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Category Archives: school
If you live in an area which has snow storms during the winter, chances are you are familiar with the unexpected treat of a storm day. For the most part these are only a boon for school students and teachers as technically they are caused by it being unsafe to have the buses on the roads.
If this is all sounding familiar to you, then you may also be aware of some of the superstitions that go along with the forecast of a storm. When the radio first forecasts any amount of snow hopes begin to rise, and when they change to a snowfall, or winter storm warning the action begins. First, of course, it is important not to talk about it due to a risk of jinxing things. Then there are the night-time rituals like putting your pajamas on inside out, getting homework done, mittens under the pillow, and they go on.
Much as you may rationally understand that there will not be a storm day, when the alarm goes off the next morning and you don’t hear a cancellation notice, your heart falls. From that moment frowns and grumbles are the order of the day. The kids are extra cranky, especially if they didn’t finish their homework. They spend the whole day looking longingly out the window and asking if they are going to get sent home early.
In some ways this is like the Christian story. We have the forecast of the second coming of Jesus, of the New Earth. When it happens it will be completely undeserved, a total change from the everyday with nothing scheduled, no to-do list, and no struggles. We know it is coming, and yet when we get up each day it is in the same life, same hassles, the same old Earth. We don’t need to go through special rituals, wear things a particular way, this is already a done deal and all we have to do is continue to believe.
I wrote the other day about a talk I attended about holocaust experiences by Dr. Israel Unger. While it was fascinating and moving, it was not the only really interesting that happened that evening at the church. It turned out that Dr. Unger’s wife was a teacher at Fredericton High School where she taught math to both my husband and I and actually remembered both of us. Did I mention that I graduated from high school almost thirty years ago?
Our kids found it fascinating to stand at the reception and talk with Mrs. Unger about our their parents as teenagers. They were looking for stories of poor behaviour, but, however we thought we may have come across to our teachers, she said we were good kids. We reminisced some about things like the time Tom and his friends took her literally when she said that if they wanted to bring food to class, they had to bring enough for everyone. They ordered pizza for the whole class.
For me, as a current high school teacher, what was most impressive was the fact that she was able to remember us at all. When I commented about the fact that I have so much trouble remembering my students names even the next year. She made a very astute observation. She pointed out that when she was teaching us, each course lasted the whole year and not just a semester and that it is much harder to really get to know kids in just a semester. Educationally you get to know your students quite quickly in terms of their names, their academic strengths and weaknesses and the best way to help them. What a semester doesn’t allow for, she pointed out, was time to really get to know our students as people.
Luckily, I get to teach many of my students in more than one course and work with some in extra-curricular activities. These are the kids I have a chance to get to know well. One of my students asked today how I can stand teaching the same thing three or four times per day for years on end and I was able to answer totally honestly that it was them that made it fun. The variety comes from their different personalities, their different reactions to the material we cover etc.
In thirty years time I don’t know if I will recognize my former students. I expect that I will at least remember the ones with whom I have had contact through Face Book. I just hope that, whether or not my memory improves, I will manage to convey to them somehow how much I care about them.
I don’t know who wrote this or where it originated, but I ran across it on Face Book one day a couple of weeks ago and it is one of the few things that I actually copied and pasted into my status update.
“Special request to all you kids returning to school in the next few weeks. If you see someone who is struggling to make friends or being bullied because he/she doesn’t have many friends or because they are shy or not as pretty or not dressed in the most “in” clothes PLEASE step up. Say hi or at least smile at them in the hallway. You never know what that person might be facing outside of school. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone’s life! Pass It On ♥”
Unlike the “games” people play on Face Book which involve obscure notices with meanings blocked from the opposite gender or some other group kept out-of-the-loop, this message is clear about its intent and encouraging positive change. This sort of move toward kindness, as you know if you follow my blog, is of great importance to me.
Where have we heard these sentiments before? If Jesus had used Face Book the status update may have read something like this…”
My brothers and sisters, fellow children of God, don’t waste your time while you are waiting for my return . If someone is struggling in any way, hungry, thirsty, friendless, or being bullied, LOVE them and do what you can to help them. Say hi or at least smile at them, share what you have. You never know what others might be facing in their lives. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone’s life, and what you do for them you are doing for me! Pass It On ♥
For teachers in New Brunswick, today was the last day of summer vacation. Monday morning we will all return to our schools for meetings and preparations for ten months of duty, lesson planning, marking, teaching and running extra-curricular activities. A week later the students will also return and it will be as if we had never left. Our days will have routine again, and the daylight hours will gradually get shorter and shorter. I love the fall, the crisp air, the fun of shopping for school supplies, meeting a pile of new students and time with my colleagues! Soon we’ll be going to the exhibition to eat dippy dogs (fresh made corn dogs), carmel corn, and cotton candy, and see the beautiful handiwork on exhibition and the animals in competition. This is the sunset of summer.
I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m not looking forward to being back at work! I am ready to go back. Today, at our final day of Vacation Bible School, our Bible story was the parable of the talents. The servants who put their talents to work pleased God, while the servant who was afraid to lose the gift and buried it was a disappointment. All those people whom God has gifted with the ability to teach will be back at it, putting the gift to use just as the students will be using their gifts to get their education and set the path for their lives.
I would like to beg your indulgence to add teachers, and students alike to your prayer list for the coming week.
It is the last day of work for teachers in my school district today. In classrooms everywhere the desks and chairs are all piled up, the paperwork is all filed and our desks are cleared of any sign of all that we have done for the last ten months. I joke with my students that there are only two days in the year when you can actually see my desktop, the first day I report to work and the day before I leave for the summer.
In our “paperless” society my desk was normally buried under seven or eight piles of paper; things to be marked, things to be filed with the office, notices to pass out, notices that were handed back in, planning aids, and professional readings usually to a depth of about three inches. As well my in boxes and out boxes would be filled, sometimes to overflowing. In amongst all this there were batteries for the babies, id tags and security bracelets, bottles, diapers etc. (if you are new you should know that my class uses the Real Care Babies).
Along with the papers, my computer was on and running almost continually (except for that one horrible day when we couldn’t get any of the electronics to run and had to teach the old-fashioned way) with mark programs, attendance programs etc.
More important than all of this, of course, were the thirty some young people in the room with me who needed attention, inspiration, direction and often comfort and guidance as well. When not in class, before school, at lunch and after school teachers are engaging with students, watching for problems, and running clubs and organizations.
So, here’s to my empty desk and those of all the other teachers who are finishing their school years. May our coffee mugs grace our deck furniture and side tables, may our email all be of a personal nature, and the desktops gather dust until we begin it all again in the fall!