Last night, the grandmother of one of my students sent me this picture. This precious girl wanted me to see what she had drawn from me. It’s a picture of me, teaching, in front of the class. I. Love. It.
I love that after just four days, this little girl was at home thinking about me. I love that she wanted to do something for me. And I love that she was so excited about it, she couldn’t even wait a day for me to see it but instead had her grandmother message it to me. Precious.
There are two things that really stand out about this picture that I’d like to share… besides the love that came with it. The first is the details. The clothes I’m wearing in this picture? The exact outfit I was wearing yesterday to teach… down to the length of my black capris. Oh, it made me smile. The computer on the desk? Yes, I have many cables running down the back just like she drew. Our classroom carpet really is blue and I do have a big, brown, chair that sits behind my desk.
The details she added were details that she noticed in class. Accurate details. She is crazy observant! I messaged my friend and asked if we did, indeed, have blue carpet? Because I am one of the least observant people you will ever meet! I am so impressed that she notices all of those little details and remembers them. Her brain is so special!
Which leads me to my second observation. I teach a beautiful class of students. They are sweet and kind and loving and have many special needs. It is not your typical class… it’s a class that needs extra help, love, and support. Their brains think differently. Some would say disabled, I say different… but that’s a post for another day.
They are students who have learning differences, language delays, emotional struggles, and other major physical health needs. And, like any other class, there are students who have troubled backgrounds and huge life stories that are too big for their 8 and 9 year old little selves.
I love them.
I love the little girl who drew me this picture. One who struggles in school and has one of those huge life stories that most adults would have trouble living through. A little girl who some look at and wonder how she will ever succeed.
A little girl with a great big talent of observation, creativity and artistic ability. This morning I will go into school and pull this picture up on my phone and let her know how much I love it. How proud I am of her for having a mind that is so keen to notice details. How much I love that she drew me in the clothes I was wearing because to notice that about someone shows love. I will thank her and build her up because just like everyone else, she is talented and has strengths that deserve to be celebrated.
Everyone is talented in their own way and no two people are the same. Everyone has strengths and everyone has struggles. Having struggles does not take away from your strengths just as having many strengths does not excuse you from life’s struggles.
My students may struggle in reading or math but they have their own strengths of art, sports, kindness, friendship, music, responsibility, respect, helpfulness, technology, love, empathy, and more. I will do my best to help them learn, acknowledge and celebrate their strengths this year.
You, my friend, also have beautiful strengths, just as you have struggles.
I struggle with anxiety and being overweight and my own value (or lack thereof sometimes). It can be easy to focus on those and feel sad and frustrated and put myself down and become depressed. Yes, it happens.
But I’m also kind, loving, a great Mommy, a wonderful teacher, and a good friend. I can acknowledge where my weaknesses are and work on them… but I also celebrate my strengths and feel good about those. In fact, I think most of our focus should be on our great qualities! Work on your weaknesses, of course, but put most of your focus on the things you are good at it. Feel good about yourself. You deserve it.
The world needs you, with all of your talents and amazingness and even your struggles. You are not perfect (and if you were, we wouldn’t relate to you at all, you alien) but you are made of awesomesauce. Show it off today and while you are at it, look for the greatness in others as well.