Memories That Travel

Add this post under the stuff entitled memories that travel.

My most treasured item from my classroom is a refrigerator, and not an ordinary one. A small tiny silver and black cube that has been lifted all over this valley. Through the years it has lost its initial luster and now is a roving display of stickers from a variety of students that wanted to leave their mark. Skateboard stickers, bike brand stickers, happy face stickers etc. Kids that love the fact that I love them, even to the point of keeping all stickers in tact. It looks less and less like a refrigerator and more and more like a scrapbook, but it is one that I cannot shun to the side, in favor of a newer model. So while it over freezes and sometimes the rubber comes a little loose, I always have a student to the rescue fixing my woes, as no one wants the refrigerator to lose its rightful place…as one student put it…”it would not be your room without that thing.” So true, sort of like my ruby red slippers and giant Wizard of Oz painting.

My room has ruby red slippers, costumes and paintings from students. It is a room filled with love. It is home. It is where my students can be my students, at least for a year, and then visit and reminisce and ask me to re-tell the stories (all true) of how each piece of my room became part of my culture.

The refrigerator still travels on well past its prime and the day it stops, as it will someday, I have vowed to use it as a shrine to my teaching career placed carefully on my Turkish rug with my photo, yes photo. Not requested, trust me! It was a gift for all to see and question. For fun, after my return from Turkey, I placed it at my classroom doorway to watch the expression on people’s faces as they enter. Priceless. The rest of my decor comes with the territory. The ever-changing laughter, love, and constant chaos that comes with the profession. My little traveling refrigerator is my constant that is a reminder of my past, present and future.

Today, the refrigerator lives in my office due to my break from education and the end of an era of being allowed to have small electrical appliances in our rooms. It still works. I might bring it in unplugged of course.


Not On Point…

And so it begins a regular seventh hour when a student bellows throughout the room the status of my eyelashes. Yes, they have status. Not mine, but teen eyelashes do, and mine were not on point. Now, by seventh hour my lashes could be doing a tango for all I care, as this hour keeps me on my toes, but no, I was not to have clumpy lashes on that day in that very moment. “Sit down Mrs. L, this is going to take work, what are you doing in the morning?” “Um, well you know the usual,” I say with a glimmer of please, oh please let this moment pass. The others in class were busy with their writing coursework and this little doll was doing what she did best, ignoring work when she was stressed. I have known her for years, and I knew our beauty session was not about my lashes, it was her life that she needed a short escape from and my eyelash rearrangement gave her what she sought. We talked and laughed about my lack of skill and her obvious skill and evaded the true topic that I knew she wanted to blurt out, but today was not to be that day. My clumps would have to do. As she went to work with precision, she poked and prodded at the task at hand, shrinking from issues and creating her little masterpiece. She stared at me like so many times before and gave me a wink of thanks. “You are the best, you know it right?” She stepped back and gave me the nod (only known to us) and went back to work. It was her kind words between my treatment that I finally heard clearly for the first time.

When I began 25 years ago, I wanted to be the perfect teacher. The color-coding fool who can instruct inside and out and never missed a beat. Instead I became the non-color coding crazy instructor who has never taught a lesson twice. I never miss a beat of the hearts in my class, and will stop a lesson in a moments notice if the real world comes raging through the hearts of my borrowed kids. Oh, I always circle back to the lesson, but I create a home first and education second. This cannot be learned but I took excerpts from good teachers I had in my childhood. Teachers that cared more about me than my scores. As for my clumping issues, I stood perfect for that moment and as for the student I only hope she had more teachers who opened their hearts and minds to her world. As for my newly borrowed kids they have a teacher who will always allow them to fix her lashes and listen. I think that is pretty perfect, even if my color-coding and data files are a bit off.

The above story is true and my little sweetie is a senior this year.


No Title

I have a new blog without a proper post and lacking a title. In my world, this is nothing new. Today, is the day that was focused on the deleting all my former work. Yes, all.

While I was recognized by a few of the blog gods for my wit and candor in several pieces, it had to go. My darker past, which happened, sucked, and all survived, has left the blogger circles. In my eyes the words had to be trashed. The deleted forever button, by the way, is a hard button to press. No regret. Entering the decade with a renewed writing focus that hopefully will inspire teachers and parents and maybe earn a buck or two in the process. This blog brings our crazy educational system to light showing the good, the bad and the truly ugly. We do not live in one category. Education is messy. 

My newest creation Following The Child takes you through my days with a look into the society of today with tongue in cheek tone. The objective of my work is to give you glimpse inside day in the life of a world where I try balance 90 students a day along with the other demands of the profession.

Teaching was not my initial calling, it was broadcasting. My voice and looks were never quite right unless you lived in Silver City New Mexico. That is another story. So due to my deep love of fashion and spending other peoples money (and my own need for money) I landed at a high-end department store in management, where I promptly bought most of the store. Exit stage right and into a masters program that would lead me to where I am today. A broke teacher, who still loves to shop, and has great stories. So stories I will tell. Finally.

These are my stories and thoughts about the current state of education. All formed within the walls of my classroom. The districts, campuses, or the students will never be named. My blog is a collection of human interactions that I have lived through and thoughts about the constant change of education. My initial blog title was The Adventures of a Relatively Sane Teacher, but my love for pedagogy won, and I decided on Following the Child, as a Maria Montessori fan and trained teacher, I felt it better served my classroom and the community I build yearly.