I started at Tumbleweed one year ago – August 2014. Its been an amazing year of growth and change as a teacher. One of the big things that stood out as I looked back over this year was how I find myself in a community deeply embedded in respect.
Moving from preschoolers to infants was a huge shift in needed knowledge. When working with infants, I found myself in this whole other world of knowing what my group needed through observation of their behavior and communication – different from being able to ask a 3 or 5 year old. Watching for sometimes subtle movements of sleepiness, listening for the difference between a hungry cry and a “I’m frustrated” cry, and learning how each individual was communicating in their own way.
And while I walked this road for the last year, often finding myself responding to well-known cues almost before they were totally communicated, I realized that none of this closeness and communication would be possible if it wasn’t for the respect found in everything we do.
I am, or hope I am, communicating back to them that what they have to say is important to me and I value it so much that I will stop and listen and try to understand (sometimes a tricky task). After a year of intentionally practicing this and allowing it to become second nature, I have been reflecting how truly beautiful it is – to show such individual respect for every child that walks through the doors of Tumbleweed. Perhaps it feels so wonderful to be a part of a community that cherishes respect because I know this is not always the norm in the larger world community; I feel privileged to be a part of a community where it’s a daily, second-by-second, practice.
So, a year later, I am feeling deeply grateful to be a part of a community that shows how much we value children, in all their beautiful and unique ways, through the respect that we show them from the beginning to end of our days together.