I listened to Kathleen Budge talk about poverty and what teaching practices can be used to increase student engagement and student effort. I wrote down a quote. I don’t know if Ms. Budge said it or if she shared the quote. But the quote stuck with me: “It is the ordinary that matters.”
“It is the ordinary that matters.” Yes – I agree. In the classroom it is the ordinary that matters. It is the day to day routines. It is the way the teacher interacts with students on a daily basis. It is the relationship that is established and the shape it takes each day.
Sometimes we think we have to do extraordinary things to impress children and gain their attention. In the end, what really matters is what we do each and every day. It’s all in the little things.
Consider this example – A man surprises a woman with a house full of flowers or some other great gift. But the rest of the time, he treats the woman with disregard and downright meanness. Will the flowers really matter in the long run? Or will the day to day treatment be what matters in the scheme of things?
With young children, it is the ordinary that matters. It is the dandelion in the yard waiting to be picked by little hands. It is kissing boo boos. It is snuggling and reading a story. It is meeting the needs of the child. It is the day to day routine that shows love and caring. This is what matters.
The “ordinary” classroom builds a foundation. The routines and the interactions that take place each and every day lay a foundation for learning. It is the ordinary things that matter – how the teacher greets the students, who the teacher calls on, how behavior is managed, how students are taught to interact with each other…
Today is just an ordinary Sunday for me. I went to church – just ordinary, it reminded me of God’s love for me. I came home and ran a mile – just ordinary, it keeps me healthy. I ate – just ordinary, food and drink keep me alive. I swam – just ordinary, this relaxes me. I talked with my husband – just ordinary, it shows our love; he is my best friend. Now I wait for my children to come with their families as we share our regular Sunday supper – just ordinary, but it provides a sense of belonging & family time. Later tonight I will go to bed – just ordinary, it provides me with rest. There’s so much more in between, but you get the picture. It’s just ordinary things – ordinary things that really matter.
So next time your child tells you it was an ordinary day at school. I hope that means that the ordinary day was filled with little things that matter such as laughter, reflection, caring, learning new things, time talking with peers, sharing… “It is the ordinary that matters.”
I am ordinary, nothing great – just ordinary. Maybe that’s not so bad. And to me each ordinary child is a gift from God. An ordinary gift to be cherished and loved – and these ordinary children can go on to do ordinary things – ordinary things that make our world go round. Without those ordinary things – where would we be? “It is the ordinary that matters.”