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edu180atl: tori mcclanahan 2.22.12

In the front hall of my school there is a large aquarium. Filled with grey fish, a old fake volcano lazily spurting out bubbles, and faded green plants, it isn’t exactly a visual feast, especially set against a dull cream wall. During my first weeks here I mostly wished the PTA might decide to make it their next school spirit project. After a while, however, I began to notice the smaller details I had missed before. The fish had orange spots, the plants had smudges of red and brown, and (best of all) there was a dinosaur.

The first time I saw the T-Rex next to the sputtering volcano I thought I was hallucinating. His perfectly camouflaged green and brown body seems to melt into the background. As I stood fascinated by my discovery he opened his mouth and roared out a stream of tiny bright bubbles.

In a school it can be easy to become trapped in negativity. As teachers, we want so much of our students and of ourselves and when our expectations are not met, we fall prey to complaining and the blame game. Today, one of my teammates reminded me how important it is to stay positive and see our students’ potential and see the potential we have as well. School can be a dull gray place full of faded people and cream walls. But hidden in every school is a plastic dinosaur blowing bubbles. We just have to remember to look for him.

About the Author: Tori McClanahan is a seventh grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher who loves traveling and immersing herself in different cultures. She can often be found in coffeeshops reading young adolescent novels.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tori:

    Thank you so much for these wonderful reminders that we need to try and see the goodness in the world we inhabit. If we approach our work with a positive attitude or an openness to observing the wonder, we will find wonder in places we least expect–hidden dinosaurs blowing bubbles. I do think it is sometimes convenient to enter into the complaining conversation that is so prevalent. However, to be good role models for students we should look for the “bright spots” in our surroundings and help students see them and learn from them. While we all face challenges and can learn from them, the bright spots sometimes don’t get the press they need.

    Thanks for sharing your insights! It has helped my day to think about what goodness is around the corner.

    Bob Ryshke
    Center for Teaching

    February 23, 2012
  2. Thanks. I like the juxtaposition of a big dinosaur in a small place blowing little bubbles. Fun discovery.

    February 23, 2012

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