I think I'm done here. I've thought of bogging...but for whatever reason, the appeal of blogging about my life is no longer appealing to me. I'll leave this here, because I really like some of my posts and may want to look back at them some day. Maybe someday I'll change my mind and come back. But for now, this blog is finished.
In 4th grade, I had my first male teacher. Mr. VanderLinden. I remember crying when we found out I was going to be in his class, because I'd never had a man teacher and I was afraid he'd be mean. I don't know where I got this idea, I just know I had it. Our school always told us on our final grade card whose class we were placed in the following year. I fretted and worried all summer about being in his class.
He turned out to be a very nice man. He was the first teacher I had with a "lending library." He would let us check out his own books and take them home to read. I remember checking out a book called Christina's Ghost. It was the first "scary" book I'd ever read and I remember staying awake all night hearing strange sounds in our attic.
He was also the only teacher that sent us postcards in the mail. Not often, but every once in a while, and always to tell us something positive he had noticed about us in class. He wrote one to me that he had really enjoyed a story I had written and thanked me for my effort in editing it. That postcard was very empowering for me.
In a strange twist, my 4th grade year was the year my brother entered kindergarten. He had the same teacher I had for my kindergarten year, Ms. Dobbs. The spring of that year, Mr. VanderLinden proposed to Ms. Dobbs. They married that next winter and soon had a baby boy they named Brett.
Mr. VanderLinden was a first year teacher that year...and it was the only year he taught. OK, I don't actually know what came of him after I left elementary school, he very well could have gone back into teaching at some point. I do know (because Ms. Dobbs/Mrs. VanderLinden was still there for two more years) that he did not return to teaching for a few years, if he did at all. During his year as my teacher, he also worked at Foot Locker. After the school year, he resigned and became the manager of Foot Locker and did not return to teaching. Knowing what I know now as a teacher, two things are probable. It is likely that he made more money as a store manager than a first year teacher. Also, first year of teaching is hard, and our small district (less than 500 kids K-12) probably offered little training, PD or support to help him adjust.
I saw a hockey scene on TV the other day and Mr. VanderLinden, who I had not thought of in years, popped into my head. Because his classroom was decorated with a sports theme and one of the motivational posters was a hockey themed one, done by Nike. I remember LOVING the poster, even though I had no interest in hockey at all, because the words on it were powerful. So, remembering only the lines about the grinder sticking up for his teammates, because they're his teammates and the other guys aren't and about the stopper bringing the toilet paper on the camping trip, I headed to Google to find the poster.
It took a lot of searching, but I finally tracked it down. I still really like it. (It is posted below, for the curious.)
This random remembering of a man, a poster and some words makes me think that maybe as an elementary school teacher, I can really and truly have a lasting impression on kids. They may not think of me often, or regularly, but maybe once in a while something will trigger a memory of me. I would like those things to be good, positive, motivational memories. Words are powerful and can be empowering. I want my classroom to be a place that they are.
For those who want to read the poster, here it is:
Hockey is a Lot Like Life
You've heard it before.
Sports are a lot like life.
But the truth is, hockey is more like life than life itself.
See, every single person in the world fits into one of five categories.
He or she is either a Grinder, a Playmaker, a Stopper, a Scorer, or a Superstar.
The Grinder works hard in the corners and other places nobody else wants to go.
The Grinder's the guy who doesn't have the grades to get the scholarships so he works the night shift to pay for classes.
The Grinder's willing to sacrifice the body. Stopping a speeding puck with your face isn't pretty, but then again, neither is the name "Grinder".
The Grinder always sticks up for his teammates. Why? Because they're teammates. And the other guys aren't.
The Playmaker makes all of us look good.
The Playmaker is almost as unselfish as the Grinder, but sees the ice differently.
The Playmaker's not the President but he's not an empty-suit Vice-President either. He's more like a really powerful Secretary of State or Chief of Staff.
The Playmaker gets a point for each assist.
Because in hockey, as well as other things, an assist can be more beautiful than a goal.
The Stopper is different.
The Stopper makes a mistake, and a red light goes on and 10,000 people yell at him.
The Stopper's the one you count on to succeed after everyone else has failed.
The Stopper's the guy who remembers to bring the toilet paper on the camping trip.
The Stopper might be weird. But understandably so.
Thank God for the Stopper.
The Scorer is somebody you're very familiar with.
The Scorer was born with his own map to the right place at the right time.
The Scorer's the one who doesn't study all semester, goes out the night before, and still manages to ace the final.
You hate the Scorer.
You love the Scorer.
You watch the Scorer.
Simply put, the Superstar can do things no one else can.
The Superstar has his picture taken a lot.
The Superstar can't be explained.
The Superstar gets to marry anybody.
The Superstar should be watched and enjoyed.
Because the Superstar doesn't come along that often.
Posted by Amber at 7/02/2011 12:39:00 AM
I can't seem to find words enough for paragraphs, so here's some short phrases...
*I loved the 70+ degree weather we were having.
*I hate the fact that we are back in the 40s.
*I need to move to a warmer climate...
*Spring Break was this week, and in it's honor, my daffodils and forsythia blooms opened up.
*They are both gorgeous.
*On the Monday of Spring Break, I cleaned. And cleaned. And cleaned.
*Tuesday, I was supposed to have a meeting, arrived and found it had been cancelled...so I went back home.
*Wednesday, I went to the assessors office for a property tax reciept, got my Kia inspected and got new car license plates. They have little handprints on them, because they are cute and benefit CASA.
*Thursday, I went to a meeting, ate lunch with the darling Lauren Scott, toured the Harmony House and went to Trivia Night at the Patton Alley Pub. We won!
*Today, the final true day of Spring Break (I don't count the weekend as Spring Break, since we always have the weekend off), I had Orange Leaf with Trinos, returned some things to WalMart, and picked up my pottery.
*I miss Shortcake.
Posted by Amber at 3/25/2011 09:01:00 PM
Shortcake went back home today. It was sudden and completely unexpected (we were told she'd be here 3-6 months). They called at 4:15 and picked her up at 5:15, only waiting long enough for me to pack her things. We sent her home with double what she came with, and that wasn't even sending everything (some things were only loaned to us).
When they called, I was ok. Packing her things while she played with Donald, I was ok. Watching the case worker walk her down the sidewalk to the car...that's where I started crying.
I started thinking about changes we had made in our house...and appointments I had made...and schedules we had arranged. I realized how much simpler life is without planning around a kid...yet how much more I like it when I have to.
Posted by Amber at 3/14/2011 06:37:00 PM
Shortcake needed new shoes. The ones she came here in were pinching her toes. I told her on Friday that we were going shoe shopping on Saturday. As we left school, she told Ms. Katrina that she was going to get peach shoes.
Saturday, we went to get shoes. They do not make peach shoes...at least not around here. I showed her every pair of shoes. She declared that she hated each pair and would not wear them, demanding peach shoes.
Finally, she spotted a pair of pink glitter shoes in the clearance bin for $3.75. She said she liked them and they had them in her size. However...they looked already ready to fall apart and they had no traction for PE and other activities.
We struck a compromise. She could get the pink glitter shoes (seriously, not a spot of these shoes was not covered in pink glitter) if she also got tennis shoes. I picked out two pair for her to pick from. She said no to both...until I showed her that one pair lit up. All was well, and we took the glitter shoes and the light up shoes and headed home.
Sunday morning we left for church. Nugget, who has NEVER chewed on a shoe in his life, DESTROYED one of the tennis shoes that had never been worn. Can you say jealous?? Donald went back to the store and bought an identical replacement pair. Of course he chewed up the nice shoes, not the clearance ones!
Oh, how I wish they had just had peach shoes....
Posted by Amber at 3/14/2011 06:32:00 PM
Spring is trying to be here. I can sense it. Today was warm, the buds on my forsythia are doubled in size from 1 week ago, and a few buds have opened into flowers. The dogwood tree has little round buds ready to open soon and the grass is getting greener. One lone daffodil has a yellow bud.
I'm eager for warmth and no coats and a world looking colorful and alive.
However, I fear that Missouri will once again tease me then yank the football away right before I kick it.
Posted by Amber at 3/11/2011 07:18:00 PM
Yesterday was a momentous milestone. It was the first day since bringing Shortcake into our home with NO TIME OUTS. She was sweet and compliant and redirectable. I was extremely pleased with how the day went.
Naturally, you can probably figure out how today went! She had a decent morning and day at school, followed as soon as we got home by the worst tantrum I've seen yet. Then a normal dinner and playtime and another big tantrum getting ready for bed.
I suppose that's normal, though. I know that my being consistent with what is acceptable and unacceptable will go a long way toward helping us have more days like yesterday. I'm trying to make sure that no matter how our day goes, we have a nice, calm, sweet few minutes right before bed so that her day ends well.
Posted by Amber at 3/09/2011 07:50:00 PM
Today I asked Shortcake if she wanted to go get Orange Leaf. She put her shoes and jacket on and then immediately started misbehaving. I told her I was going to sit down and wait a few minutes and see if she could be nice, but that if she wasn't going to be nice, we were staying home. She acted nicely the next ten minutes, so we walked out the door.
Before I even got the door locked, she threatened to "beat my ass." I opened the door back up, looked at her and said, "We aren't going today. Go sit on your bed." The ensuing fit lasted quite a while, and was pretty loud. When she calmed down, I went in to talk to her and she apologized, then she stood up and said "Go to Orange Leaf?" I replied, "No, I said we aren't going today, we will try another day. You can take your shoes and jacket off."
She began tantruming again and said, "You're not the mom!" I looked at her and said, "I know. But we still can't go do fun things when you aren't acting nice." I left her room and she continued screaming and throwing toys for another 10 minutes. She screamed some more when told she could not come out of her room until the toys were back in her baskets.
An hour after the proposed trip to Orange Leaf, she was finally calm and snacking on pretzels. Hopefully the calm lasts through the rest of the evening...we've had a fairly stormy day!
Posted by Amber at 3/06/2011 04:19:00 PM