I was passing out art materials to my students. They each got different colors. "You get what I give you," I told them. Before I could even say "but you could trade with each other," one of the students intercepted, "you get what you get, so don't get upset!" Whenever I don't get what I want, I am reminded by her statement. I get what I get...and what I got is pretty good!
The First Thing I Got: An Old Sticker
I copied the music teacher by giving stickers to the students at the end of each class period. The students would add it to their collection on top of their name plate. Over time, they have accumulated so many stickers that it is sometimes hard to read their names.
One day, a student was compelled to give me a sticker in return from her collection of stickers. She placed the sticker on the back of my hand. It was peeled off partially, because the adhesive was not as good the second time around. The sticker stayed on my hand for the remainder of the day. Towards the end of the day, a boy must have seen that my sticker was curling up. Before he returned to his desk for independent work, he took a detour and walked over directly to me. Without saying a word, he flattened the sticker on the back of my hand. Happy with the good deed, he returned to his seat. They are small gestures like these that makes my day.
The Second Thing I Got: The Biggest Smile
It was a normal day in the first grade. Two kids were running around chasing each other. One of them was a student that needs special attention and doesn't usually respond well to directions. I was teaching printmaking. He came in after I had already given directions to the class. So I repeated the lesson to him.
I started to etch a portrait of him on the styrofoam plate to demonstrate the process. He was so excited that I was drawing him that he gave me the biggest smile I have ever seen. It was hard to imagine that he is the same child who would hit others and have trouble listening.
But then reality kicked in. As other students walked by and got in the way of my vision, he would try to push them away. I had to show him not to push others and that there are other ways to ask people to move away. After that, he continued to stand frozen with his radiant smile. For a moment, he was an angel.
Other Things I Got: Stuff in the Pictures Above
Each of the pictures above showed something I got. I learned how to put together a 3D printer that works. With a 3D printing pen, I made some fun and playful things. From the product designers in my class, I learned how to use post-it notes to brainstorm for additional ideas. In the process of testing my lesson in 3D printing, I oversaw the design process of my friend Lisa's son Anson, who created the Titanic ship above.
Whenever I even begin to think that life is unfair/I never get what I want, I am reminded that: I get what I get, and what I got is more than I could ever imagined.