toujours marcher le front haut

My mind is in a million places this morning – it has been for last several weeks.

B, my wife, is home with her mother, where she needs to be. Last weekend, we – the kids and I, along with Ivy, traveled up north to do fall cleanup at the cottage. We started yard work Friday afternoon but stopped. It rained all Saturday and I did not want to get wet, so we did our fall cleanup on Sunday morning and afternoon. It felt good to be away and be up north.

We came home Sunday night knowing we had a tough week ahead.

The kids and I have been on our own since last Thursday – over a week – and the week has been hectic – I had parent teacher conferences Thursday evening and all day Friday. O had a recognition breakfast at her school yesterday morning and I was able to go. I am in impressed with her, and her brother. They are great kids and B and I are blessed, though sometimes we don’t realize how blessed we are.

My mind has drifted back to July 2009 off and on for the last several weeks. It was when my dad had moved to hospice. My brothers and I would visit his bedside and talk to him – he was unconscious and Warren, David, and I would talk and tell ‘dad’ stories – funny stories to us, and maybe to him. I think he heard us, but more importantly, it was for us – to remember him for how he lived and how he shaped us.

It’s been over six years since he passed away and over five years since we spread his cremains in norther France.

My mind has been on school and my teaching – I was observed in my class over a week ago – it’s part of the evaluation process and it is highly stressful. I got my feedback Wednesday afternoon and it was good, very good. My principal, my evaluator, gave me some goals to work toward and that is on my mid as well, one of the million or so things on my mind.

I received an e-mail from one of my students yesterday and I discovered it this morning. I read her e-mail and watched the video clip she sent. I laughed. Here is video…..

It was a clip from a song from the play Hamilton. It made my morning and I was already in a reflective mood, so I responded. Here it is what I sent my student.

Good morning,

As you may know, I purchased the soundtrack from iTunes the weekend after I showed the video in class and have been listening to it since – the music is catchy and I find myself listening to the lyrics – which is unusual for me. I am reading Hamilton by Ron Chernow – the inspiration behind the soundtrack – it’s a challenging read, so I can only manage a chapter or a part of a chapter at a time.

Yesterday at the book fair, I picked up Auggie and Me by RJ Palacio – it’s a companion book to her book, Wonder. If you haven’t read Wonder, you should – every middle school kid (and teacher) should read it. Augie and Me contains three companion stories that run parallel to Wonder.  The first story is “The Julian Chapter.” I originally had downloaded it for free and began reading it when I taught 7th grade ELA in the spring of ’14. I stopped reading it – because honestly I didn’t like the character of Julian, and I couldn’t ‘listen’ to him anymore. For some reason, I started reading it again last Christmas morning. I couldn’t stop until the end. I am glad I finished reading it.

I re-read it this morning and I walked away with the same reaction – we all have good in us, somewhere. Julian is not a bad kid, he made some bad choices which led to a bad situation.

Puisses-t-il toujours marcher le front haut dans le jardin de Dieu.

Which is French for, ‘May he forever walk tall in the the garden of God.’

and he realized that sometimes it is okay to start over.

I am not about to start over, I believe in making my days count and challenging my students, and everyone around me, to make their days count.

We all have some deep core belief that guides us, mine is to make the days count.

Thank you for making my day and being one of my students.

Monday is gonna be a great day and I can hardly wait – have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you, and all 123 of your classmates Monday morning.

Semper sharkus

Mr. Watkins

My history classes are in between units. We finished our Constitution unit Thursday, my students had the day off Friday for parent teacher conferences, and we begin a new unit Monday. It’s going to be fun. I have history tests to grade and more planning this weekend than I realize or have time – we have our own fall cleanup today.

I thought of Julian and the lesson he learned and how that relates to me and I thought of my dad, my mother-in-law, and so much more.

We don’t have a choice in what happens to us in the end, but we do have a choice in how we live. I choose to make the days count.

toujours marcher le front haut

Today is gonna be a great day, I know it and I can feel it. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one of a million places I’ll be today.

What’s on your plate today or this weekend?

NOTE: “toujours marcher le front haut” is taken from the book, Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacia

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4 thoughts on “toujours marcher le front haut

    1. Phil – Thank you for your kind thoughts. I saw your comment and I’ve been too overwhelmed with life – school and home – to respond. My favorite mother-in-law passed away early this morning. It is never easy when loved ones pass, but we know our time on Earth is finite. Thank you. Have a great week.

  1. We just had our PTC a couple weeks ago. I wish I had had more parents visit (I’m the school nurse), but by middle school, some I think are getting tired. I hope your year is going very well. I am sorry to hear of your mother-in-law. My husband is also having a challenging year at the college level. I appreciate what you do!

    1. Thank you! I am sad to know my mother-in-laws time is near, I will remember how she lived and how she made my wife who she is……as for me, the year is going well, a few hiccups here and there – but I am using them to model how I learn. We all learn by taking risks and evaluating the results – I will never get EVERYTHING RIGHT – that is just an unreal expectation…. thanks for stopping by – have a wonderful week.

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