by Nicole Costales
Have you ever found yourself asking, “Can I just have a moment?” What moment are you really searching for? How does it look? More importantly, how does it make you feel? My first thoughts go to moments of quiet. Peace, solitude, and calm are just a few words that come to mind. But when I really think of my favorite moments, I see many of the same faces you see when you arrive at Hollywood Schoolhouse. My favorite moments are those of rumbling, laughter, and happy reunions. The look on a student’s face when they see you after a long summer vacation. Hugs between bells. Spontaneous stories in the hallways. The initial feeling of having made a connection with someone new. Now, that’s a moment!
Over the summer, I took time to recalibrate my plan for when September would come. I reflected on all the moments of the past school year. There were highs, lows, and “I don’t knows.” I took out the curriculum books, the different colored pens, the calendar, and the binders with past plans and future endeavors. In that moment, I was stressed. In that moment, I was excited. In that moment, I realized I had the power to decide how I would actually feel.
As I began to plan, something caught my eye. The “Photos” icon on my laptop was doing its dance in the dock. I had forgotten about the most recent imported memories, so I clicked on it to relieve it from its bouncing. When the application opened, something incredibly special happened. I saw all the smiling faces of my past students. The photos, although I didn’t realize them when they were captured, were moments that I didn’t want to forget. They were connections threaded together with joy, trial and error, good times, hard times, tears, and lots of smiles. Our photos were proof that our connections lasted the whole year through. And so, I thought, instead of starting with the books and the plans, I had to start by thinking of the students who I would be sharing a whole new year with. How would I connect? How would I make the moments count?
After jumping into the routine of being back, I must admit something that I have always known about myself…September scares me! For my entire life, I have been in the role of either student or teacher. In either of those roles, September equates to everything being new, and the moments, even if familiar, are not ever the same. For a while now, I have revisited a TED talk given by Rita Pierson that I feel connected to whenever September comes around. The following always resonates with me, “Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”
As we make our way back into the routines and procedures that a new school year demands, there is power in this moment. In our classroom, connection is key, and I do believe that every child deserves a champion. Bubba Bear, our class stuffed animal, is a special Kindergarten friend who champions every child by investing in them from day one. It is through him that I reach every student. He shows empathy, exudes compassion, instills kindness, and gives love. Every day, it is through him that I try to learn something new about the students who I have the honor of sharing this moment in their lives with. He makes every moment better.
If there’s anything I have learned about the connections in Kindergarten, it is that there are plenty, they are honest, and they are long-lasting. In addition, they are not found in books, charts, or the daily routine. In this moment, I realize that there are many possibilities for us all. I kindly ask that wherever the moment takes you, always stay connected.