It has been a long winter–we’ve had enough snow to last for several winters. This past weekend, the snow finally began to melt revealing brown grass and mud. Usually, I’m not excited by brown grass and mud, but this year is different. This year, brown grass and mud has a deeper meaning–it’s a subtle sign that better days–warmer, snow-free days–are coming. In the past, I would wait for spring flowers and green buds on trees to celebrate the signs of spring, but this year I’ve realized that there is beauty even in the brown grass and mud.
You are probably wondering how my new-found love for brown grass and mud qualifies as a blog post on my blog that is focused on education. As I thought about it, I realized that there are many similar signs of progress in our classrooms that don’t usually get celebrated just as the brown grass doesn’t usually get celebrated. Consider a student who still doesn’t turn in his assignments (that would be a spring flower if he did), but he does come to class and participate. This is a step in the right direction–it’s the brown grass revealed by the melting snow. I might be tempted to only look at the fact the he hasn’t turned in any work as a negative and miss the fact he’s making a little progress–progress that may naturally lead to more progress if it is nurtured. This week look for examples of brown grass and mud in your classroom. Are you noticing them for the promise that they herald, or for the absence of beauty they possess? Celebrate the brown grass and hang in there because spring is coming.