Saturday, October 20, 2018

Looking at the Heart

Deadlines. Seems I've had many of those these last few weeks.

But this morning, with visions of fall break swimming in my cereal bowl, I felt like I could breathe a little easier, take things a little slower. Lesson plans are done for our two-day week, grades are finalized for the first grading period. I seem to be caught least for the moment.

My fingers feel the itch to write something besides my Master's work and my research study. I thought maybe a blog post might be on the morning agenda, seeing how it is the National Day on Writing.

As I clicked on my own blog, I found my way to Ruth Ayres' blog. In her blog post, she wrote about her encounter with A.S. King at a literacy conference this past week. It seems they both presented on similar topics, as Ruth also presented about kids in trauma and how stories heal. Once again, her words went straight to my heart.

Then I saw this tweet over in her sidebar. See those words, "what if we looked at the heart instead of the behavior?"  I read those eleven words, and I lost it. The release of the frustration and the helplessness and the feelings of defeat from the past few weeks just took over.

Then came the guilt, exposed by these same words.

I have students who come from hard places:   places without love and loved ones, places without safety, electricity and food, and places without hope.

I know that.

But lately, I have been looking at their behaviors instead of their hearts.

I have been taking the easy way out.

I have been blaming them.

I have been looking outward and not inward.

...and that needs to change.

I wrote a post about how everyone needs a Ruth in their lives. I still believe that, but I think it is time to change that statement to "How can I BE a Ruth?"

Thank you, Ruth, once again for sending your words out into the world and for opening my eyes and my heart in those moments when, yes, I need a Ruth.


  1. Self-compassion, dear friend. Let the guilt go. You have learned from Ruth that it is not easy with kids from hard places. Your students need you, and I have no doubt that you are "Ruth" for them.

  2. Yes, you will be those kids Ruth. How lucky we are to know Ruth who influences and teaches us every time we read her words, read others words about her, see her for ourselves. Carry on Leigh Ann, you have the heart for this.

  3. You've got this, Leigh Anne. Its a course correction. Your inner GPS is saying, "recalculating" as you shift into HEART gear. It's the October "tremblies" when the wheels seem to come off. You caught it!

  4. It is so easy to find ourselves seeing only the behavior and not the true child. I struggled with this all year last year with one particular child. I tried hard to get his other teachers and the administration to see the heart, but over and over again, his behavior overshadowed. This is hard work and I admire you for your vulnerability in this post. You can do it because the first step is recognizing the need.