A few weeks back I went out on a Saturday morning to plant trees around the school where I teach (a necessary distinction, since I have also planted trees around the school my son attends). Yesterday morning as I rode up, I noticed one of the trees had been snapped off at the middle. This was no mean feat, since they were young they were supported by steel poles that had been sunk two feet into the earth next to the saplings. It was a solid effort to get both pole and tree. I sat in my room wondering how and why such a thing would happen. Was it an impaired driver? Was it a passing band of ruffians? Was it one angry kid?
This morning I sat in front of my computer, pounding out the year-end's report card comments. I found myself obsessing once again about the kid in my class I never did reach. He's in another school now. I heard he's already having the same kind of stupid problems there that he had at our school. He's not quite eleven yet. It's like when you lose a tooth and your tongue keeps sliding back into that hole.
I'm not recognizing the kids who were successful. The ones that read when they didn't before I taught them. The ones who want to learn more about whales because we took a field trip to the ocean. The ones that know what seven times seven is because it's Mister Caven's favorite math fact. I'm not seeing the forest for the trees. I'm not seeing the other fourteen trees that are still standing in front of our school. I tend to see the glass as half empty. I know this about myself. So my solution is this: Get a smaller glass.