Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Thoughts (aka Reasons to be Thankful)

Truly, there are too many reasons to be thankful to possibly mention them all. These are just a few highlights (in no particular order)....

Reason #1: My family. Many of them are sick with various illnesses, but I can't help but think that I am blessed to have them in my life....better to have them in my life and be worried about their health than to not be graced with their presence.

Reason #2: This piece of writing that a student wrote at Thanksgiving: I am thankful for my teacher, Mrs. S because she is SO SO SO nice. I am lucky you are my teacher this year, and I can't wait to go back to school after Thanksgiving. You are the BEST! 1 + 1 = 2 just like me and you. Love, K." If that isn't reason enough to continue to teach than I don't know what is.

Reason #3: This note, from a parent, sent to me after report cards were delivered: " Dear Mrs. S, Thank you for the hard work you do every day in 3S! D loves coming to school and looks forward to learning something new everyday! Now that's ACHIEVEMENT! Gratefully, B." Again, if that isn't reason eough to continue to teach....

Reason #4: My husband. Words can't begin to describe how blessed I feel to have him in my life. We have been trying to conceive since August, and haven't managed to yet. Through my highs and my lows over the past few months, he has been my rock, my support, my soulmate and my love. I am astounded that I could love him any more than I did the day I married him, yet somehow I do.

There you have I said, there are many more....but here are some reasons why I am thankful as we come ever closer to a new year....

Monday, December 18, 2006

Our tree!

So here it is....our second tree as a married couple and our first as homeowners. I'm not really sure why the picture is so crooked, except thatI was taking it while simultaneously trying to reach for the phone that had just started ringing and keep the camera's strap from getting in the picture.
It should be noted that I didn't take a picture of the bottom of the tree--that's because here it is, only seven days until Christmas (I have a chorus of third graders who count it down for me every day so I'm well aware of the number of shopping days left!) and we just started our shopping. As in this past Friday and Saturday. Considering our tardiness (where did the time go!?!?) we managed to get quite a bit done, and even better, managed to get some really lovely gifts that we are rather excited to give.
I should also say that because we have been so busy with life, Russ and I both weren't feeling the Christmas spirit. But there's something about listening to holiday music, decorating a tree and drinking hot cocoa laced with a candy cane that very quickly gets you in the spirit.....that and braving the holiday crowds to elbow your way through crowded stores while debating the merits of each individual gift you are buying!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I'm not sure exactly when this happened....but lately I find myself expressing opinions that clearly indicate that I have become that person. That jaded and cynical person. Who am I? Where did this come from? I'm not really sure, but whoever she is, she seems to be popping out more and more lately.

Rather than explaining why I'm so jaded (a long and convoluted story) I decided instead to tell the story about why and how I became a teacher. It is a much better story after all. And far more suited to the season....

His name was Greg. He was what we now term special ed. but back then was called a far more unkind word--retarded. He was the boy that looked a little different, smelled a little off and acted a little weird. He would yell at the teachers. Not just yell, but YELL. And curse. Oh my, he would curse at the teachers. Me? I was shy and quiet. My nose always buried in a book, always willing to do ANYTHING to please the teachers. Never wanted to bother anyone.

And Greg had the biggest crush on me.

I have no idea why he picked me. Why he surveyed the crowd and decided to shower his affections on me, the girl who barely spoke is beyond reason or explanation. But he did. And when I say showered, I do mean it. He brought in chocolates. And balloons. And wrote me cards. And made me presents. And chased after me. And talked to me constantly. And did all the things that I would have loved as a single 21 year old (back when I was a single 21 year old) but absolutely hated as a painfully shy 8 year old.
Third graders being the way they are (some things never change), I got teased. Horribly teased. I remember crying-- a lot.

Her name was Mrs. L. She was my teacher, and a kinder, gentler soul definitely does not exist. There was a day when the affections were particulary vocal and the teasing was particularly horrible.... I remember it was a sunny day, but beyond that I can't recall any specifics. Mrs. L decided it was time to go outside, and rather than letting me run off crying (as I was about to do) she sat me down on a seat outside and taught me a lesson. Now, I don't remember her words, but her message was clear. Respect differences. Be kind to everyone, no matter what they look like or how others treat them. Don't let others form your opinions for you. In short, be a good person, always to everyone.

I don't know if it was that exact moment that it coalesced in me to become a teacher fact, I'm almost sure it wasn't. But I do know that by the time I was in fourth grade I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do. And I never wavered from my conviction once. I knew, back then and even more so today, that if I could make a difference in just one child's life, the way Mrs. L made a difference in mine, then I would have lived a life worth living. And then I would have changed the world.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nothing like being put in your place

It is the start of a lesson, and as I sit down on my chair in front of my students (we do many of our lessons on the carpet) I let out a big sigh....
Me: Gosh, boys and girls, I'm really tired.
C (a male student): That's because you're old!
J (another male student): Doooh! C! You aren't supposed to SAY things like that!
C: (looking slightly confused....he is a foreigner and as of two years ago never spoke any English at all. Apparently he didn't know this social rule.) Huh? Why not?
Me: Besides, I'm not THAT old!
The rest of the class: breaks out into laughter and the start of the lesson is clearly lost.....