Category Archives: Childhood

Back to School, Part 3

If you’ve kept up with this blog for any length of time, you may remember my posts about Secret Teacher Insights – Schooled and Schooled, Part 2. Well, with Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and this being my first V-Day out of the classroom, I’ve been thinking. Last week, someone asked me if I missed teaching. My honest answer? Sometimes. But the ability to go to the bathroom whenever I want during the work day totally outweighs any sadness at beign out of public education. Seriously. If you’ve never taught, you won’t get this one. So think about it – teachers can’t just drop everything for a bathroom break whenever. It takes planning. And time, which is something teachers have very little of. But that one simple question got me thinking about other possible topics for my book. Want a taste? Ok, here you go…

If you teach long enough, kids grow up. This one seems like a no-brainer, so hear me out. Remember how weird it was to see your teacher away from school? Like at the grocery store or a restaurant? They just didn’t look right. Especially if they were in shorts and a t-shirt. Well, that goes both ways, folks. Happened just the other day. I had to print off resumes for the day’s interviews at work, and I recognized a name. Looking closer, I realized that it was a kid I taught WAY back in the day. I ran to my boss and excitedly told her, and she asked if there was anything the Head Honcho should know before the guy came in to interview. Hmmm… Should I have told her that he was the kid who sat with his hands down his pants through my entire first official observation? That’s a tough one. Of course I told her. But I made her promise (after she picked herself up off the floor laughing) not to pass that one on to the Head Honcho. Still, it was weird to see this tall young man in a business suit come through the office. I couldn’t for the life of me erase the vision of the kid with both hands busy in his wind shorts.

Teachers hear everything that goes on at home. Case in point: the kindergartener who told me his mom would be a few minutes late picking him up from school. When I asked why, he plainly told me that it was because she needed extra time to move around. “My mommy’s having trouble bending,” the wide-eyed cherub said. “Is she OK?” I asked with concern. “Yeah, but ever since she got the ring in her belly button she has trouble bending,” the cherub replied. I kid you not. I’ve said it before – I can’t make this stuff up!

Some parents can be overly sympathetic. This is a funny one here. Just warning you. One of the schools had very strict rules about class parties. It was a newer school, and of course the administration wanted to do what they could to preserve the carpets, etc. So the rule was – at parties – that every kid had to remain seated until all of the food/drink/sugary stuff was cleaned up. Sensible, right? Not for one mommy. She rounded on me in the middle of the room and lambasted me for not allowing her sweet little daughter – who didn’t like Sprite – to get up and drink some water. For goodness sake, the mom yelled said, the poor darling was going to get dehydrated. I stood my ground. Of course, the forty other parents stood around and watched this happen.

When it was over and the mommy had stormed to the office determined to confront the principal on this one, another mom sidled up to me and whispered, “Strawberry or Apple?” My natural reaction was to look at her like WTHeck?? And I’m sure I had that ‘deer in headlights’ look of a teacher who’s just been yelled at. She was nice enough to clarify. “I can be back in five minutes. The gas station has Boone’s, and I know you need it after that. So, strawberry or apple?”

Like I said, I’m not creative enough to make this stuff up!

School nurses really can work magic. My first year teaching, I had an adorable girl named Annie in my class. Annie was the sweetest, most loving child. She always tried her best. But she was one of those that you’d just look at and think, ‘Bless her little heart.’ In southern-speak, that translates to ‘she’s just not the sharpest knife in the drawer.’

One afternoon, Annie went to the bathroom. For a really long time. In fact, she came back just as we were packing up to get on the buses to go home. And she looked panicked. She told me that she had lost her tooth. Being the new, good teacher I was, I tried to reassure her and get her a treasure box for her tooth. ‘That’s the problem,’ she sobbed, ‘I swallowed it.’ She was hysterical. I sent her to the nurse. Just as we left for the bus, Annie came back, smiling and happy with a fresh treasure box proudly held in her hand. She told me that the tooth was inside.

Huh? I marched my happy self down to the nurse after school and demanded to know what she’d done.

‘I got it out,’ the nurse told me. ‘The tooth. I got it out.’

I believed her for about ten minutes until she finally busted out laughing. Who says ‘gullible’ isn’t in the dictionary?

I’ve got many, many more tidbits here, folks. What do you think? Should I keep this up and turn it into a book? There’s millions of gems stored up in my head!

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Filed under Childhood, Education, Field Trips, life lessons, Moms, Public Education, Teachers, Teaching, Uncategorized

Homesick

I always get homesick this time of year. It has to do with the holidays and Thanksgiving in particular. See, we always go up to Big D to spend Turkey Day with extended fam. And since I grew up there, it’s hard to drive anywhere without getting nostalgic. Granted, some places are unrecognizable, but it’s amazing how many places bring up oodles and oodles of memories. I end up checking out childhood friends on Facebook more often than usual. And my poor kids just don’t get it.

Case in point: We drive by Reunion Tower.
R: ‘Wow, it would be cool to go up on top of that thing!’
Me: ‘Actually I’ve been up there once. There was a restaurant up there and we went for dinner before my prom. I got so sick from the movement that I couldn’t even eat.’
R: ‘Did Daddy eat?’
Me: ‘No, I didn’t know Daddy then. I was with another date.’
R: ‘You mean you danced with someone besides Daddy? Did you take a picture? Let me see your phone.’

Enter The Generation Gap. I give up trying to explain that, yes, I dated other people before I got married and no, we didn’t have digital photos then. Nor do I carry my prom picture around with me to this day. But I did get in a sneaky little comment to my spouse about how great my corsage was. Note to self: Before my guys are old enough to date I’ve GOT to track down that guy’s mom. She had THE BEST taste in flowers. Seriously. I kept those dried up thingys for years!

My spouse has even more stories than I do about his childhood haunts – in a different part of Big D. What else do I miss? Here’s my list:

More Reasons I get homesick for Big D:

1. Braums. They don’t have these in H-Town. If you’ve never had their chocolate chip cookies or pumpkin ice cream you haven’t lived.

2. Having family close by.

3. The Fair. No fall is complete without making yourself sick from eating every kind of deep fried somethingorothers.

4. Six Flags. ‘Nuff said.

5. The DSO and musicals at Fair Park.

6. Being able to visit friends without a huge networking and extensive scheduling plan.

7. Northpark Mall.

8. Shopping at Knox/Henderson.

9. Cowboys and Rangers games. I’m one of the few non-Texan and Astros fans here and get dirty looks because of it.

10. It snows there. Really. At least once a year, and I’m talking more than the three flakes we get down here.

11. Looking at Christmas lights in Highland Park. Nothing like a GNO or driving around with your honey, in the cold, when it’s snowing. Can’t beat it.

12. Del Taco. 7-11. Give me grease and a Slurpee any day. With a Big Gulp.

That’s my list so far, and I’m sticking to it. What makes you long for your hometown? What do you miss?

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Filed under Childhood, Dallas, Dallas Symphony, Hometown, Northpark, Nostalgia