Every Monday morning we gather our whole elementary school for a school-wide morning meeting. It is our chance to gather for the pledge, birthdays, introduction of new students and celebrations. It always surprises me how people react when their name is called for a birthday. All the children (kindergarten through fourth) practically jump up, move fast, usually with a smile and tons of excitement and energy. Some staff members have to be reminded of their birthday approaching during the school week and urged to join the students. This event continues to surprise me.
Why not acknowledge your special day and model for the students that growing older is a good thing. It shows you are embracing all the years before and anticipating all those years to come. I am one of those summer birthday people tacked on to the end of the school year, usually during the month of May. I always smile and try to bustle up to the front as eager as a five-year old. Birthdays are important and should be proudly celebrated at any age.
I guess over the past few years I have drifted into the older group of teachers rather than being in the younger group. I don’t remember the exact moment it happened. I think it happened around ten years ago, but I didn’t notice it at the time. I really felt it three years ago, I had finished our class social studies project for our underground railroad unit, a paper quilt, and I felt a twinge when I tried to stand. The next morning and over the course of twenty visits to the physical therapist, I realized I’m getting older.
The word “old” has come up in conversations during my weekend. It just happened today during a fellow teacher’s baby shower. We also attended the same co-worker’s wedding shower at least five years ago. My dear friend (same age as me) looked over and exclaimed, “Laura, we are getting old!” I quickly responded, “we are more experienced, not old.” I have decided to use this phrase, it just sounds better and helps me cope. Experience can make you stronger, wiser and more prepared. I look forward to the next opportunity to say, “I’m more experienced, not old.”