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Tara’s One Little Word of 2016

In the past, I have had to go hunting for my One Little Word, but this year I just knew what it would be. 

This word have hovered in my consciousness since last summer, I think. Like the hummingbirds which flitted around our farmhouse porch, this word darted in and out of view, there and yet indistinct.  I felt it again when I walked back into my classroom, it was hiding in the shadows of all the boxes I unpacked , all the books I reshelved, and every desk I cleaned off and readied.   Of course, when “my room” was “our room” again, filled with bright-eyed and exuberant children, I sensed its joyful presence flitting about here and there once again.

But, the Fall also brought sorrow and challenges.  I thought of this word, went searching for it, and felt at times that it was mocking me. Sometimes, it is simply hard to believe.

Then came the holidays, and all my children returned home.  We had a “just us” Christmas, filling our souls with the sounds of each others’ laughter, stories, hopes, and dreams.  In those quiet days, I felt my word slip out of the shadows and into the light at last.

So little in life is for certain; but some things always hold true – I need to believe that they do.

I may be far away from those I love, my parents who live in London in particular.  But I believe that our love  endures, that it travels the many miles on our behalf and wraps its arms around us every hour of every day.

My children may stumble and struggle from time to time, as they try to find their own paths in life.  But I believe that all the love and faith and sense of purpose that my husband I have tried to instill in them from their very first moments, will lead them to their true north.  I believe in them.

There will always be challenges in my work; education, after all, is a battleground of conflicting values and agendas these days.  So much that impacts my profession is beyond my control, and navigating its stormy (often muddy) waters can at times be exhausting, and at others seem pointless.  But I believe that there is something essentially sacred about teaching; we have a chance to make every school day count in the lives of our students, to commit ourselves anew to their learning lives, to live the spirit of this, shared by Kylene Beers this morning:

Kylene's wise words

Yes, my word is out and about with me these days…I believe.


Tara Smith View All

I teach Writing Workshop, Language Arts and Social Studies to sixth graders at a middle school in suburban New Jersey. This blog is my attempt to capture all the "stuff" that goes into my teaching life - the planning, the dreaming, the reading, the preparing, the hoping and (above all) the kids.
Please note that the content of this blog is my own. It does not reflect the opinions of my employer.

33 thoughts on “Tara’s One Little Word of 2016 Leave a comment

  1. Beautifully written, Tara. And your word choice is all too fitting. We need some extra belief these days as a reminder that what we truly believe and know to be best for our students is what we need to keep in our hearts. Our thoughts get tangled in the news and listening to politicians and misinformed news outlets. We need to continue to believe in education. I am right there with you holding up my BELIEVE sign!! Continue to believe in your students, education, your family and children, and especially yourself, Tara.


  2. “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” Believe–what a great OLW, Tara. Thank you for sharing your discovery of this word so eloquently. Wishing you a wonderful 2016.


  3. Believe was my word a couple of years ago. I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I thought of you and your three and your husband this year at Christmas–I believed. I believed it could be possible for me. And I needed that. So glad you are you.


  4. Tara, it is so exciting to have a friend share the same OLW with me. Last year, Julieanne and I shared listen and we had some interesting comments to each other along the way. This year, I can do the same with you. To believe in a lifetime of peace and happiness holds the magic of the journey this year. Positivity counts!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “But I believe that there is something essentially sacred about teaching;” This is it! This is why we stay. I need to print out Kylene’s list and tape it to my classroom door. Someone ( who shall remain nameless) may pass by and be enlightened. (esp. #8) Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I saw Kylene’s post yesterday too. What a wonderful commitment. I was lucky to write with a group of 6th graders today for their first SOL. What a treat! I believe in the power of words to touch lives and that the work we do is sacred. You’ve have a wonder-filled journey ahead of you with this powerful word.


  7. I love how you describe your word’s entry into your life over the last few months. And you put it so well- yes- there is something essentially sacred about teaching (and learning) and that really is at the heart of what teachers believe. Happy New Year and new word.


  8. Tara, I found your post to be especially touching today for its blending of poignancy with deep commitment. It is hard to believe these days when everyone is being challenged professionally and in their everyday lives. I, too find myself examining my beliefs often…a kind of soul searching. You wrote about your process of finding your OLW so beautifully and thoughtfully.
    Thank you for sharing that with us today.


  9. Wow! I too have chosen “Believe”. I have this word up during Christmas but it really has struck me that it would serve me well all year long. So, as I pack up my decorations this weekend…this word will stay:)


  10. Tara,
    Such an exquisite post. Love Kylene’s words and especially “books save lives” – One reason that we must make sure that our students choose to read and want to read!
    Perfect #OLW for you!


  11. Wonderful #olw How important it is too “Believe” I have been reading such inspirational posts for #oneword2016 Our students are in good hands with the dedicated teachers who focus on them. I loved the words you shared from Kylene Beers this evening on #g2great chat and now here in your post!


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