If you noticed I haven’t been online very much if any in the last few days. While the last two months have not been the best the last week has been pretty horrendous. It all started last Wednesday when the bills for automotive repairs came in. With such a larger bill, I decided to cancel my trip to C2E2 in Chicago and I sold my ticket and comic book collection off. Well, as petty as that sounds it started the classic chain reactions to everything. My book, Small Hope on Kickstarter has pretty much shown that I will not be funded. However, it was a family situation that lead to what I still believe to be a ridiculous argument that caused my wife to have a full seizure on Tuesday. She had been seizure free for three months and was hoping to get cleared for driving for the first time in a year. I discovered after the incident that the argument during the past weekend lead to it and my wife was stressed over it too much and she had not had much sleep the last few days and was recovering from a cold. That lead to a spiral of things out of control and me just not wanting to get out of bed as a result. Then yesterday during our monthly meeting the principal wrote the following to the entire staff:
I have to say that really started to turn the day around slowly but I still felt horrible, I said to myself I was just going to be a simple IT guy for the day. Of course I ate those words not even twenty minutes later when I helped one of my seniors with a paper research project. I turned her over to Google Scholar to find peer reviewed journals for her presentation and then helped another one put her Pages file onto her Google Drive folder. They had such big smiles on their faces as a result. I also then turned around and finished up over 40 iPads in less than an hour for a large conference we are having this weekend. While my staff know I’m a fast worker, they were so surprised how I finished it so elegantly and completed updates for the iPads in the process in record time. In fact it worked out great since they are still trying to finish up some last minutes changes but do not have worry about any other technical problems a result of my work. However, this didn’t really pick my spirits up until the end of the school day. I was doing some final checks for a Genius Hour Mystery Skype Call we are making today and my art teacher stopped me. She said: “Mr. Read… would you add something to the chalk murals?” I was surprised because in the last three years I have been here, I was never asked to do one. I even replied I didn’t feel any inspiration and I didn’t want to ruin the wonderful work my 5th graders had already completed. My 5th graders rallied telling me to do something.
I looked up at the first mural and then looked down at the chalk and I said: “I know what is missing.” I picked up two types of purple chalk and a piece of yellow chalk and I drew in no time of a butterfly heading towards the Sun in a meadow on a spring day.
My art teacher and students were just in awe and soon they were wanting to add butterflies, ladybugs and bees to their murals and in less than ten minutes these three beautiful spring murals were on the front wall for everyone to see. For the first time in days, I smiled. I went home feeling a bit of piece and then later last night, I saw that the Apple Distinguished Educator choices were being sent to everyone. While I hadn’t received my notification I said to myself: “It doesn’t matter if I get picked or not, I’m fine with it either way.” Most people at this point would say: “Great, just one more thing to ruin my day because I just haven’t been kicked while I’m down enough.” I wasn’t and I will admit it was close to 9 pm central time for me and I hadn’t received the rejection letter but as it grew later I realized I should have heard either way. I finally tracked down the ADE email to my spam folder that had been emptied into my trash and I read that I was not picked for the ADE Class of 2015. I then filed it in one of my folders and went: “There is always 2017.” I posted my results to my fellow educators on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and then shutdown my computer and went to bed.
I then woke up this morning looked out my window and saw the Sun rising high and I smiled. Something we are always surprised about is when something so small and so petty can end up causing a domino effect that really up roots our lives and causes a series of unfortunate effects for us. I don’t think there is one person who isn’t reading this right now who hasn’t been put in that situation more than once. It can be anywhere from taking your siblings favorite shirt for the day or answering a phone call because you were right next to the phone. Someone ends up making a mountain out of a mole hill out of nothing and because they can’t see past that one moment of anger they end up ruining things for everyone and yet they go back to their lives two minutes later. It isn’t until something horrible happens that they know they started when they realized: “It wasn’t worth getting upset about.” Most would say just to get over it or not let it get to you but when you are made to feel insulted or small with just a few choice words from people you care about and love that’s what hurts the most. You can’t just turn the page at that moment and not worry about things as I just explained in the first paragraph. However, while something so small can cause such damage, something so small can also reverse it in a moment. My art teacher and my students telling me to draw something with a piece of chalk was that moment that turned the day around. I even posted a picture of that mural on my Voxer chat and one of my teachers said: “Take that butterfly Ryan and fly high and to the Sun.” “Let a person be the wind beneath your wings.” That’s what I did.
Before I went to bed last night after finding out I didn’t make the ADE Class of 2015 I wrote down as much it would have been nice to add ADE at the end of my name I want Dr. in front of my name more by 2016/2017 when I plan and am determined to get my doctorate. I’m knee deep in revisions for my candidacy exam and after the last few days my sense of writing was shattered. However, two friends reached out to me and said: “We can help you.” There is the wind beneath my wings right there and now I’m ready to spend the time I would have been in Chicago this weekend to complete these revisions, pass the exam and get started on my dissertation. There is a saying: “One small and petty insult can ruin things for everyone but one kind action can save it.” I had those yesterday and with it I plan on taking those shattered pieces and turning it into something amazing. It won’t be perfect for any means but it will be amazing and I don’t plan on anyone stopping me. With that said, I want to say a big congratulations to my fellow educators who made Apple Distinguished Educator for 2015 and to those like me who will be waiting until 2017 just remember, you make a difference no matter what. As much as I would have loved to go to Florida as a result in July what we do makes a difference and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you aren’t good enough or smart enough and need to change your way of thinking. Because we wouldn’t be where we are now if we did and if someone has a problem with that, then its not worth your time and effort.