The year is three quarters finished or at least it is for me. I am a teacher. A seventh grade language arts teacher and the third quarter finished Friday. We have one week before Spring Break begins and then the long march through April and May to finish the year. This year, we’ll be marching, probably more like stumbling, into the first full week of June.
Spring arrived this week on Thursday at 11:57 AM CDT local time. My students have been measuring sunrise, sunset, and the amount of daylight for locations across the globe – ranging from Tromso, Norway at 70°N to Stanley, Falkland Islands at 52°S and places in between. We began measuring last September on the occasion of the autumnal equinox and have been checking every month on the 22nd ever since. The students have gathered a lot of data. However, the lesson they learned was that Earth’s tilt is changing constantly and Thursday they realized that no matter where a person was on Earth Thursday the sun shone a tad bit more than twelve hours – the variance among the 32 locations we checked was ten minutes: from 12 hours and 16 minutes at the northern and southern extremes to 12 hours and 6 minutes nearest the equator. WOW. Spring is here, finally.
It has been a hard winter and there are reminders everywhere. The yard is a mess, but there are still piles of snow – ugly brownish, grey, piles of crusty snow along the street and by the mailbox where we had piled the snow to get the cars out of the driveway. There are a few bits of white snow left along the north side of the house and in the corner of the yard where the trees shade the sun and keep it from warming the earth beneath it. There are twigs broken from the trees and the grass is matted from winter’s heavy blanket of snow. Soon, the crocuses will begin poking out of the soil seeking the sun, then the daffodils, followed the trees sprouting leaves, and then the hostas and other perennials as another spring comes into full bloom. For now, it is still chilly and there is the possibility of snow this week. We aren’t really completely out of the woods until Mother’s Day in May – the traditional day of the final frost of the season. Regardless, we will continue to gain sunshine, daylight, and the warmth from the sun. It’s an endless cycle.
I also came across something fun to brighten my week Thursday afternoon and I wanted to pay it forward – even if it is a tad bit late. Thursday, March 20th was the International Day of Happiness as proclaimed by the United Nations. I discovered it when I checked CNN for news of the Malaysian airplane. I learned nothing new I and scrolled down the page for other interesting news before shutting the computer down for the day. I came across the challenge – “Bet you can’t watch this without smiling” and I clicked. And, I smiled. You can, too.
I had been in a happy mood all day long. I had morning bus duty. My job is to greet the buses as they arrive and mark the times they pull into the parking lot. I always do my best to put on a happy face for the students. I high five and greet them with a friendly morning. That morning I wore my shades and had my iPhone in my coat pocket playing Pharell Williams’s song “Happy,” set to repeat. The sun was shining and it was the beginning of a new day, full of possibilities. I could faintly hear the music over the buses and the kids, but I could hear it.
Later, I played the song and a couple of others in class during my student’s work time in ELA. It was a happy day.
Thursday, led to Friday, and then Saturday, and now it’s Sunday morning. Next week looms, but it too will be happy, full of possibilities. My geography students are still gathering banana stickers – we have over 500 and we’ll count them after spring break. My ELA classes are finishing their third unit, My Mask, Myself, and starting to write their literary analysis. They’ve grown so much this year and my job with them is slowly ending. After spring break, we’ll be wrapping up our time together as they morph into eighth graders. Next year, I will get a new batch of seventh graders and my job will begin anew. It’s an endless cycle.
For now, it’s Sunday morning – the sun is shining, the birds are singing and it’s gonna be a happy day, the first day of a happy week. I know it, I can feel it, there’s happiness in the air. So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time.
What makes your day a happy one? Or what is gonna make your day a happy one?