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Tuesday, December 20, 2011


      Do you remember Ralphie from the movie A Christmas Story ?  There is a scene where he imagines his teacher grading all of the essays and marking them with F, F, F, while sobbing in disappointment....THEN...she gets to Ralphie's essay, reads it, gasps, weeps in delight and marks A, A, AAAAAA.  Then Ralphie wakes up from his daydream.  It doesn't turn out as he expected.

       This is one of my all time favorite movies for a few reasons.  Never mind how Dad pronounces the word "fragile".  It shows a child in his true light.  He hates the bunny costume.  He wants what he wants for Christmas no matter how ridiculous.  He knows what he wants to tell Santa and nearly misses the opportunity to sheer shyness.  He's scared to death of a bully who is really just a creep of a kid.  He has curse words in his dictionary, but does not use them at all...well, until the slip up.  Most of all, he has this incredible imagination.

       The relationship between a teacher and student is special.  In the 4th grade, I played the role of "Fern" in Charlotte's Web.  I was super shy, just like my middle daughter.  I spoke to no one (((ever))).  I had this incredible imagination and a deep love of reading, though.  The first time I read Charlotte's Web by E. B. White, I was so enthralled in this book, that I missed my bus stop.  When I looked up from my book, I was in the next town.  I was slouched down in my seat, so no one noticed.  My brother and sister had gotten off at our house and not noticed I had not {{Well, that's another issue}}.  My teacher saw the passion I had for this story and gave ME ((the shyest kid in the grade)) the lead.  I practiced, practiced, practiced, for weeks and weeks.  I imagined what it would be like.  I imagined applause, laughter, gasps, standing ovations...the works.  The play was a success...well, I guess it was.   Who knows.  It's what my child mind wanted it to be.  I am still grateful to that teacher for believing in me.

          That feeling has helped me as a teacher.  My parents were always terribly involved in school, so every holiday we showed up with gifts.  My mind worked as all children's minds work.  My mom would show me the gift, or I'd help to make something.  She would wrap it and put my name on it to give the next day.  My mind would race with possible reactions...jump up out of her chair and hug me....announce to the class that this was the best gift she received....tell me she always wanted that exact thing....let me know how she could use it.  I don't remember specific reactions, but I know what I imagined.  I imagined that I had made my teacher so happy.   Today, when I get a gift, I do my best to make that child feel like this is their moment.  I always come up with a reason I need it, where I can use it, how much I have been wanting this!   It could be a fabulous gift card to my favorite spot...or it could be a craft that a child made because her parents couldn't afford gifts (those are pretty special).  I receive each gift with a hug, if possible.  I hope that a child never goes away feeling that I did not appreciate their kind act.  As a teacher at a private school, I had to pull my truck up to the classroom to load up all of my Christmas goodies.  Each gift is so special to me, not because it is exactly what I have been wanting or needing, but because each one of those kids were so proud to give a gift to someone that was such a big part of their lives.  Whether you see it or not, a teacher and a child can have a pretty special relationship. It's why I teach.  Every child deserves success and encouragement.  I hope I fulfilled the imaginations this week.

Thank you to all of my angels for so many special gifts this week:)

Merry Christmas,


Lesson:  God has given me the gift of teaching.  It's not all rainbows and sunshine, but it touches a child.  I am blessed.