and kind, a world that is more environmentally friendly, a world that uses the lessons that we’ve learned over the past several months to create a better future for our children, and of course, as an educator, world that finally moves on from it’s outdated and traditional approach to education. I hope for a world that stops taking our earth for granted, and a world that embraces our collective humanity, and a world that is united and connected and a little bit more enlightened…here’s hoping. 

Anyway, it is true that I see the world through rose colored glasses, and ultimately that helps me get through some difficult times, but at the heart of it all, it’s deeper than that…it really is about hope, and seeing that path to a better future. Just imagine the beautiful world that will emerge from this crazy 2020..I can’t wait to see what 2021 will bring. Hang in there everyone, only a week and a half left until the holiday, so remember to be great for our students and good to each other. Enjoy this little poem by John Keats and remain hopeful, because hope springs eternal indeed. 

John Keats, ‘To Hope’.

When by my solitary hearth I sit,

When no fair dreams before my ‘mind’s eye’ flit,

And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;

Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,

And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head …

Quote of the Week…

Hope springs eternal in the human breast – Alexander Pope

Inspiring Videos-

Female Toy Soldiers

Give With All Your Heart

Inner Child

Classic and Beautiful 

The Greatest Gift

Holiday Commercial – Sweet

Related Articles – 

The Power of Hope

Live It Forward

Why Hope Matters

TED – How to be More Hopeful

Whatever Brings You Joy

So last week I overheard two friends of mine having a spirited debate over when the correct time was to get out the holiday decorations and to put up their tree. One friend firmly believes that as soon as Halloween is over it’s time to start singing the carols, and the other one absolutely believes that you have to wait until December before the lights can go up. Well, in normal years I tend to agree with my December friend but this year, with all that’s going on, and with all of the craziness that 2020 has sent our way, I say put up that tree today! As far as I’m concerned, the winning argument is, “whatever brings you a little bit of joy in your life”, and if hanging the decorations up and playing Jingle Bells full blast puts a smile on your face then what are you waiting for?

With a month left before the holiday break, and with the lockdown still in effect, it is absolutely essential that we all find joy and happiness everywhere and anywhere that we can, and we need to prioritize taking care of ourselves and each other as we speed toward 2021. It’s also important to find ways to be thankful for the things that we have in our lives that do bring us joy, and with American Thanksgiving coming up this week it is the perfect time to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. Even though I’m not American, I’m absolutely going to use that day to celebrate my friends and my family, and to be grateful for all of the gifts that life brings to me every day when I open my eyes. I’ll keep this post a little shorter than usual this week, as I have the sudden urge to go wake up my kids to Frosty the Snowman playing loudly on Spotify, and I might even dig out the decorations from the garage if I can convince my wife. 

Anyway, I want to leave you with this beautiful quote from Marelisa Fabrega, who reminds us all to be grateful for the little joys in our lives, and to try and bring a sense of gratitude to our everyday experiences. She says, “Gratitude should not just be a reaction to getting what you want, but an all the time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.”

Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other…and whatever brings you a little bit of joy in your life, particularly in the world these days…then go and do it! 

Quote of the Week…

Rules for happiness: Something to do, someone to love, something to hope for

-Immanuel Kant

Inspiring Videos – 

An Attitude of Gratitude

Inner Child

The Show Must Go On

Interesting TED Talk – 

Helping Others Makes Us Happier

Related Articles – 

What it Means to Seize the Day

Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier

Use the Good Stuff

A Clear Focus

So I’ve been taking advantage of the absolute gift of being on campus with students so far this year, by spending a considerable amount of time in classrooms, and it has been a truly joyful experience for me. There are so many things that have impressed me about our teachers lately that I’ve been able to see first hand, not the least of which is their ability to engage and inspire our kids in the face of all the restrictions that we have in place, and of course, the incredible effort that they are giving each and every day to try and make school as “normal” as possible for our young learners. If that wasn’t already enough, what I’ve seen lately throughout many of my classroom visits has inspired me to no end. 

You see, over the past several weeks, I’ve sat in on many lessons where the clear objective and focus from teachers has been on preparing our kids to be better people for our world…change makers for our community, and delivering the academic concepts and content in a way that uplifts and unites, and gets the students to think and act beyond themselves. I’ve seen many lessons lately where students have learned to be independent, and how to resolve conflict, and how to work as a team, and the importance of seeking to understand another person’s perspective instead of judging or dismissing…all the skills that the world truly and desperately needs these days. I’ve seen lessons where the focus has been on tolerance and inclusion, and empathy and diversity, and where teachers for example have chosen an interactive read-aloud that celebrates the strength that all of our differences bring to the building of a community…so good. 

In line with this, I just happened to watch the Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, the other day, which I highly recommend. It reminded me that there are forces at work in our society that are very good at isolating, and dividing, and polarizing us through our experiences with social media, and how easy it is these days to be splintered away from each other…pitted against each other by using our differences to divide us instead of to unite us. We live in such a tricky world these days, with so much that can be disconnecting, which makes it even more important that we teach our students how to be the people that we need for our future…and to model this for them as educators. 

I’ve been inspired these days by what I’ve seen in my classroom visits, and I want to encourage even more of it. We have an opportunity, no, we have a responsibility as educators to find ways to use our time with our students to unite, and to uplift…to create the change makers that our world needs and that our future deserves. We need to keep a clear focus on teaching our kids not just to be good students, but to be good people for each other and for our world. People who are kind, and compassionate, and empathetic, and independent, and who seek to understand and unite as opposed to being close minded and dismissive. I want to thank all of you who have really taken this to heart, and I want to encourage you to double down in your efforts to keep this clear focus at the heart of your lesson planning. I see the effort that you are all putting in to create little change makers for our community and for our world, and it’s a beautiful thing. Have a wonderful week everyone, and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people. – Roy T. Bennett

Inspiring Videos – 

Halloween Gesture – Beautiful

Ballerina Dances Again

Saving a Pig

Alex Trebec tribute

Surfing in Cold Water (oldie but goodie)

Inspiring TED Talk –

The Language of Being Human

Related Articles – 

Teaching Kids Kindness

Teaching Kids About the World

Creating Kindness

Social Skills and Academics

Supporting the Whole Child

An Autumn State of Mind

So we’ve reached November and Autumn in France is in full swing. There is so much beauty that goes hand in hand with this time of the school year, and last week was a great example of that as we finished off spirit week in the lower school with the Trunk or Treat event, which sent our students home smiling and full of joy…and candy. Just as we were dismissing the kids to the buses on Friday afternoon a student asked me very seriously, “Now that Halloween is over Mr. Kerr, can you put up the tree and start playing the holiday music every morning?” Of course, I told her that it was just a little bit too early for that, but honestly, I am tempted because I know that the next 4 weeks are going to be tough in many ways for all of us.

Being back on lockdown is hard for sure, and the timing is rough as well with the weather getting colder and the days getting shorter and the flu season just beginning. Plus, the emotional US election is coming up this week and we are struggling with the recent terror attacks that have put us all on edge. There is a lot of uncertainty as we stare down the next few weeks, and if we are not careful the literal darkness of the days can start to seep into our mindsets and our attitudes and it can start to sap our energy and joy. What we can’t forget is that we have the incredible gift of each other, and we need to commit to reaching out for whatever it is that we need. We have to be purposeful in our attempt to lift each other up as often as we can, and to be the light and warmth for each other as the days get colder and darker. There is so much to look forward to as November begins, and I am hopeful that this month will bring some positive changes to our current situation. 

I often talk about finding inspiration and joy in the little things in life, and in the beauty that surrounds us in every moment of every day. We have our students and we have each other and that’s a lot! Find ways to take care of yourselves both physically and mentallly over the next several weeks and lean on each other for any support that you need. Lean on me specifically for whatever it is that will make your days easier and brighter. Let’s go out of our way to spread joy and light and happiness all around, and let’s begin tomorrow…I don’t want to have to dig out that tree just yet, but I did put together an awesome new holiday playlist which is all ready to go when it’s time. Here is a favorite poem of mine that can help send you into November in a positive Autumn state of mind. Have a wonderful week everyone as we finish off a successful school accreditation experience, and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Hope Is A Thing With Feathers

  • Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

Quote of the Week…

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Martin Luther King, Jr

Inspiring Videos – 

Proud Parent

Rise Up

A Skeleton Best Friend

Chipmunk Restaurant

6 Year Old ABC’s

Related Articles – 

The Beauty of Autumn

Winter Wellness

Autumn in the Best Season

It’s Important to Reach Out

TED Talk – Seek Your Truth

Choosing the Right Words

So I had an experience this past week that made me reflect on how much power there is in the language that we use with others, and how important it is to choose our words wisely. You see, our language, both body and verbal, can instantly affect another person’s mood, or the mindset of a classroom full of students, or a relationship with a friend, or a kid, or a colleague, and it has the ability to shape the overall culture of a school. Using positive, well thought out and well intended language is an essential key to developing strong and lasting relationships, and the lens through how we are seen as individuals and as leaders. 

The language that we use each and every day shapes who we are, and has a tremendous impact on those around us. The difficulty is that it takes skill, practice, and courage to think before we speak, and to get the right tone, and to ensure that what comes out of our mouths is actually going to be received in the way that we intended it. Words have the power to crush a person’s spirit or to inspire them to be the best that they can be. Words can change a person’s day instantly for the better, or for the worse, and in many cases we don’t even give our language a second thought. We often say things that have a profound impact on another person’s mood, or their day, or their self-esteem, or how they perceive us, and unfortunately we can all be a little careless with our language once in a while. 

Think about the last time that someone gave you a compliment, or used their language to uplift or inspire or validate you as a person or professional. I often joke that I can live on a single compliment for a month, but there’s some truth to that. We all need a boost once in a while, and I wonder how much conscious thought we give to recognizing verbally the positive contributions that others have in our lives. When was the last time that you thanked a colleague, or a student, or a friend for changing your day for the better? How often do you purposefully go out of your way to give a compliment, or to use positive language to inspire one of your students or colleagues? Do you ever think about the body language that you’re using when you have your dozens and dozens of interactions with people each and every day at school? Our language is one of the most powerful tools that we have, but I don’t think we take advantage of the power that it has as much as we should.

I’m asking you all this week to be intentional about the language and tone that you use with others, and to really think about what it is that you’re trying to communicate with your words before you speak. I know that I’m going to be more intentional and less careless moving forward. Take some time to reflect on how you are using your language, and think about how it is being received by others. Does your language inspire? Are you saying what you need to say in a positive way? Are you giving the compliments to the people who positively impact you as a person? Are you using your language to develop strong and lasting relationships? Language has power, there is no denying it, so let’s use our language to unite, and to strengthen, and to uplift…we will all be better for it. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week…

Language exerts hidden power, like the moon and the tides

-Rita Mae Brown

Inspiring Videos- 

A Bucket of Baseballs (So Good)

Telling People They Are Beautiful

The Power of Words

TED Talk – Beautiful New Words

Related Articles – 

The Neuroscience Behind Our Words

Your Words Have Power

Words Can Define our Reality

The Scary Power of Negative Words

A Shot of Courage

So I’ve been thinking a lot about courage these days, and how a simple courageous act can not only change your life, but the lives of others as well. This past week I was privileged enough to witness two incredible acts of courage by people in my life, who not only faced down their fears and changed their lives for the better, but who inspired others to do the same…including me. 

The first thing happened while I was out on the playground watching the kids at recess the other day. A little girl, who had just started new to our school last week, and who didn’t know anyone at all at this point, was standing all by herself against a wall watching the other kids play. You could literally see her mumbling to herself, and playing out a scenario in her mind. You could see her mustering up the courage to ask a group of girls who were playing tag just a few meters away if she could join. You could see her stopping and starting, and on a couple of occasions she took a few steps but then retreated to the side of the building. I stopped myself from facilitating this for her even though I was desperate to, and I decided to wait a few minutes to see what might happen. Sure enough, after four or five minutes of an obvious internal battle she took a deep breath and walked over to the group and asked them if she could play. When the other kids responded eagerly enthusiastically this little girl’s face almost exploded with joy, and at that moment you could see her life change for the better…talk about courage! Even as adults it’s hard to make new friends in new places, so when I saw this play out so beautifully with a seven year old it made my heart want to burst. 

The second thing that happened was with a friend of mine, someone who is  like a brother to me who has been struggling with depression for the better part of two decades. After having spent every day of my life with him for almost twenty five years, I haven’t really spoken to him or seen him for the last ten, and over that time not a day went by that I didn’t think of him and wonder how I could have helped in some small way. Recently though, through the help of a current friend of his, we started to slowly reconnect. He just turned 50 and he somehow, magically, found the courage to make a new start, and to try to take back his life. After fifteen years away from friends and family he quit his job thousands of miles away, found a new one back in his hometown, and has driven back to try and rebuild the bridges that have been burning for a long, long time. Yesterday he sent me a photo with the old gang at a party with a smile on his face…a smile that hasn’t been there for so, so long. Anyway, the courage that it took to to leave it all behind and try to find a new life, a better life, has inspired me to no end. I feel like with that one incredible act of courage he has found some joy for the first time in I don’t know how long, and just like the little girl on the playground, he was welcomed with open arms…so good.

We all need a little shot of courage these days, with everything that is going on in our world, and using a little burst of inspiration from the courage of others can propel us to do the same for ourselves. Maybe it’s a change of habit that you know isn’t working for you, or a small step into the unknown, or a dive out of your comfort zone into a scary place either personally or professionally, or even just a difficult conversation that you’ve been putting off that you know in your heart needs to happen…maybe it’s even just an act of forgiveness that can help to build or rebuild a relationship in your life. As they say, there is no better time than the present, so muster up the courage and face down that fear.

Little acts of courage are happening all around us all the time, in the daily lives of our friends and our students, and with our loved ones, and there is beauty and inspiration in there for the rest of us…open your eyes and heart to it. What courageous thing are you going to do this week? I have a couple of things in mind that I’ve been putting off for awhile now but not anymore. After watching that little girl on the playground, and channeling the courage of my friend, I’m ready and I’m inspired…sometimes you just need someone else to show you the way…even if it’s a little seven year old kid. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

You can choose comfort, or you can choose courage, but you cannot choose both

  • Brene Brown

Inspiring Videos – 


Pizza Delivery Man

TED – Emotional Courage

Related Articles – 

Why Courage is More Important than Confidence

Academic Courage

The Importance of Courage

Courage and Great Leadership

Live a Life of Courage

Setting the Tone

So last Thursday we had our virtual Open House event in the Lower School, and with that last puzzle piece we successfully opened up the new school year. It’s surreal to think that we’ve been in school for almost a month, and in many ways it’s been a whirlwind of uncertainty, patience and flexibility. Mixed in with that however, has been a heavy dose of inspiration and purpose, as there seems to be an added sense of urgency this year with all that is going on in the world. 

Honestly, I think setting the tone for a strong start was more important than ever this year, using that heavy dose of urgent purpose to set goals that are transformational not just for the kids and community, but for our world as well…and we’ve done just that. 2020 is throwing all that it can at us these days, and with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg over the weekend, one of our world’s most incredible and inspiring humans, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. There has never been a more important time to go beyond the regular and ordinary, and to use the events in our world to drive us all to action. 

The world is changing right in front of our eyes on a daily basis, and deep within that change is hope, and promise, and beauty. We need to use these difficult times to engage our students and community in the things that really matter. Things like diversity, equity, and inclusion…things like environmental stewardship and positive change-making, and of course, things like community, relationship building, and student ownership. 

Of course, setting these goals as a school and community is an important first step, but now comes the real work…the follow through, where we commit to this work each and every day. We’ve had a wonderful start, and just like Mark Twain says in the quote below, “the secret to getting ahead is getting started”. With the successful first month behind us it is time to keep this sense of urgency and purpose alive in our day to day interactions with our kids. Like I’ve been saying, we are super fortunate to be back face to face with our students, and we can’t for one day take that for granted.

You never know what 2020 will throw at us in the coming months so we need to do everything that we can while we can. I’ll leave you with some beautiful words from the Notorious RBG, as a reminder of what is really important in the world these days…”If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is – Living not for oneself, but for one’s community”. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

-Mark Twain

Inspiring Videos – 

Electrician Repairs a Life

Fish Chair Tattoo

The Notorious RBG

Related Articles – 

The Power of Relationships in Schools

Why It Matters

Start the School Year Strong

Building Relationships

It’s Time to Reconnect

You Can’t Put a Mask On Love

So last week I wrote about how educators from all around the world are rising up, staring down and accepting the many challenges that this new school year is presenting…in it’s many different forms. From the ever changing government restrictions and school protocols, to the updated and implemented plans for distance learning and online education, it is not only tricky, but incredibly difficult, complex, and absolutely exhausting. This week I want to unpack the WHY behind this incredible and inspiring effort that teachers are exhibiting each and every day, and celebrate the beauty that lies behind the countless hours of hard work and dedication.

If you think critically about all of the webinars attended, articles read, Zoom conversations that have been had, and all of the new professional learning that has been attained over the past  six months, you’ll come to understand that it is all rooted in one thing…a deep love of teaching, which comes with it an unquenchable desire to inspire and engage young people. Educators around the world aren’t doing all of this extra work, and putting themselves in the position of feeling like they are at times drowning because school districts, and Boards, and administrators are telling them to. No, they are doing it because they love to teach, and they want to do it well. 

Much of the anxiety and trepidation and nervousness that teachers are experiencing these days has to do with the feeling of not being able to be the teachers that they ultimately want to be for their kids…being the teachers that they have always been, and it’s scary. We’re all scrambling to find ways to do school well in this new reality, and it’s the dedication and commitment to not letting our young people down that is driving us all forward…and that’s beautiful and inspiring to me.  

The day before we opened up for the year, and welcomed the kids back on campus just over a week ago, we sat together as a faculty and we wrote down our WHY…we took five minutes and we thought about the reason why we teach…and we reconnected with the joy and the love and the purpose that we have as educators. It grounded us and gave us something to hold on to, if and when things get really difficult again. The things that we wrote down on those cards are what keep us all swimming in these rough waters, and putting in all those extra hours trying to find new ways to engage, inspire and connect with our kids. You can put restrictions and protocols in place, and you can lockdown campuses and send teachers into distance learning when necessary, but you can’t put barriers on how much we care about what we do…you can’t lock down the passion that we have for teaching our students, and regardless of the difficult circumstances that educators all over the world are living through these days, you absolutely can’t put a mask on our love. 

We are super, super fortunate here at ASP, compared to the countless number of educators all over the planet, because we are currently back face to face with our kids. We understand that it might change at any moment, so we are not taking any of it for granted. We are grateful and we are inspired and we are being the best versions of ourselves for our students…a little 2nd grader said to me last Friday, as I was holding the door open for everyone in the morning, “Mr. Kerr, I can see your smile through your mask!”, and hearing that I all of a sudden got very emotional. It’s weird and it’s hard and it’s different these days but the love that we have for our vocation will shine through…a mask can’t hold back joy, and it can’t hide a genuine smile…I’ll say it again, and I’ll keep saying it…you can’t put a mask on love.  Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

Quote of the Day…

I am not a teacher, but an awakener – Robert Frost

Inspiring Videos – 

Simple Hybrid

Anniversary Song

What They Really Think

Related Articles – 

Teaching…A Passion

Teacher Ready

The Heart of Teaching

Teaching is Hard

Why We Love to Teach

Challenge Accepted

So we’ve been back to school with students on campus for three days now, with strict restrictions and protocols in place, and I’m feeling very, very grateful. It’s been a lot of work and a lot of planning to get ready for the opening of the school year, and even though the ground may shift from underneath us again at some point this year, having that kid energy back again this past week has fed my soul. 

We are incredibly fortunate to be in this position I know, as so many of our friends and colleagues from around the world are having a very different experience. Starting the year either on distance learning again, or in some form of hybrid situation, and for many educators, even waiting for visas so they can arrive at their schools…it must be so hard, and not at all the way anyone wants to begin the year.

The inspiring thing for me however, is that regardless of the obstacles in place, and despite all of the restrictions and protocols and road blocks in the way, great teachers step up and accept the challenge. Great teachers find a way…always. They do it because they love teaching, and they love kids…and the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter what you throw in front of a great teacher, or what obstacles you put in place, because in the end, you can’t put a mask on love. 

For my first post of the year I want to say thank you to our teachers, not only at ASP but all around the world, who are doing their very best to engage kids, and to develop those initial essential relationships, and to light that fire of imagination and creativity and wonder in their students’ eyes in the midst of very strange and tricky situations…thank you! I know that we are all in for an interesting year, a year like we’ve never seen before, but I’d like to think that I speak for all of the amazing educators here at ASP and all over the planet when I say…challenge accepted. Enjoy this beautiful poem below, which speaks to the excitement of a new school year, and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. Have a wonderful week everyone!

We’re On Our Way to School

By trolley, by train, by foot, by sleigh,

by cab, by car, we’re on our way

 — by boat, by bridge, by bike, by bus,

 on wheels, on wings, each one of us,

 has dreams in our pockets and stories to share

 as we open up doors to school everywhere

 … and a rain might mist, a wind might blow;

 the sun might shine on our morning hello,

 and a storm might brew in the sky, let it try,

 but the magic of wonder won’t pass us by,

 we’re on our way to school.

 — Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Quote of the Week…

Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savouring the journey – Roy T. Bennett

Related Articles – 

Pushing Through Adversity

An Opportunity to Choose Growth

Adversity is the Fuel of Greatness

Overcoming Obstacles

Bouncing Back

Inspiring Videos – 

Painting Tributes

The Neighbour’s Driveway

Surprise Thank You’s

A Saved Seagull

TED Talk – Emotional First Aid

TED Talk – 3 Secrets of Resilient People

57th Anniversary of King’s March on Washington

I Miss the Kids Like Crazy

So as we inch closer to our third month of distance learning, and continue to find creative ways to engage students from home each and every day, I have to admit something…I miss the kids like crazy. There is so much about this new normal that is challenging, and sustaining the emotional energy can be difficult at times for sure, but nothing compares to how hard it has been to be away from the kids for this long. 

When we initially closed the campus and went to distance learning I knew it would be really tough for the first couple of weeks until we found our routines, but then I thought that it would get better, and easier once we settled in…well, I was wrong. For me at least, the longer we meander through this experience, the harder it is getting, and honestly, it’s because the most joyful part of my job as an educator has been taken away. Those day to day, minute by minute, face to face interactions with children that feed my soul, and infuse my heart with joy, and keep my smile burning bright…those interactions are gone, and honestly, I don’t like it. I miss the kids like crazy. 

Do you know what else I miss these days…the noise of the school. I come in every day now to an almost empty building, and the silence has been deafening. The noise of a school in session, with kids bustling all around is the most beautiful sound that you’ll ever hear. That constant hum of laughing and learning, and failure and success, and teaching and determination and vulnerability and love…it’s so good. Before the campus closure, one of the best parts of my day was walking down a hallway and listening from outside the door to the sounds of kids engaged, or standing off in the corner of the playground during recess time and listening to the shouts and squeals of happiness, as kids play and make new friends and learn how to fit in…that noise is definitely music to my ears, and without a doubt, it’s the soundtrack to a beautiful and perfect day, and I miss it!

I miss the belly laughs that I used get every morning when I welcomed the kids to school, I miss being able to change my mood in an instant just by walking into a classroom and seeing the smiling faces, I miss the joyful enthusiasm that literally oozes out of kids when they see their friends or learn something new, I miss being able to change a child’s day for the better with a simple word of encouragement or a high five, and I absolutely miss the hugs. Children are the gifts that all educators have been given and not much compares to the beauty of a child engaged in school.

Honestly, I’ve been pretty good at finding and celebrating the silver linings that have come out of this distance learning experience, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the new learning and the new skills that I’ve acquired over the last ten or eleven weeks. In many ways this experience has made me more resilient, more adaptable and certainly more flexible…but…as much as I try to spin it, and as much as I try to turn this lemon into lemonade so to speak, there is simply no way around it, and I want to shout it out loud for all to hear…I miss the kids like crazy and I want them back! 

Anyway, we’re on the homestretch with only a few weeks to go, and of course we will absolutely get through this together. Keep being incredible for our community and hang in there…we’ll hopefully get the kids back soon. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our kids and good to each other. 

Quote of the Week…

A child is a gift whose worth cannot be measured except by the heart. – Theresa Ann Hunt

Inspiring Videos – 

SGN Episode 8

Graduation Ceremonies