Main Office Musings 12-18-15

Inspiring a Community of Learners

The Gift of Teaching

The other day I was in my basement searching through my Rubbermaid tote full of my “teacher things” trying to find something for a task that I was working on. These are items that I just can’t bear to part with, even though I officially “left” the classroom over ten years ago. Inside this Rubbermaid bin were books and resources, lesson plans, and student work samples from my favorite units. Included in these array of teacher artifacts were many notes and photographs from my time in the classroom. I pulled out a picture (a Polaroid one at that!) and quickly recognized it as one from 1996. The students in my 4th/5th grade class had constructed a voting booth out of a refrigerator box. I remembered how we painted the box out on the playground sidewalk for our school-wide Presidential election (Clinton vs. Dole). The picture that I was holding showed one of the 5th graders pulling back the curtain as she was stepping out of the voting booth.

I put the Polaroid snapshot down and pulled out a card. It was a note from a parent written at the end of her son’s second year in my class. Tim had come to me in 4th grade as a non-reader. His previous teachers were concerned about lack of effort and his strong dislike for school. There had been significant discussion about retaining him in 3rd grade. In the card the parent thanked me for “turning Tim’s world around.” She noted how he had flourished during fourth and fifth grade- going from being a reluctant reader to one who devoured all the Harry Potter books!

Next I pulled out a manila envelope with my name written on the outside. Curious to see what was inside, I opened it up and a small note fell out. It read:

Miss Fraser (I know that isn’t your name now, but that’s who you will always be to me),

This is the essay that I am submitting with my college applications. I am planning to major in English and education. The decision to be a teacher is easy… it’s one that I made several years ago when I was a student in your 4th and 5th grade class. I saw the joy that you got from teaching and I look forward to sharing that excitement with my future students someday.

Love, Lindsay

I read Lindsay’s essay. The last time I had read it was several years ago when I was packing to move to New York. She wrote about me as a person who had a major influence and impact on her life. She talked about how she had lost her uncle in a plane crash on Christmas Eve while she was a fourth grader in my class. I remembered that it took almost a year before they were able to locate her uncle and his plane in the woods of Vermont. She had struggled not only with the loss of her favorite relative, but also with watching her parents and other family members endure the stress and emotions of such a horrific accident. She wrote about how I listened, but didn’t force her to talk. In her essay Lindsay wrote, “Miss Fraser was the only person at the time who respected me like an adult, but understood that I still had the emotions of a child.” She then wrote that I was the person who inspired her to become a teacher. (Sidebar- she now teaches English to inner city students in Boston,)

One holiday season while I was working as a principal, I was witness to a tearful and heartfelt homecoming reunion. One of the parents in my building had spent the last year working for his company in Afghanistan. He came to school in the afternoon to surprise his two children. The smiles on their faces, the love in their eyes, and the enthusiasm in their hugs left everyone with tears running down their cheeks. I watched them shower their father with affection as they connected with him for the first time in over twelve months.

To me, each of the memories described above is a gift . As educators we are witness to remarkable gifts every single day. Some of those gifts are academic, like my student Tim who discovered the love of reading while in my class. Other gifts are emotional, like Lindsay and her essay about me. And other gifts… like the reunion at school, don’t actually have anything to do with us, but we get to see them because we are lucky enough to work with children every day. From the smile on a child’s face, to the warmth of their hand as you walk them down the hall, to the dandelion they hand you at recess ,or the Batman card they give you for Valentine’s day, we are surrounded by the greatest gifts each and every day. Teaching is hard work, but the chance to be a teacher and share these moments is a gift. When we get overwhelmed by the everyday stresses of our job as educators we need to embrace the simple reminders of why we are teachers.

During this holiday season, we want to say thank you to all of you for teaching our kids in your own way. Thank you for making your excitement contagious, than you for always trying to improve, thank you for adjusting and teaching kids to embrace change- but most of all, thank you for loving our kids with all of your heart. We appreciate all that you do each and every day on behalf of our students.

We wish you all a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year!

-Marcie, Brian, Ralph, Katie, Patrick & Andy

Learning Links

It's a pleasure to TWEET you...

Irene Leggerio in 140 characters:

I love music and travel. I live for laughter and good company. #worldtraveler #pianolover #laughingatmyself

Reminders & Points to Ponder...

Thank you to all who donated cash or purchased items for our Giving Tree! Your generosity is truly inspiring!

Huge thank yous to our Book Lady Darlene Daley for organizing the December Book-A-Day challenge... there have been MANY excited winners! I'm looking forward to reading my new book over break :)

SIPT Action Team forms are due today... there is a box in the Main Office. You will receive notice before the January faculty meeting about which team you have been assigned to.

Our PTSA laminating phenom Leslie Mast is going out on maternity leave! PTSA has sent out a SOS to all members trying to recruit laminating volunteers, but they appreciate your patience and understanding if there are laminating delays.

Budget orders are due to Grade Level Leaders or Marcie (for non-classroom staff) TODAY. Thank you!

Festivus Fun starts today and runs through December 22!

This is just a reminder that when you sign out and use any of our carts through Booked, you must get them back to where they belong on the day you finish using them. They need to have time to be plugged in and recharge batteries for the next class that signs them out. Thank you for your help in this matter.

Because this is may be one of the best holiday movies ever...

Elf-Funniest Moments