Michelle Tavenner

One of my magical moments happened while I was a chaperone for middle schoolers on a trip out west. We spent a week visiting Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and one day we took the students canoeing at Colter Bay. I had to be in a canoe with 2 of my students, both of which often tested my patience, and each other’s patience, in the classroom. However, in that canoe, in the relative stillness, cool breeze, the fresh air, and stunning surroundings, a gentleness of spirits developed. The two students did not argue, and I felt completely at ease as they paddled us around the bay. These moments in the canoe were so serene.

The beauty of Colter Bay and that canoe ride brought many things to my mind and heart. The three of us bonded in that tranquility in a way we never could have in a traditional classroom setting. I think they saw me as just a normal person, and I saw them as nature-loving, kind, and curious preteens. I realized how important it is to get out of routine, out of our comfortable environment, because this world has infinite pockets of splendor. The unexpected calm of my companions and magnificent mountain view were truly a magical moment for me.