Today, I want to give you a closer look into my "It's Worth It" Box. I shared this little idea at a Blogger Meet Up in French Lick, Indiana. I made a box as a gift for a teacher at the meet-up, and shared about it in this March 2015 blog post. At the time of that post, I wasn't aware of how many teachers would email me about it and let me know how much their own box now means to them. I decided I would share about my box in a little more detail with you today. I have also given the poem that I wrote for the box a little makeover! The "It's Worth It" Box poem that I wrote is near and dear to my heart, so I think it deserves a blog post all of it's own - a place it can call home. :) Now, you may be asking yourself...
"What is an It's Worth It Box?!"
The photograph above is a picture of my own "It's Worth It" Box. I found it one day while I was browsing around at Joanne Fabrics, and after reading the quote on the top, I knew it was the perfect "It's Worth It" Box.
The "It's Worth It Box" idea comes from a very special person to me! Her name is Mrs. Rinehart, and she was (and is) the most amazing early childhood education professor there ever was! Words cannot explain how much I learned from this professor. Her course was always not just filled with amazing content, it was filled with love and passion for kids and teachers. I try to still email her from time to time to touch base and let her know how much her class meant to me, and how much it shaped me into the teacher I am today. (Mrs. Rinehart, if you are reading this, thank you again!!!) During my senior year, she gave us an assignment. We made an "It's Worth It" Box. This was not just any box. It was a special box that we were to place notes from parents, encouraging items from administrators, and most importantly, those precious pictures, letters, and notes from students over our teaching years that just make us smile and warm our hearts!
Our assignment was simple: Throughout our years of being a teacher, we were to take the box out and look through the items on those especially hard days at school. You know the ones. Those days when it seems easier to just give up or throw in the towel. We all have those days. We're human! But taking out my own It's Worth It Box on days like that reminds me exactly why I do what I do. It is a box of light and encouragement that always, always makes me smile and forget what I was stressed about in the first place.
A Peek Into My It's Worth It Box:
As you can see from the picture above, all kinds of things go into my "It's Worth It" Box. I keep notes, letters, emails, pictures, cards - ANYTHING that brings a smile to my face when it comes to my students and the teaching profession. Today, I would love to share a couple of examples from my "It's Worth It" Box with you.
See that little ripped piece of scrap paper in the photograph above? That was written to me by one of my second grade students, during my third year of teaching. I received that note a few hours after I had silently prayed to God to give me the patience and direction I needed to help this sweet kiddo. This little guy had some anger issues and three hours before I found this little piece of paper on my desk, he had attempted to throw a book bin at my head from across the guided reading table. (No worries, book bins are easy to see coming!) :) After explaining our school and classroom expectations for the billionth time, and giving him some time to reflect on actions and future choices, this piece of paper made its way onto my desk after recess. It was then that I knew that above all else, this little guy still loved me. I knew that for this reason, we would be able to find a way to turn chaos into calmness and make learning for this little guy fun again. (And, we did.) :) That little piece of paper is now safely tucked into the bottom of my box.
This little clay brain was chilling on my teacher desk one Monday morning. I remember picking it up, thinking, "What IS this thing?!" One of my sweet little first grade friends bounced over my desk and told me she had painted it for me over the weekend. After asking her to tell me about it, she explained that it was HER brain. "...so that you will never forget all of my dendrites." We had been learning and discussing how our brain works and how we learn all year long. This little pink brain has become one of my most cherished teaching items, reminding me of the impact our discussions have on our students. Today, it is an important part of my "It's Worth It" Box.
Among the notes, cards, letters, and memos from students, teachers, and administration, is a poem that I wrote. I've taped the poem to the inside lid of my box. While I already shared this poem over a year ago, I gave it some fresh, new fonts, so I would love to share the new printable today! I don't want this box to become "just another box of stuff" that teachers throw clutter into. So, I wrote a poem that is very special to me! It explains what the "It's Worth It" Box is, and I hope it gives some encouragement and inspiration to teachers and administrators after reading it. It is my hope that you will not only make your own "It's Worth It" Box, but that you might make one for a friend, and pass a copy of my poem onto your teaching colleague or peer, so that he or she can fill up their box of "light and love." Below, is a the poem I wrote for the "It's Worth It" Box.
In the download file at the end of this post, I included two different fonts for the heading. I also included a version that contains the poem as a half-sheet of paper, in case you need a smaller size for a small box. You can glue the poem onto the inside lid like I did, or glue it onto the top or side of your box. Either way, I hope you love your "It's Worth It" Box, and I hope it continues to remind you, day after day, that what you do for students and families is important. Reading through the notes in my box takes me back to those first days I became a teacher. I remember that I quite literally shed some tears after my principal left the room, and I stood by myself in my very first classroom. I was so happy to be given the opportunity to do a job that I know God placed on my heart. Sometimes our days as teachers can be hard and draining, and it's easy to forget that feeling you had as you stood in your very first classroom. I hope this poem reminds you that the impact you make on our future and our children is worth it.
Thank you for spending some time with me today and reading about the "It's Worth It" Box! I'm so glad I am able to share my poem with you! You can download it for your personal use by clicking below. :)