The first bolt of lightening:
One year ago this week, I was recognized as one of seven Early Childhood Educators in Massachusetts. It was an honor, and a celebratory event. I stood among top educators and also the movers and shakers in the field of Early Education. This event has now come full circle at school, exactly one year later. It’s a really good story. Oh, how I love to tell a story.
The conversation in the car with my husband headed to the event last year focused on what I might say.
“Will they give me a microphone to make a speech?”
“Of course they will.”
I knew that. I was just coming to grips with the reality of preparing myself. I had no idea what I would say. Then the moment came and the microphone was put into my hand. People stepped aside, like the Red Sea parting. I hoped they weren’t waiting for Moses…
I talked, and I told wonderful stories about children and teaching. The audience was all ears, particularly one man in the front row. He sat forward with his elbows on his knees and his hands under his chin. He kept listening and scooting forward to hear every word.
There was a tap-tap-tap on my shoulder. I was being told to wrap it up as others needed a chance to speak. Gee, I could have talked and told so many more stories. As I left, the man in the front row introduced himself as Tom Weber, the Commissioner of Early Education in Massachusetts. He is the man directly under the Governor. We struck up a wonderful conversation. “Jennie, I want to hear the rest of that story!” Of course I invited him to visit my classroom and school. We exchanged emails, and that was how the evening ended.
Three is the charm, they say. After three scheduling attempts, Tom Weber visited me and my school this week.
The second bolt of lightening struck.
He was wonderful! Well, I wasn’t surprised as I had discovered that a year ago. What was new was watching his interactions with children. He never forgot a name, listened carefully to everything a child was trying to say, and genuinely had fun. In my classroom children were busy in a Pizza Parlor.
“Tom, are you hungry for some pizza?”, I asked.
Of course he was! I had the pleasure of stepping aside and watching the Pizza Parlor in action. It is good to know that the person in charge of Early Education in our state is equally and actively engaged with young children. Ground roots. I had to drag him away…it was time for the whole school to sing for him. Our songs of peace and bucket filling (doing kind things for others) were terrific. Every child belted out the words with heart. Then, we sang “Love Grows”. Well, Tom Weber figured out the hand signs in a heartbeat and sang along. Loud! As children left, he high-fived or smiled, or simply dropped to his knees to greet a child. Children know. They couldn’t get enough!
Posing with Tom Weber, and a group photo with our school’s Director and Assistant Director. It was a big day. Big for the children and for the school. It was the second strike of lightening for me.