just do it

i have a pile of books to filter through. lessons to lightly write. work to get done. yet. here i sit. unwilling to get on-task. me. a teacher. always reminding my students to stay on task. to concentrate. to get their work done. but, i am finding that the task, though necessary, has not quite found its way into my educator thoughts.

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in a while, i will sit in front of those school books. those teacher’s manuals. and i will review. yes i will. because, review i must. for my own sanity. and to ensure starting the year off right, properly educating students. who will be depending on me to fill their days with classroom ooo’s and aaah’s, and just as important, life lessons.

but first, i need to sit here and think.

“mom, can we talk?” brad asks.
“yeah, sure,” i say, with a smile.

i guess my teacher tasks will have to wait even longer to imprint my brain with information.

ostracize

True story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

2girlsarguing

Abby was a nice girl gone sort of mean. And uncaring. Not intentionally but because her best friend lied to her. Abby had money. Money she had been saving to use toward an investment in a new purse. But. Her best friend took it. Anna took the money. And ran. When Abby asked her friend about it. Did she know what happened to it? Anna just said no.

But, then along came another friend. Not the best one, but the Second Runner Up, and she said that Anna did indeed take the money. Second Runner Up friend saw her reach in and take it. Take it and shove it into her front pocket.

Anna cried. Said no I didn’t. But Abby didn’t believe her. She believed her best friend just lied. To her face. And that made her angry.

So she started to hang out with Second Runner Up. Spent time talking with her. Telling her how much she didn’t like Anna anymore. That she didn’t trust her.

Abby and Second Runner Up told everyone. And everyone told everyone. So now, everyone didn’t want to talk to Anna. Anymore. They didn’t trust her.

So, Anna sat alone. And as she pulled the stolen money from her pocket she wondered if she’d be someone’s best friend. Again. Some day. Soon.

A Boy and the Lies He Tells

IMG_1015Most times kids lie to avoid trouble. Not him. He lies to avoid the truth. During a classroom math time discussion his teacher asked the students a graphing question.

“Who has been to Disneyland?” she wondered, big fat marker in hand, ready to chart their answers.

Youthful hands shot up into the air, wiggling with excitement. Not his. His hands were jammed firmly under his little boy thighs.

“Never?” Ms. She’s Really Nice inquired. He shook his head back and forth.

“But, I have been to Las Vegas,” he shared.

Later, in the late afternoon, while sitting in a circle with the other boys and girls in karate class, he made an announcement.

“I did not get any presents for Christmas.”

That got their attention.

“I did not give any presents to anyone either. Anyway, I don’t even celebrate Christmas,” he said.

No. Big. Deal. When he was in the car with his mom, driving home from an hour of kicks and jabs, he rehashed his day.

“Why would you tell the teacher you’ve never been to Disneyland? And Vegas? Why did you say you went to Las Vegas?”

She continued questioning him before he could get a word-in-edgewise.

“You said you didn’t get presents, didn’t give them, and don’t even celebrate Christmas? Why would you make up all those things?” she wondered.

“I just don’t want people to know everything about me,” he answered.

“I Was A Runner!”

mom age 10

She was a young girl. Betty Lou was.

She was ready for the school day to start that day. She was just waiting to hear the warning bell. Hear it blare through the window. Making its way up from down below. Telling her to get her tail down the hill and into class before the final bbrrrrriiiiiiiinnngggg went off.

Ring it did. She grabbed her things. Ran out the door. Down the long slope. Through a tunnel.

Graceful.

My mom was reminiscing about a time in her life. Remembering when she was a youth. An energetic girl who knew how to run. Run with strength.

With Grace.

“I was a runner!” she said with glee. “I ran like a deer. Bounding along. There was nothing stopping my agility.” She hugged herself. “I was great! I just love my young self!” She laughed. Wriggled herself in the chair. Happy with the memory.

Betty Lou ran with confidence. Rounded a familiar corner. Saw the man with his hands on his hips. Checking out his work. Or admiring it. “Did the cement look level?” he seemed to wonder. She didn’t have time to even considered what he might have been thinking. She just kept running. Running.

Stepped right into that square of cement. Splat! went her foot. It only took her a second to decide to just keep going. Getting to school on time was of the utmost importance. She never even glanced back. Didn’t know what the man was thinking.

“He probably stood there, scratching his head, wondering where the foot print had even come from,” she said.

We laughed.

Made some jokes.

Betty Lou made it to school on time.

Not a second to spare.

Step on a Crack…

 

As kids, my brother Kit and I
would walk
to our elementary school,
trying so hard
not to
step on a crack
because we didn’t want to 

break our mother’s back!

sidewalk

We also did not step on a line,
which would be bad for her spine!

The other challenge, the one involving our luck,
came unexpectedly, out of nowhere,

forcing us to jump over the squares of cement
that held a metal disk.

The kind with some serious-looking number(s)
and a couple letters on them.

close up of metal disk

And, the thing was, it was anyone’s guess
which cemented section had them, and which didn’t.

Because,
if we didn’t, jump over those squared-off portions,
our luck would change, for the worse.

Which could have meant
we would step on a line or a crack,
jeopardizing our mother’s health.

Whew!

What a walk!

The Turd

There’s this girl. A sixth grader to be exact. My former student. Her name is Cassandra. She has short wavy hair and wears glasses. She’s tall and thin. Quirky and confident. She’s awesome. The perfect description of a character in a book.

Anyway, she walked into my classroom – just as she alway does, every day after school, to say

Hello, how’re you doing?”

or

“How do you like my haircut?”

or

“Do you like your class this year?”

or

“Oh, the state report, I remember doing those!” 

Things like that.

So, like I said, she came into my classroom and plopped herself onto the floor, her face buried between her knees. She was next to my desk, which is next to my chair, in which I was sitting and said,

“Do I look like a turwal?

I didn’t understand what she said.

“What?” I asked.

“Do I look like a turwal?”

“Do you look like a turd?”

Cassandra’s lump of a body quivered with laughter. She laughed and laughed.

“Okay, yeah, you definitely look like a turd lying there on the carpeted floor.” I stated.

Still laughing, she unrolled herself and looked at me with a smirk on her face and said,

“I asked, do I look like a tur-tle? Turtle.” I cracked-up

The next day, she repeated her pose, positioning herself into a lump on the floor and said, “The turd is back.”

I’m a teacher because kids are so great. They roll with the punches and are simply looking for fun, pure and simple.

Confidence

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It’s interesting being a teacher of young kids. I tend to reflect on my own youth quite a bit, watching these 10 year old students interact. I don’t remember being so sure of myself. So confident. Waves of emotions roll through the classroom, sure, but I must say, overall, most kids are just that, kids. They cheer for each other, enjoy simple pleasures, and bounce back from problems just as quickly as they arise.

I love it. The innocence.

Today, a student stood in front of the classroom, presenting her How-To project. She was making a smoothie. She was so calm, so matter-of-fact, so ready. She measured out the milk, then added some more. She plopped in some yogurt, sliced bananas, and ice. She laughed, claiming she put in too much milk. “Oh well,” she stated, as she continued. She made a mess, spilled ingredients. She vigorously shook a canister full of her cold drink. When asked why she didn’t bring a blender, she answered, without much thought, in a casual, whatever tone, “Because.” is all she said. And just as cool everyone nodded in response.

When everything was mixed up, she took a big swig of her drink. No hesitation. No worries. No concern what others might have thought. “Pretty good,” she smiled.

Students clapped. She bowed. Gathered up her items, and headed out the door to wash up her dishes.