My Big Search (Part I)

My desk is a mess.  My students are a mess.  My plans for next week are a mess.  It all looks like my backyard…springtime.  The snow has melted and the rain has saturated everything, leaving behind the soft, spongy beginnings of new life.  But it hasn’t emerged yet, this new life, and all that is there is mud, just like my classroom at 3pm on a Friday.

Spring is not a new or creative metaphor for life, and soggy, messy mud pits hold such promise for imagery…but I am not even approaching metaphorical contemplation.  I am, literally, just trying to figure out how to 1) give (quality) feedback on all this student writing and 2) find the time to sift through the bins of past years’ material to find the Just Right poem for Monday morning.

But I’m not really doing either of those things, because I am writing.  I am searching for direction and searching for the words and just searching in general.  (Which I seem to do a lot, lately.)  The problem is that I don’t know where to take my writing and I don’t know which words will fit together comfortably on the line…and I don’t know how to write about my Big Search because I don’t even really know what that is.

I met with a student today about his reading and he confessed to me that he had not been finishing anything that he read.  This was a shock to me, as he is a voracious reader.  He said he started a few different novels, but abandoned them all.  Then he switched to non-fiction, but found himself just reading a few chapters here and there before moving on to another book altogether.  He didn’t know why he was leaving this trail of rejected books in his wake, but he said he was looking for something and just wasn’t finding it.  Aren’t we all?  I told him that this was all okay, that this was all part of being an independent reader, and sent him to the library to browse some more.  He did not return with a book, but only gave me a weak shrug when he walked back into the room empty handed.  I returned his shrug, hoping that my mirroring gesture would convey that he was not alone on his quest.

In a few minutes, I’ll close up my room, knowing that the messes will get straightened out just as the grass will grow in my yard.  My student will find his way back into a story and the mud pits will dry out.  I have witnessed many, many springs and they each, predictably, bring renewal and hope.  As I watch the days lengthen and feel the temperatures warm, I doubt I’ll end my Big Search, but I am hopeful that I will find a way to name it.


7 thoughts on “My Big Search (Part I)

  1. I love the image of things being muddy. I’ll have to remember that when I’m feeling like everything I do is a mess–no it’s muddy and the grass will grow eventually. 🙂 I just want to write, “I love it all” on every single one of your posts. But the teacher in me knows that’s not really useful feedback, so here’s one line that stood out to me: “it hasn’t emerged yet, this new life, and all that is there is mud, just like my classroom at 3pm on a Friday.” I love how you weave concrete things with metaphorical meaning. I think of your writing when I write my own posts, but haven’t yet learned how to do that as you so gracefully do. I’m going to continue using your posts as mentor texts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy, great connection to the mud and sogginess of “almost” spring to the classroom. My room will be in the muddy and soggy state until the end of June. Hopefully, my students won’t be.:) As for “almost” spring, it snowed while I was running tonight. Thanks for a great “end of the week” post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Even the mud has a purpose. Sometimes losing something, searching, ignites some urgency in us just as the mud which covers teaming life creates both an obstacle and a necessity. I loved reading your piece and how you walked us through this whole process.

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