I was destined to become a teacher. I would not go so far as to say that I knew it all along or that I played school religiously from toddlerhood. Rather, the components of my personality developed into an adult led me to this profession. They are as follows:
I’m naturally an early riser. On vacations, over the weekend, I am up early looking for a task. I am not always cheery-no one who lives with me would label me perky, but I do like to get started. I set the alarm for the same time, I schedule any appointments for the very first thing in the morning, I commit to first shift on committees. Drives my family nuts. They do not share this trait, sadly. But it holds me in good stead to be up and at ’em for grade school.
I know a million songs with hand and body motions. My husband accuses me of living on the set of a perpetual musical- always ready to break into song. My favorites are Deep and Wide, Five Little Ducks and a neat one called Desperado. I listen to Raffi, Sesame Street, Ella Jenkins and Carole King’s Really Rosie when I am alone. We sing in my classroom at every morning meeting and we occasionally teach the entire school. I teach them songs in the traditional call and response method- so all kids can learn the words.
Staples is my favorite store. Aisle upon aisle of paper, pencils, calendars, tape, awesome smooth writing pens, markers with scents! New crayons make me swoon. I create reasons to go into the supply closet at school. Something about it comforts me. I also really love the copier. I love sending letters home in on purple paper one week and green the next. You know those letters teachers send home with a list of supplies? I never do- I always get them myself. Parents love that.
I am an avid and enthusiastic reader. I love stories and I tell them, hear them read about them and retell them with jollity. I am especially skilled at reading aloud. My parents are from Virginia, and I was raised in a city in eastern Massachusetts, so I speak three languages; English, Boston and Southern. Over the years I have acquired a mean Puerto Rican accent, an accent with a hint of the Caribbean and even a little upper class Brit. The kids love these voices and nothing beats a receptive audience. If a child leaves my room with a greater appreciation for the written word and it’s ability to enthrall, my job has been well done.
As a child I got all C’s in conduct as I talked nonstop. Put me in front of the room, I’d turn around and talk to the perfectly perfect student beside me. Put me in the back of the room, and I’d chat up the ne’er do well in the last row. Put me in a corner, I’d talk to my crayons-you remember the ones that came eight in a box and were fat and round on one side? They were my friends. Blue was the best. Talking all the time helped me just like it helped Oprah-granted, not on the same scale necessarily as Herself, but still, I turned it into an asset.
Snack is one of my favorite time of the day. Actually, I am ready for snack all the time. This is also linked to the love I have for lunch boxes. ( See paragraph re: Staples) Being the mother of three school aged kids has pretty much killed all the appreciation I had for making lunches- there is only so much of that one can do and still be stirred up.. But the kids droop around about 9:30 and I always break for snack. We don’t swap foods, but they give me good ideas for future bag lunches.
As a result of the aforementioned trait…Jumpers are my fall back solution to fashion dilemma. When I worked in advertising as a twentysomething, I would never have been caught dead in a jumper. I thought them shapeless and an indication of an unwillingness to make an effort. Now, after three babies and approaching a milestone birthday, those very qualities have a certain appeal. Socks with critters, symbols and characters also feature prominently in my wardrobe. In case my mom is reading this, I do own and wear panty-hose on occasion.
I enjoy working with chalk. That I always have loved doing. White boards are all the rage in schools nowadays, but I prefer chalk. That’s because I love wiping the board with my hand, erasing with an eraser, washing the board at the end of the day. It takes practice to learn to write neatly in cursive or print high above your head- and I mastered it. Still, white board markers are neat- lots of coloring opportunities. Red for Valentine’s, orange for Halloween….
I can cure most any boo-boo with a wet brown paper towel and some magic baby lotion. Corny jokes crack me up. My favorites involve animals trying to cross the street. But perhaps the most pertinent piece of information I can relate to prove that I was truly fated to be a grade school teacher is this- I wear clogs every single day.