As I’ve spoken of in my other writing, we have four brown swiss on our little acreage, and my daughters have started to show them at fairs around the area. Well, getting these cows was the first “first” talk about. I grew up on an acreage and had a petting zoo of critters: cats, dogs, chickens, sheep, horses, pigs, guineas, and a goat for two weeks. But never did we have cows. I’m not sure why, our old barn was a dairy barn, so we had the room, but it never happened. Anyway, a year ago last spring, we got two, a heifer and steer. This spring, two more heifers showed up.
Now, to get these animals to fair, you need a trailer. We’d been borrowing rides with various people, so there wasn’t a problem, but of course, we created one of our own. A 17 foot stock trailer came up for sale just down the road, and we looked at it, found it to fit what we were looking for, so we drove the truck over, hooked up, and away we went. Me, in a old rusty Ford pickup, driving an old rusty stocktrailer down the road: first!
And finally, we have the heifers, we have the trailer and truck, now lets put them all together and see what happens! Well, Friday night we did just that, putting our three along with two others in the back, 2,000 pounds of dairy and away we went! Later on, my loving older daughters says “yeah, those cows were worth more then the truck and trailer combined!” Great. Thanks loving daughter! 🙂 But, me, not only driving a stock trailer, but one full of animals!
How many firsts do your students have in any given year? Month? Day? The other family was very patient with me as I drove a little slower, asked many dumb questions, and was just plain in the middle. But they’d laugh and say, “we were there once too!” Do we allow our students those same words: “I was there once too?” Or are we quick to judge because of whatever reason. I’m reading What Great Teachers Do Differently by Todd Whitaker, and one section just stuck with me. He talks about a veteran teacher who always was excited for her fifth grade class, and in conversation, she said something about how “I’ve been doing this many years, this is their first”. As I plan this summer, I’m planning on a year of firsts as our elementary is being moved around, people changing jobs or job titles. Many many firsts will happen, so why not celebrate them instead of looking at them as negatives?
My first trip drive heifers worked well, until I got home. I had a bear of a time lining up that trailer, to which my youngest daughter leans over and says “Dad, it doesn’t need to be perfect!” Oh from the mouths of babes! Another first, that frustration of not being able to make things work the way I wanted. Think of how your students feel in class? Do you want that first to be the thing htey remember or do you want the help to be what sticks?
My heifers will eventually leave, we’ll always have students coming! It’s never too late to start planning on some positive way of dealing with those!
Either that, or come tutor me on truck driving and I’ll happily take over! 🙂