This morning I was searching for an article that had been shared on social media and really spoke to me about a topic on educator well being I am exploring with Jelena Popovic as part of our facilitation work in the amazing Greenville District schools, and I found this instead (of course many tangents are available in social media land).
It is a from Parker Palmers' page, so I quote him.
"I treasure this Elizabeth Jennings poem about the honesty, humility, self-knowledge, and love in “Rembrandt’s Late Self-Portraits.” Happy are those elders who can look in the mirror and say, “My face is as wrinkled and worn as an oft-folded map. But that face is a map of my life—and I’m grateful for both the journey and this record of it!”
It brought me back to my work teaching this week, and to contemplate teacher well being on a deep level. For me, teaching is a community endeavor and educator well being is necessarily dependent on the contributions of the community.
Last week my good friend and teaching colleague, Amanda Campisi, had coordinated with a group of elders who are part of a drama club to come into our school and put on a play for our youngsters. The love, care and attention that extended from the elders to the children was exquisite and spoke of the wisdom, tenderness and knowing of their life experiences. Best of all, they had time to be present, to be in presence, with the children. They were humble, they were not "entertainers", there was nothing flashy. They read their lines from papers. They brought simple props and costume pieces. It reminded me of Mr. Rogers. The pace and simplicity was right for the children. It's hard to describe in words on the Facebook page, but it took us out of the frenzy of this time into a wisdom journey that elders offer so exquisitely to children.
I am so grateful and nourished. And that's teacher well being.
I want to say thank you to our elders for that well worn map of life that you wear upon your face, and for the way you bring your wisdom, almost as a whisper but with the strength and experience of all your days.