One Teacher. 22 Children. There’s Always One You Wonder About…Years Later.

 

When I first started teaching public school, I had no idea what I was getting into. I did not know how sweet the children could be. I did not know how difficult the children sometimes could be. I did not know about the huge amounts of paperwork. I did not know about the long hours of preparation. I did not know that a teacher could become so overwhelmed by preparation…that the teacher could easily forget to understand each child…   to give each child the individual attention they needed. I did not know how to savor each moment spent with a child…how to make the best of each moment.

 

class four

 

That first year…almost 20 years ago…I learned so much about me, about the children, about their needs…I learned so much that the professors never mentioned in my education classes…

 

Such as…how poverty can cause a child to be fearful and withdrawn.

Such as…the fact that hunger is real and it exists where you least expect it.

Such as…the school might be the very best and cleanest and prettiest place that they have ever been.

Such as…just how much the teacher can impact a class by simply cherishing their very presence.

Such as…that their family might be in the survival mode instead of the loving their child mode.

 

classroom one

 

Cherish? Survive? Love? Teach? Protect? So many roles all at the same time. So many children. How in the world could I do it? Maybe I was not meant to teach…

 

AND THEN I MET JOHNNY!

Johnny was in my class for two different grade levels. The classes just turned out that way. It was a very large elementary school…well over 1,000 students. Some grade levels had seven or eight classrooms. It was just a lucky coincidence that I had Johnny for a second year. I was thrilled!

 

class three

However, Johnny’s family life had changed in the two years since I had him in a lower grade level. His mother couldn’t come to the school very much. I never heard anything from the father. Johnny came to school hungry. If he arrived at school a little late and missed breakfast…he would cry. I would get someone to go to the cafeteria to find something for him. I started keeping snacks in my desk for just such an occasion.

 

class two

Johnny did not have all of the supplies that he needed. This never happened when he was in my class before. Clearly, something was going on at the house. The parents would not show up for conferences. Johnny would not talk about what was wrong.

I concluded that the parents perhaps had lost their jobs. Or perhaps that one parent had lost a job. There were multiple children in one small house. Too many mouths to feed…too much worry to give much love to this boy… this boy who needed so much attention.

 

I looked for a way to reach Johnny. I knew that he was an excellent artist even as a younger child. I found him a drawing pad and special pencils. Johnny was instantly a brand new child. A happy child…at least…at school. The whole class was in awe of his obvious talent.

Johnny had a good year. Things seemed to get a bit better at his house. He started making it to school in time for breakfast. He started doing his homework. He started answering questions about stories from the basal reader. He started checking out library books and writing book reports. He started to be a strong leader. He started to grow up and to know that someone indeed did care…in fact, a lot of people cared besides just me. The music teacher, the P.E. teacher, the art teacher, the janitors, the principal…everyone cared about Johnny.

 

Actually, everyone cared about everyone at that particular school. And that is how one little boy learned about confidence and courage and friendship.

 

And one new teacher learned about the power of listening to a child, about the power of observing a child, about the power of caring about a child. And one teacher learned that she could do the same for all of the children in the class.

 

And it all started because of a drawing pad and a set of special pencils.

 

class six

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/savor/

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The Elephant and the Tailor. A Short Story with a Moral.

“An Elephant and a Tailor” is an ideal story for an early childhood class. As with quite a few children’s short stories, the meaning of the story can reach out to many adults. Let me rephrase that statement…some adults need to listen to the moral of the story!

 

Moral of “An Elephant and a Tailor”…

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

 

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Read the story and see if you agree with the moral…

 

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Tailor two

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There are several different versions of the story…all with the same moral viewpoint…

 

 

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tailor/

Inspiration. Contemplation. Adversity. Strength…From A 2017 Children’s Book.

life one

LIFE, a new children’s book from Cynthia Rylant, gave me a feeling of tranquility and hopefulness like I have not found in any recent books. I am including books written for adults and for children during the last few years. Often, we overlook children’s books as being simplistic and not laden with strong content. Life is a different type book… indeed, it is a book that can be the catalyst to acquiring a wider viewpoint of our world. I am thinking that we surely need a stronger outlook in every aspect of our lives.

 

life four

 

 

To find strength and resilience through the adverse times we all sometimes face.

To find freedom through appreciation of the wonders of nature that surround us.

 

life five

 

In the harsh rhetoric of discord that we hear in our own lives or through the media, our nerves easily become jangled and discordant.  LIFE by Cynthia Rylant offers us the opportunity to find a sense of beauty in the world around us and to also recognize that we are not alone in our concerns.

 

 

life three

 

 

We all struggle. Sadly, we do not all look for the glass half full. Why settle for the glass half empty?

 

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Simon & Schuster published LIFE and wrote the following review…

 

LIFE

Written by: Cynthia Rylant

Illustrated by: Brendan Wenzel

 

“Cynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel explore the beauty and tenacity of life. There are so many wonderful things about life, both in good times and in times of struggle. Through the eyes of the world’s animals–including elephants, monkeys, whales and more–Cynthia Rylant offers a moving meditation on finding beauty around us every day and finding strength in adversity. Brendan Wenzel’s stunning landscapes and engaging creatures make this an inspiring and intriguing gift for readers of all ages.”

 

life two

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/jangle/