Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Card Carrying Member

 CCF02222010_00000 - Copy As most of you know, I’m an elementary school teacher. Even though I haven’t been employed in nearly four years, I don’t say that “I was an elementary school teacher” because being an educator is in my blood. It’s one of the main ways in which I identify myself: wife, mother, teacher, chocoholic.
You’ll notice that wife and mother came first in the list which is why nearly four years ago, I walked away from teaching full time to be a stay at home mother. I don’t regret the decision in the slightest, but I do miss teaching—so much sometimes that it physically hurts. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about my hoarding tendencies. I’m looking into joining a support group. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Anyway, when I was packing up my room for the last time, I was one month away from having my son. I was so pregnant that I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes, so I had Velcro ones that the kids in my class would have to help me loosen as the day grew longer and my feet swelled bigger. I was as big as a house with about as much get up and go as one too. So, when I say that I packed up my room, what that really means is that I threw everything into boxes and tubs without looking at it or thinking about what it was in the slightest. This behavior is what landed me with 35 boxes labeled “teaching stuff” in my basement.
After 4 years, something got into me and I suddenly decided that it was time to condense those boxes to a more manageable number. I think that something was the fact that the mound of Rubbermaid was sitting in the exact location of our future home theater. I know I tease Drew about his electronic overload, but I have to admit that I kind of miss being able to go into the basement and watch a movie on the big screen and eat popcorn and throw M&Ms at his head when he talks during the show. So, I figured if I cleared out the area, that might entice Drew to go ahead and have the theater installed. Cross your fingers for me, ok?
I mean, I certainly deserve some kind of reward because after about two weeks of steadily chugging away at the mass in my free time, I have decreased the plastic tub pile by 75%. It really wasn’t that hard when you consider some of the things those boxes contained: pencils that were the size of my thumb, posters dating back to 1984, games with missing pieces, dried up markers, worksheets printed on dot matrix printers, the list goes on and on and on. I have no idea why I thought that these things needed to be boxed up, carried to the car and then moved to the basement of my home, then moved again when we bought a new house. It boggles my mind really.
But one thing that I don’t regret keeping is the file of cards my kids made for me. That’s a pile of paper that just makes me smile. All these years later, and I can still remember their little faces as they handed me their art work. And that’s forever how they’ll remain to me too—as little third graders with wide eyes and just a touch of orneriness.
So I thought I’d share a handful of my favorites with you. That one at the top there was a thank you card that was sent over the summer. At my school, we had teacher time auctions where the staff donated an activity and parents bid on it for their kids. That year I donated a round of mini golf followed by pizza, but when the day came, the weather was uncooperative. So we hit the mall for bear building instead. The reason I like this card so much is that Maddy used the correct form of you’re—which was one of the grammar lessons I drilled into their little heads beginning on day one. So it just goes to show if you repeat yourself 180 times, someone might hear you. Yea for Maddy!

This card just cracks me up. It starts off as a typically designed greeting. I am #1 of all the Famous Teacher’s you know…
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but then you open it up and it gets all kinds of crazy funky. Which is just how I remember little A. She’s got a real party going on in here for appreciation week—break dancers, cheerleaders, a shocked Mrs. L, one class guinea pig skateboarding and the other class piggy DJ Ethel at her Juice Box scratching her little heart out backwards cap and all. I should have had her sign this piece because I’m sure she’ll have her work showing in a gallery somewhere one day.

This last one made me laugh so hard I nearly fell off my stool. Looking at the perfectly aligned pieces, you might think that this was done by a parent and passed off as the work of the child…but definitely not. This picture is a perfect summation of who this kid was: Mr. Perfect. Every paper C ever completed was written in very precise hand writing with all the directions followed to a T,  his desk was always perfectly ordered, he always knew where his homework was—all of these rare to find in a third grader. I am ashamed to admit that the kid was more organized than I was. So this picture with the buttons lined up perfectly, all the adornments perfectly patterned and symmetrical and the snow so meticulously hand colored pretty much sums up C’s personality. Right down to the stars placed like a bullseye on the foreheads of the two smaller snowmen—sure he was fastidious, but he was still an 8 year old boy after all.
I’m sure that 50 years from now, I’ll still have these little mementos tucked away somewhere—probably right next to my pack rat’s anonymous card.


  1. These pictures are quite a testament to your teaching and your connection with your students! I cannot wait for Maria to come home with some elaborate picture like the ones above! And I am rooting for you and the home theatre! There is nothing better than putting the kids to sleep, making that buttered popcorn, whipping out those M&Ms (dark chocolate are my new favorite!) and laying back on the couch for a good flick!

  2. Anonymous3:09 PM

    Brings back memories of teaching! I too have a memento box all little pictures and notes the kids made me over the years. It;s nice to go back and look at the stuff every once in a while. Oh, and glad to hear you now have less tubs. I did my games/puzzles box recently and tossed a bunch with missing pieces. But, there's defintiely more work to be done.:)

  3. Thanks for the digital support of the home theater--I'm slowly wearing him down I think. Maybe this time next year, I'll have gotten a positive answer from him. lol

    Teresa, I bet you get lots of pretty pictures from your four year olds! Now those would be something to chuckle over in a few years. :-)