Ms. Carolyn Rethwisch
Kindergarten - 8th grade TeacherGalileo School for Gifted Learning Sanford, FL
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About Ms. Carolyn Rethwisch
Life keeps me very busy! I have five AMAZING children...four in college and one is a senior in high school. The baby of our family, Carlea Sue, plays basketball, serves on student council, is in leadership in Key Club, mentors younger students, works at Brewsters, and babysits. She has a busy year ahead for our family for sure!!! The love of my life is my sweet granddaughter named Caitlyn - she is 4-years-old and I use her to tell lots of stories in class. She keeps me busy and adds so much fun and beauty to my days. In my free time, I go to school at University of Central Florida and have four dogs, 1 cat, and 3 ducks :) It's a zoo around here sometimes!
I can't wait to hear all about you now - please fill our the "About" section so we can compare stories!
Find Your Wings…
The Ant and the Chrysalis
‘An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food, came
across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change. The
Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention of the Ant,
who then saw for the first time that it was alive. "Poor, pitiable
animal!" cried the Ant disdainfully. "What a sad fate is yours!
While I can run hither and thither, at my pleasure, and, if I wish,
ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with
power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail." The Chrysalis
heard all this, but did not try to make any reply. A few days after,
when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained.
Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly
shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly.
"Behold in me," said the Butterfly, "your much-pitied friend! Boast
now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to
listen." So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along
and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the
Aesop (2005) The Ant and the Chrysalis
In a class for gifted learners I recently attended at University of Central Florida, I was asked to develop an interpretation of the above fable in relation to gifted students. The timing of the assignment was perfect because of the incredible undertaking of my 5th grade students at Galileo School for Gifted Learning. We’ve spent ten months learning lessons from our own garden! We have witnessed and continue to witness…with great wonder…the transformations that occur during a butterfly’s lifecycle.
Last fall our class labored to provide a place of safety for one small, unassuming, captured caterpillar – Lea. We dug up grass, toiled the soil, and planted nectar and host plants. It was hot, the fertilizer smelled, and we wondered if our efforts would be in vane. Today, however, the results of that labor are incredible to behold!
We’ve had the amazing opportunity to watch not only Lea, but generation after generation of caterpillars leave their host plants in our beautiful garden, crawl across the sidewalk, up the outside red brick walls of our classrooms, and spin themselves tight within a chrysalis. We have waited patiently – through the struggle of life, so to speak - until the day those same creatures eventually broke through their shells and became beautiful winged butterflies. These wonderful creatures now grace us with their presence and beauty, flying down our hallways and throughout the garden mere steps from our classroom doors.
I remember one particular day, a few months ago, when there were hundreds of wet-winged butterflies drying on the walls and garden fences. All that remained from their previous lifecycle were empty shells. The newly emerged beauties were now fanning their wings and taking flight down the hallway, across the sidewalks, and throughout the garden – it was simply magical!!!
Since then, the cooler temperatures and tranquil setting have provided us with an inviting outside area where we can enjoy time together. Much of that time is talking…about butterflies, about life, about the future. Many of my students are deep thinkers, love symbolism, and become reflective. So, perhaps my thoughts about the symbolism as related to Aesop’s fable The Ant and the Chrysalis, is a mingling of the thoughts of many…certainly much time and thought has been invested on this very subject!
While the chrysalis life cycle stage could represent something different on any given day for my class, most of the time, it best represents an essential season of life where these amazing animals…caterpillars…create for themselves a place of safety…where they can both REST and DISCOVER…deep within…(sometimes through great struggle) the marvelous creature they were uniquely created (from the beginning of time) to become…something beautiful and of great worth…something that eventually takes flight!
Perhaps I see my classroom as the chrysalis – a place of safety prepared specifically for my students…a place where they can REST (because they are accepted, valued, and loved individually)…and a place where they can DISCOVER within themselves (sometimes through great struggle)…the beautiful individual they were uniquely created (from the beginning of time) to become…someone beautiful and of IMMEASURABLE worth…someone who eventually can FLY!
The “ant” then, I suppose, symbolizes the uninformed, the uneducated, or perhaps, the blind. The ant sees (from HIS perspective) the chrysalis as a place of great challenge or chaos…perhaps a place that “imprisons”…a place the ant can’t seem to understand or figure out…but to the caterpillar, it is the very place where TRANSFORMATION occurs! For the gifted student, the “ant” can often be uninformed family members, peers, and/or school personnel who LOOK through uneducated eyes at a child and a classroom that is “different” from what is considered normal. The “ant” sees abnormal behavior rather than super-normal behavior. The “ant” sees problematic behavior rather than extensive possibilities. The “ant” sees random activity rather than focused alertness. The “ant” sees misfortune rather than BEAUTY. The “ant” sees restrictions or chains rather than FREEDOM and FLIGHT. I do not believe the ant means to be unkind or limiting…it is just that the limited perspective from which they view life (from the ground upward) perhaps blinds them to the unimaginable or unthinkable!
For me, life is viewed from a unique perspective…through the eyes of an educator who for 16 years has had the incredible privilege of watching the radical transformation of many small, unassuming caterpillars BECOME majestic beauties! While the gifted students, within my classroom walls this year, are still in a season of struggle and discovery (the chrysalis stage), at some point the process of change will begin for each of them! For me, the “butterfly” symbolizes their enormous POTENTIAL! What that may look like in the future is still UNKNOWN and because it is possible I may never witness the final stage of transformation, it is my continued belief that if I provide a place of safety for each of them…they will begin the ultimate journey to finding their wings. In my dreams…my students FLY!
Always remember my precious students…"just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became the BUTTERFLY!" Find your wings…and dare to fly!