WN Entry: Words of Wisdom (W.O.W.)

Ruth and I collect quotations, which is why we have an entire page devoted to quotes. However, I also like Words of Wisdom. In fact, I have had my two previous classes create “Words of Wisdom” Signs for use in my next classroom. (This is a space where each child has the opportunity to give my future students some insight on how to do well in my class, what I’m like, etc.) Hence, when I came across Barbara Ann Kipfer’s Book, I knew I had to buy it. But just what do you do with nearly 9,000 words of wisdom? Well, one thing I thought of was to use it to inspire some of my own writing. So, here goes:

W.O.W.: When you get on first, make your goal going to second.
One of my former student’s parents (kindly) accused me of helping children reach beyond the stars. I think this was one of the nicest things anyone has ever told me, since I had never told a child to reach beyond the stars. However, I suppose it was implied by the things I said to the children or did in the classroom. To that end, I like this phrase since you have to keep on reaching and pushing. When you succeed, it’s okay to celebrate, but just for a moment, since victories shouldn’t be excessively celebrated… instead they should be used as inspiration to get to the next point (i.e., your next goal).

W.O.W.: Knowledge is received, wisdom is gained.
When I read this statement the first few times, I wasn’t sure I believed it. Afterall, my students pass on wisdom to each other by sharing their W.O.W. with my future students. However, the more I thought about, the more I realized that even though the new class gains wisdom, it’s more like they’re receiving (new) knowledge about how to have a successful year. Therefore, perhaps wisdom is only gained after experiencing something (e.g., being in my class for a year) for a significant period of time. Hmmmm…

W.O.W.: No one knows the weight of another’s burden.
When I was 12 years old both of my grandfathers passed away in the same year. It was dreadful. People constantly tried to tell me that they knew how I felt, but they didn’t. No one knew how hard it was to lose both grandparents (not to mention a great-uncle) in the span of four months! Plus, what was worse was that my Bat Mitzvah was coming and that meant that neither of them would be there for me on that special day. Therefore, as much as others tried to tell me that they understood how I felt, I really didn’t think they did because no one can really understand the weight of another person’s burden.

W.O.W.: Much knowledge is to be gained by listening.
I am often guilty of talking a little bit too much. (I’m a teacher… I’m paid to talk!) However, I’ve come to realize that you can learn a lot more when you keep your mouth shut. For instance, I’m in the process of making my annual calls home to parents of my future students so that I can learn more about their child. While I could yap away about myself, I don’t. Why? Because it’s not important that I tell them all about me… it’s more important for me to have a conversation about their child, since they’re entrusting him/her to my care!

You might notice that I didn’t write a lot. That’s because I think I will use these initial jottings to help me do more writing in my notebook going-forward. (NOTE: This could be a useful exercise to get kids going when they are starting a unit of study on personal essay writing.)