Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Classroom Set-Up + A Letter from Home

photo of: Classroom Decor and More: Letters from Home (LinkUP via RainbowsWIthinReach)

Welcome to Rainbows Within Reach! 
A new-to-me blogging buddy called me, "Reachable Rainbows." 
LUV LUV LUV that idea: reachable-rainbows.
Reaching rainbows.  
I have a story to share. 
Sit down with a warm drink and open your heart. 

Once upon a time there was a teacher who'd spent the summer in preparation and anticipation. She'd worked hard organizing materials and getting ready for a new set of students. She received her class list and met her students and realized abruptly that there were many in her room who had challenges. She was crest-fallen to realize just how much work lie ahead. 

Truth be told she felt weary at the very thought of the work, of what-would-be-necessary. Sigh. The new year had barely begun and already at day number one there was such a sense of a heavy-teacher-heart. 

All of those weeks of preparation had barely scratched the surface for the difficult work that was hers for the coming months. Trudging into school the next morning she was handed an envelope from home. Opening the two page letter inside, the down-trodden teacher read the outpouring of a mother's love. 

There on the pages was the heart-felt, handwritten story of genuine challenge and loss. It was also the story of grief and agony that included an outline of previous bully-behavior at an earlier school. It spelled out the mother's heart break over teachers who seemingly dismissed the bullying and included a sad description of apparent teacher indifference. Wiping tears now. 

  • All of the calling and dedication re-surfaced in a heart beat. 
  • All of the motivation and inspiration returned in an instant. 
  • All of the purpose and enthusiasm came streaming back in a wink. 

She clutched that mother's epistle to her heart.
Reading its conclusion through tears this time -- 
she reads with new found commitment.

The conclusion of the letter is where the mama bear details the excitement in her son for this new start, this new opportunity, this new teacher who sparkled just yesterday. 
And the mommy thanks the teacher for her kindness.

And just like that? 
Hope is reborn. 

This is a true story. 

The heroine of the story is overheard telling the tale to her peers. 
Her retelling was a test of the strength of water-proof mascara.
We have such a powerful profession. 
"I need a reminder of how important a role 
I play in the lives of these kids."
That letter is going in her Sunshine File. 

Have you taken the time to write a letter to a teacher? 
Have you reminded them of the depth of your trust in their capability? 
Have you communicated your appreciation for the foundation that has already been laid by others? 

The bulletin boards have been prepared. The new ideas have been pinned onto cyber boards as reminders of what is possible. With every new launch we excitedly share our many ideas and strategies. Yet at the very core of all of the preparation is the reality that some of the children we serve have already lived a life of extreme challenge and difficulty. Some of the students we teach are searching for a light. For some students, we are their light. 

The truth of the matter is that we are the bearers of the light. We are the ones who beckon and encourage. We are the ones who wink at progress that might go unnoticed by a heart with less preparation. We are the ones that turn reluctance into strength. Turn incapability into ability. We are the ones that nurture and reinforce. Mold and shape. We are the teachers. 

Thank goodness for that mama bear and her letter writing capability. Thank goodness that she still held out hope despite her repeated experience in the face of hopelessness. Thank all that is good that she kindled that hope-of-steel in the face of all that had happened. Thank goodness.... she wrote. 

What about those students who don't come to school the second day with a letter tucked lovingly into their backpack, in defiance of all of their previous experience? What about the children of parents for whom hope was made of tissue and not steel? What about those individuals who have given up in the face of indifference? The ones incapable of letter writing?

What about those wonders who have hard edges and attitude that gets misunderstood in the face of unrelenting testing and evaluation? Who will write their letter? Who will write on their behalf? Who will advocate for that child of the village? 

A new year is at hand. A new year is beginning to unfurl. What can we do to support one another? What can we do to hold up the letter writers? What can we do for those loved by a letter writer?

What can we do for those without a letter? What can we do to encourage those with a Sunshine Folder? What can we do to ensure that Sunshine Folders grow fatter with examples of inspiration and encouragement? How can we continue to give our best when the chips are down? 

What would happen if? How can we improve? 

What if every classroom was filled with inspiration and excitement? What if every classroom had a chair ready to enthrone today's author with today's story? What if every teacher, over-flowing with ideas, had the support of a system ready to help safe-guard those tissue-like dreams, cultivating them into the stuff-of-steel? 

What if the hokey-pokey IS what it's all about? What if we put our whole self in? What if we shake ourselves about? What if we remember why we got into this in the first place? 

I invite you to ask questions. I invite you to seek answers. I invite you to link your classroom here with other like minded dreamers with Sunshine Folders. Let's spin straw into gold this year. Let's. 

This is a true story. Would you pin something here as a gift for your peer who may need that reminder? I'd appreciate it. 

-- Debbie -- 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing my story! I hope it brings hope and encouragement to all who hear it just like that letter inspired and ignited a fire in my heart to reach out and help these children who need that love and encouragement to succeed and ultimately learn!! I think sometimes we all need a little reminder of the impact we can make with just one word or bit of encouragement that we give to our kids and just how much we can also negatively impact our children with our words and actions. I feel so blessed to have this child in my class and I hope I live up to their expectations! I worked a little bit harder today to give him the tools he needed to feel successful today at school! Let this be a lesson to us all!! We DO make a difference! Keep on keeping on teacher friends!! :) okay, I'm off my soapbox!

    1. Ginger, I'm honored to share your story with readers here. You've touched many hearts every year and this year you have a very special opportunity. Wishing you a very happy series of moments, that turn into days -- to add to your Sunshine File. You're making a difference for so many. Here's to another one!


  2. Replies
    1. You are very welcome, Mrs. Parker. It is beautiful, indeed + worth sharing.


  3. So many colors! So much inspiration. Thanks for a wonderful story.

    1. You are very welcome, Richard. I'm grateful for your taking the time to offer some feedback. It means a lot to me.



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Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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