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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Three Stanza Celebration

Boxes were stacked
Paper was torn
Smiles were big
and muffins were warm

Games put in bags
Packed for the road
We hopped in the car
Through flurries and cold

A dinner, White Christmas,
and a round of Eye Know
Then we all said goodbye
and went back to our home. 

This was one of the most low-key Christmas celebrations I can remember. It was nice. It was quick. It was full. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fruit Salad

Sunday morning was a day for cleaning in the crevices. A good opportunity to do an extra scrub here and there. My parents were coming into town for my son's band concert that afternoon and the fog in the air hung longer than usual. I worried about the glaze of ice it might leave behind. 
Though it was a slower trip for them than usual, they made it to the concert and we listened and bopped to all the bands' holiday sounds. 
Following the concert, we all drove back to our house to visit. 
Whenever my parents visit, my mom always has something for me, my kids, or my husband. It could be something she saw at the store, a book, or an item she's been holding onto that's been in the family.
When we settled in at the house, she pulled out a bag saying, "Now, I just have a couple things to give you," and began taking out items wrapped in brown tissue with red stars. 
  • Two snowflake tea light candle holders. 
    • One is now in the kitchen, and one is in the living room. 
  • A snowman decorative teapot with matching cup base. The base has a sweater-like texture.
    • My daughter has already unwrapped it from the safety of its box and used it!
  • A Christmas table runner.
    • It now rests happily on one end of my dining room table. 
  • One Christmas gift bag.
    • My daughter is using it to take gifts to school for her friends. 
  • Cherry-O-poly, the board game. 
    • Both of my kids have already taken this out and looked over all the pieces. 
  • And last, a green glass bowl. 

The green glass bowl was actually the first item I opened up but it is last in the list because it was most certainly the best. When I opened it my reaction told me mom I remembered it. 
I think my first audible response was a half gasp and half "OOOOooooh."
"You remember?" she said with a smile. 
"Yes! I love it." 
I love the green bowl. At that moment I could see it at every Thanksgiving and Christmas on the tables of my childhood. It may have held many things in its lifetime but I remember it holding the fruit salad. Now, I get to hold the bowl and fill it with new memories. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sparked by a Photo

Each morning when I get to my classroom, I turn on my computer and settle my things into their parking spots for the day. On my desktop, which is on top of a lecturn, my monitor displays a slideshow of photos. I always look forward to what the first picture will be each day when I flip on the switch.

Some of the pictures are of my own children at museums, outside of storefronts, or eating ice cream. Several are snapshots of students, some from years ago. Photos of kindergarteners gathered around tubs of blocks or markers, students proudly displaying a creation, and play dough smiles.

The first picture today was a snapshot from writing workshop many years ago. Seven little bodies all around a short table, each of them making books and drawings. Little cups of markers spill over the table, and everyone looks content. Some are smiling, some look like they are talking, others are focused intently on their work. Those same students are now in sixth grade, middle schoolers and I  sometimes wonder what kinds of stories they are writing now. I wonder if they ever huddle around a table together with markers and paper.

As their teacher, when they are five, you rarely are thinking about what they will be like when they are eleven or twelve. It's mostly about the present moment with occasional predictions for the future. It's always nice to run into former students, catch a glimpse of them at a school event or in the district newsletter. It's also nice to catch a glimpse of their little selves too.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Waiting for the Fizzle

Don't misread that title. It does not say, Frizzle, as in the ultimate bus residing teacher of young children, Miss Frizzle. Aaah...Magic School Bus. I absolutely loved watching that show with my own children when they were smaller. I used it as a teacher now and then too.
It was the perfect--
indoor recess
three classes
crammed into one room
almost movie,
television show.

But Frizzle will need to wait. Today I hopped on my blog because I'm hosting slice of life and I knew I had a couple of drafts in my queue. I wasn't sure I'd use any, but I had not looked at them in a while. As I began to scroll, I realized I have over a dozen drafts. A dozen entry points with no exit or aaahs (sighs) at the end for closure. As I began to read through some of them, I realized why. Many have slices or cuts of what could be considered a negative tone, or in some cases a dose of reality. They span from the end of July to the end of October.

One in particular, as I read it, restruck a cord. I remembered writing it and the feelings I was having at that moment. I remember deciding not to post it because it seemed like too much. Too harsh. Like I was waiting for the feeling to fizzle so I could come back and read it with fewer charged emotions.

I don't remember the trigger. Could have been a tweet, a comment, a moment. Regardless, I'm so glad I wrote it down because it was one of those bursts of emotion splattered out. One of those feelings that are not actually a singular feeling but a mixture of so many it had to go somewhere.

My concern with posting earlier was plagued with the thoughts of people feeling it was teacher shaming, or mean. When I read it now, I feel like I can say, with clarity, it is not meant to shame anyone. If anything, it is meant to make one think, or maybe throw their fist up in unity, or possibly ask a question. Below is the post which also happens to be a poem.


Our beliefs may not be shared beliefs, 
but we are all sharers of responsibility.
The shaping of individuals
deciding what to be. 

Teaching is a creative act. 
It is one,
woven into them,
We get to be part of it.

So I question, the person acting as a teacher? 
Is this your show? Director in chief?
Task manager in the wings?
Are you the best actor for an audience of laborers?

Is this your monologue:

"You should want to work for me. 
I am only here for you. 
Just swallow the bitter pill. 
Don't ask why with your dry mouth.
Take your drill and skill medicine. 
I haven't seen you smile with gratitude
for my selflessness yet."

I am not the best teacher. 
I do not claim to be the winner of all rubrics and the scorer of all points.
I am not.
I do not wish to be.
If I were, I wouldn't have anything left to learn.
If I were 
I'd be you.