I have unshakable faith in children. They always show me the way. ♥

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

organized chaos...

When I was in high school my family owned and operated a restaurant. I worked various jobs at the restaurant over my years in high school and college, the most common being the front desk as a hostess (I can be quite charming at times).

On nights when the restaurant was busy, I often found myself highly stressed and not enjoying work all that much. It was too chaotic, too unpredictable.

My father, though? He loved it.

I distinctly remember making arrangements for several parties of two and four, sending another party to the lounge to wait for a table, escorting a party to their table and sending my father to seat another group. Back at the front desk, I took a moment to breathe, to look at the seating chart and do a bit of mental rearranging. I remember wishing I could fast forward through the next few hours so I wouldn't feel so stressed with seating and tables and numbers and checks and menus and organizing.

I remember looking up to see my father walking back from seating a party with his eyes shining and an enormous grin on his face.

"I love this shit!" he said to me in a voice full of pure happiness.

It was his place. And while I just tried to get through it, my father thrived on the chaos and unpredictability of nights like that.

In first grade today our Writing Workshop buzzed and hummed and twirled. We're finishing up non-fiction books about animals and my students have been getting ready to publish their stories on the computer. I'd signed out the laptop cart and set up eight laptops on tables, logged in and dropped the book templates into each student's folder so they could access it and start typing.

Eleven students worked on computers with various questions, excitement, and frustrations. Six children worked on the rug, trying to finish their own work for publication, while others were at tables around the room, doing the very same thing.

Computers froze, left arrow keys stopped working, papers were misplaced and exciting words were written. I probably walked a quarter mile during Writing Workshop today, moving from student to student, solving issues and having mini-conferences.

My hair fell out of it's clip and tickled my nose as I talked with one of my students who'd just finished typing her story. I looked around at the blissful chaos of my classroom and thought:

"I love this shit."

[Please pardon the profanity. I blame my father for the sentiment in the first place. I'm sure he'll take full responsibility. :) ]


Dad said...

I do take full responsibility for the profanity. I truly admire your devotion and passion for what you do! Perhaps there is a better way to express our feelings. I'll think on that one.
Bahamas was fabulous, diving, fishing, swimming, smoked salmon for breakfast...hey, don't get much better than that.
we'll call to fill you in..Dad

Michelle said...

You are inspiring to me. Thank you!!!

kirsten said...

Dad -- I did figure that you would. And if you could get back to me on an alternative, that would be great. :) (I'd love to hear about the Bahamas!!)

Michelle -- thank you for saying so! ♥