Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trying "Ten on the Tenth...."

The Sullivan Four blog has meant a lot to me this week.  I've watched the You Tube video of the baby being convulsed with laughter while someone rips paper into tiny shreds and as I've watched, I've  found tension draining from me with each belly laugh that came from this tiny child..... When weeks like this come along (EOC testing, Nine weeks testing, morning duty on the South 40 come rain or shine, and long work days from trying to blend two work schedules so we can commute together and save on gas....well,  it's great to be able to laugh with a child over... nothing:)
And the accompanying blog helped me think about what really matters...

And the blog  today was nothing short of a blessing.  Ten things to be thankful for regarding cancer.  I didn't think there were ten things that you could be grateful for regarding cancer... but obviously there is.

So it's the tenth and I'm thinking surely I can come up with ten things to be thankful for.  Since I'm sort of reviewing the past :)  as I prepare to transition to a new lifestyle, I would like to list ten things I'm thankful for in regard to my years in teaching.

1.  I'm thankful for all the wonderful people I have met through my profession, especially my colleagues.  I've seen so many dedicated, hard-working people who really care about  kids - people who go the second mile by buying food for kids who truly come to school hungry,  even taking kids to pick out clothes for the prom because no one else was able to do it - just going above and beyond in ways that never make the news but certainly impact tons of young lives over the years.  I'm very proud to have spent my adult life in the company of such people

2.  I'm thankful for the zany sense of humor that seems to be essential in education if you are going to last.  I can't think of any examples right off hand but I think other teachers will know exactly what I mean.  It's when something happens at school and (like the little kid watching paper being ripped apart) you are convulsed with laughter but when you come home and tell your spouse and non-teaching friends about it, they just don't... get it...

3.  I'm thankful for the way our faculty pulls together when someone is hurting.  I have so many memories of a staff member facing tough times:  maybe someone needing a very dangerous type of heart surgery or someone  facing a cancer diagnosis for themselves or a loved one, or someone having a son or daughter who was seriously ill.  And in each instance, I can recall things our staff did as a group or individually to reach out and help and in that sense, I really feel we are like family. I don't know if it's true of all schools but I know it's true of ours.

4.  I'm thankful for being around young people all these years.  If I seem somewhat like a stick-in-the-mud now, just think what I would have been like if I'd never been thrown into the warp and woof of the lives of teen-agers. I think maybe this has helped slow down the process of geriatric-fying (?). I know it's given me a different perspective at times because young people see life through a different lens than adults.  Idealism, enthusiasm, spontaneity...definitely things to be thankful for.

5.  I'm thankful, honestly, when I think  that I started with chalk and mimeograph machines and am now ending with computers, smart boards and copy machines.  AMazing.  I sort of  feel like my great-uncle who used to tell me about riding to town (Cabot) in a  wagon and then talk about how fascinating it was to see a man walk on the moon. I feel like I started out with a horse-and-buggy and have sort of set foot on the moon educationally-wise.

6.  I'm thankful for block scheduling and for the type of block scheduling that our school adopted.  Not everyone would agree with me but I vividly remember teaching 6 periods a day from August to May with the same classes all year long.  To interact with 60 kids a term instead of 120 - to me it's a no-brainer.

7.  Oddly enough, I'm thankful for snow days even though right now I personally am sick of the cold.  Still, I have to admit that whenever the weather man would say the "s" word,  I'd be a kid again, eagerly anticipating an unexpected holiday. Sometimes I'd have to curb my enthusiasm in front of my more mature colleagues but I could never eradicate it.

8.  I'm thankful for the memories.  Of my first principal accidently backing into the fire alarm button and not realizing for a few minutes that the whole school had turned out onto the front lawn because everyone thought we were having a fire drill...  Of the time when I had the kids put their projects in garbage bags, neatly labeled, only to find the next morning that they were all gone.. the new custodian had seen garbage sacks and well.... everyone got an A on that project....     Or of the time when we came to school on a Monday and there was an entry in the announcements saying that if anyone had seen the biology lab snake, would they please call someone to come and get it... (I didn't open my closet for a week.. the snake was never found as far as I know.)

9.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to be creative and to teach a subject that I really love.  To be able to combine history, world cultures, and current events has been fascinating for me if not for my students.  I think I am so much richer because I've made my living by learning as well as teaching  - right now I can't think of anything better.

10. I'm thankful that someone cared enough to teach me when I was young, idealistic and at times impudent.  I still remember Mrs. Cross - my first grade teacher. I used to wonder why anyone would name her that when she was anything but cross..Or my third grade teacher who called  my mom to tell her that I had a talent for writing...And  on it goes - on through junior high, high school, and college.  Mrs. McKinney, Mr. Russell, Mrs. Reed, Mrs. Mcallister, Mr. Aist, Mrs. Berry, Mr. Paulus, Dr. Nolte, Mr. Hudson, Mrs. Farmer...

Tall shoulders to stand on.. a lot to be thankful for....


  1. I LOVE this blog!!! It is perfect!!! I am thankful for you Cathy! :)

  2. Wonderful first "Ten on the Tenth"! Having spent a lot of time working in school settings myself, I could relate to so many of these. Thanks for sharing!

  3. And I'm thankful for teachers like you! I taught elementary for 9 years, and know how much work it is, especially when you care. And even though we home school at this moment, we've sent our kids to public and charter school before, and after reading this I'm ready to send them to you for high school! :)
    (Came over when I saw you "followed" my blog.)