Thursday, May 26, 2011

False Alarm

If you have ever wandered down an elementary school hallway, you have no doubt noticed the wall art up and down the corridors. In the kindergarten class where I am substituting for the day, we are making a mural to be displayed in such a hallway. Each child has been assigned a very specific part (a character from the story, trees, flowers, etc.) One girl is working very meticulously on her piece when her tablemate says to her, "It doesn't have to be perfect. I mean, it's not like it’s going in a museum or something." 

Later this same afternoon, the fire alarm goes off. I mutter to myself in a voice that is barely audible, "You have GOT to be kidding me." Upon hearing this, one of the little girls gets up from her desk and in her most exasperated voice repeats, "You have got to be kidding me." They are little sponges. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stage 3

We are about five minutes into recess one day when a group of second graders rushes over to me. "Miss! Miss! Look at the caterpillar we found!" A little girl proudly displays the caterpillar she is cradling in her hands. I ooh and aah, and then encourage them to put him back in a tree. As she gently places him on a leaf she says, "He's pretty close to stage 3 anyway." We had just finished a Science segment on the stages of a butterfly, and I was proud of her like a mother in that moment.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


During 4th grade recess I am talking with some of the other teachers when one of them makes an announcement: "Attention 4th grade teachers, please be aware that your students are playing 'stripper' on the playground." Sure enough, I look over and a group of girls are taking turns dancing around the pole - some of them are even going down it upside down. When we put a stop to their dance party and asked them where they had learned their moves, they said "Miley Cyrus."

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I like to consider myself a pretty fashion-forward person. But teaching has given me an entirely new appreciation for kids' fashions. I still remember my outfit for the first day of school in third grade. I was starting a new school and wanted to make a good impression, so I meticulously laid out my outfit the night before: pink shorts to compliment a glitter tie-dyed shirt. True story. I thought that this outfit was so amazing that I wore it at least once a week. I am pretty sure that it was from JC Penny or Bealls, our only two options at the time.

When I got to high school, I decided to step it up. My freshman year I spent my entire back-to-school allowance on two outifts: one was a Pepe Jeans t-shirt and Girbaud shorts, and the second was head-to-toe Guess. Now the kids I teach wear Ugg boots and Burberry scarves. I was teaching basketball and soccer relays to a group of 2nd graders when one girl refused to take off her floor length coat. After I complimented it, she thanked me and added "It was $200." Really, Suri Cruise?! Is it bad when the kids I teach have better clothes than I do?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So Far in 2011...

Has anyone ever thrown up on themselves at your job? Unless you are an ad man from the 1960s (Mad Men, anyone?) or a doctor, probably not. One minute the 1st grade class that I am substituting for is enjoying their snack time, and the next a little boy is approaching me with vomit all over the front of his shirt. As I try to suppress my own gag reflex, he tells me that he is feeling much better. I reply that while I am glad to hear this, he still needs to go to the nurse and get a fresh shirt.

Simon Says

I am substituting for a multi-grade PE class, and the school happens to be testing that day. The gym/multi-purpose room is being used, so I literally go door-to-door to relieve teachers and conduct a PE lesson in the classrooms. I arrive at one kindergarten class and we play 'Simon Says' to get them up and moving around to burn off some energy. At one point I instruct the students to do a "silly dance," and a group of 5 and 6-year-old boys start jumping up and down and singing, "Do the stanky leg!" Simon said stop pretty quickly, as Simon wasn't 100% sure that the 'stanky leg' was appropriate at school.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Gift giving is a completely different event for men and women. I am not trying to make generalizations - just sharing some of my personal experience. My husband and I just celebrated our second anniversary together last month, and the traditional second anniversary gift is cotton. I scoured stores and websites looking for the ultimate present that was both sentimental and practical. I decided on his and her monogramed bath sheets (not to be confused with normal towels - these are twice as big...and twice as expensive). A friend once left their own bath sheet in our car after a river trip, and we liked it so much that we never returned it. Oops.

I was feeling very proud of myself when I returned home on Sunday with my bag of towels stowed safely in the back of my car. Around 4:30pm that same day, Barrett announces that he needs to run up to the "office" for a few hours. Keep in mind that our anniversary is the very next day - Monday. On his way out the door, I remind him that the mall closes at 6:00 on Sundays, so he better hustle. Thankfully, we had done a walk through Nordstrom a few weekends before and I had pointed out things that would make good gifts. "These shoes would be cute in a size 8..."

Monday arrives and our new bath sheets are proudly displayed on the towel rack. I lead him to the bathroom, where he is clearly impressed by my thoughtfulness but looks a little skeptical. He says, "Can we use them or are they for display only? Because I couldn't use the last towels that were there..." I assure him that yes, he can use these towels. He then presents me with my gift - Tory Burch flats, size 8. Even if they are not cotton, they are just what I always wanted :)