Sunday, July 11, 2010


My bags are packed, I'm ready to go!

It feels a tad decadent to be venturing off to Italy again this summer but the promise of Saint Bernard puppies at La Tavola Marche proved too much of a draw.

Alas, to my great disappointment the Saint Bernard puppies were put on hold until the fall but the trip is still on.

Delicious, fresh food, breathtaking beauty and good friends await.

After a two week stay in Italy we travel to Zurich, Switzerland to spend time with a couple of friends who give love a good name.

All the while I will have nothing more pressing than writing in my journal and reading the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All I Really Need To Know...

I spent the 4th of July holiday in Ocean City, NJ with some good friends to enjoy the sun, water, food and conversation. As the evening ebbed away Marian, who is a spunky 84-year-old, ran to get two poems to share. As I was the only one present who could read the small print I began my cold reading.

"All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten"

Here I stopped reading and stated excitedly that this is great because I just finished teaching kindergarten. To this Marian gave me "the look" and said "if you are going to read it, read it right!"

So, with the pressure on I continued my dramatic reading of this familiar poem by Robert Fulghum.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:
  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don't hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don't take things that aren't yours.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
I am already looking forward to next school year!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Am I Blue?

Am I Blue?

Well, the answer to that is "Yes" and "No".

The end of a school year brings with it a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that this moment in time, this exact cohort of children, will never exist again.

It is also very difficult to say good-bye. I realize that I will see most of these children again but the day to day interactions will never be the same and I will never quite feel that same sense of responsibility for them.

And there are some children I will not see again. They will move away or transfer to different schools. This is especially difficult because on the last day of school I know they won't be back.

I feel the weight of finality, of letting go, trusting that life will be happy for them and some other teacher will hopefully fully embrace this child.

On the last day of school they write me letters stating they'll miss me.

Or that I am funny.

Or that I am nice.

The little girl who wrote me this note (pictured right) is not coming back. This perpetually grinning, beaming child became sadder as the last day came to a close. She hugged me good-bye at dismissal with quiet acceptance laced with extreme melancholy.

I totally appreciated her sense of drama.

I will miss her terribly. I will miss all of them.

But on the other hand, it is brilliant to have the summer to refresh, rejuvenate and recharge. Each year I brood over saying good-bye to my class but in September I fall in love all over again with renewed energy, ideas and passion.

I have been teaching long enough to know that these children never really drop out of my life. I am in touch with many former students through the relationships I have established with their families. We keep in touch. I watch them grow. I celebrate their success and help guide, advise or simply listen when they struggle.

So, why be blue?

This is a Theme Thursday post.


Related Posts with Thumbnails