, 17 tweets, 6 min read
This is the Gold Star by our light switch in #Room407. Purchased at Goodwill for a quarter, it is a symbol of affirmation for our students as they leave each day. For two months, I watched as students would touch, tap, or gently palm the star as they left. But, then, one day. . .
I came back after an absence. I turned on the light switch to find the Gold Star still on the wall but fractured. I was very upset. I felt as though a positive initiative on its way to new tradition had failed. All that held the Star together was the sticker and Command Strips.
I brought the fractured star home and I have kept it in this state for a few weeks now. Students have been upset. They wanted to know when the star would come back. I just didn’t know. Could we put it back and not acknowledge it’s having been broken? I couldn’t see how we could.
And then, appearing on my desk without announcement, there was this gold star. Cut unevenly from a block of wood and spray painted gold, a seeming replacement for our star. But, who? Who listened? Who heard? Who responded? Wouldn’t you like to know? I did.
It was one of the most quiet young women in one of my most animated classes this year. Her friend revealed the restorer is the star to us. And a humble head nodded toward me. She had cut the star that weekend. Sixteen years I had waited for a moment just like this one to happen.
What had been MY idea and initiative was now student-shared. We can say, “Be kind” and still have issues with unkindness. We hang the posters. We say the words. But, do we speak love with consistency? Is it part of our daily dialogue? Mantras soon become rote. Models are real.
But, my curiosity about this new Star was not yet satiated (I am a natural wonder-er and I believe in conscious serendipity). I brought the wooden star home. I had to see if it would mount to the original. It was almost perfect.
Almost perfect. As stars fall to earth, they tend to somehow sparkle and shine, giving what light they have left to a world in need of illumination. Fallen stars are still alive and lively. And, they still can do what they are called to do: to cluster. To align with other stars.
On this rainy Saturday afternoon, I softly sanded down the edges and the sharp points so that we can let these two stars—teacher’s and student’s—to create a new fixture in the room. Strengthened now by one quiet student’s buy-in, all who share this learning space will benefit.
When stars align, new pathways are realized. For each of us. I don’t know who broke our star (and I don’t want to; we’ll simply speak to general hurts and frustrations). I did keep the fracture lines to remind all of us of how quickly we can lose our way.
As I gently restored OUR star, I thought, “This is the nature of stars on earth. Break one. Break many. But we keep looking up, at a star-filled sky each night. They cannot break them all. Especially if we don’t let them.”
And now. . .here is one fractured star repaired. It is strengthened, carved from wood, cast in clay. We share this star stuff, you and I. Before this restored star goes back on the wall, I want to hold it for just a second with the student who helped me to find its shine again.
For as long as I live (and teach), I will speak affirmation. I will speak love. I will look to the heavens above and give thanks for the stars given and the ones I am called to maintain. I think I’ll look this student up in ten years. This star will be my retirement gift to her.
@threadreaderapp: Please unroll me so I can share.
Update: The star has been clear enameled so we don’t rub the glitter off. It feels great to the touch (I’ve already tried it; I swear I felt a charge of energy). This star just may be human-powered and regenerative by touch. Time will tell.
In AWAKENING THE HEART, @GeorgiaHeard1 writes, “Children [do this] for adults all the time; they help us to see the beauty in things we no longer see, that have been obscured by a film of familiarity” (92). I’m going to start looking up a little more. And looking in. For beauty.
Update: Our #Room407 “Gold Star” is back! #THIS407
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