At a coffee shop recently, I was economizing a second cup from a tired, green tea bag and pondering the long stretch ahead on the calendar. Punxsutawney Phil had already missed his shadow and Valentine’s Day was knocking at the door.
“We’ve got to get through February and all of March before we have a break,” I thought. “How am I going to keep these writing students motivated during the dreary, wet weeks ahead? How am I going to keep myself going?”
These questions and more revolved around my brain as I gazed out a window, a dreary grey sky lingering there. All of nature was hibernating, it seemed, taking a break from productivity and movement. Some humans had taken a cue from the red maples: A sign on the nearby ice cream shop said, “closed for the season.” Yet some of us plow ahead, a caffeinated beverage in one hand, a raincoat in the other.
After more contemplation, a bright light ignited in my head.
We will have tea.
“Tea makes everything better,” says Bindi Irwin. “Where there’s tea, there’s hope,” says Authur Pinero. I’m not sure who these people are that said this about tea, but I liked what they said!
Yes! Let them drink tea!
So, the idea that formed in my February brain grew into an event. At our next class, I announced that we would have a tea party during our read-a-round session. Everyone signed up to bring something from home: a snack, a jar of sweetener, some bags of tea. I brought an electric tea kettle and 10 porcelain tea cups. For a few of my students, this was their first tea experience. “What do I do with the tea bag?” and “How much water do I pour into the cup?”
Once we finished with the how to’s and everyone was settled, we enjoyed reading each other’s stories while we sipped and snacked. Smiles could be seen on weather weary faces. The caffeine gave a boost of energy for peer reviewing. And, generally, the tea provided a calming effect upon the whole group of young writers as they read and commented and grew.
At the end of class, I picked up a goodly stack of well-written peer reviews. Then someone asked on the way out the door, “Mrs. Naz, can we do this again on the last day of school?” I smiled, knowing they would want lemonade by then.
Yes! Let them drink tea! Tea warms the heart and softens the grey (I said this and liked it).
Sometimes its the little things that get us through the tough times, like a kind word, a smile or, in this case, a cup of tea.
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