I always started my day at Orchard Elementary checking my mailbox in the school office for any memos, flyers, notes, you-name-it. I ended my day the same way.
Looking back now, I remember that Margaret, our school secretary, was already at her desk greeting students, parents and us by the time I got there. I remember, now that I think of it, that Margaret was still there when I passed by my mailbox on my way out the door. And I prided myself that I got to school pretty early and usually left hours after the kids went home. But Margaret did, too.
One morning, I saw flowers on her desk. A large bouquet with a card still attached. I smiled. “Is it your birthday, Margaret?” I asked.
She smiled back, looking a little embarrassed. “Well, no,” she said. “It’s the strangest thing. I was heading home yesterday, and when I got to the parking lot, I noticed one of our kindergarteners standing on the sidewalk. Well, you know it gets dark so early now, and I wondered why she was standing there all alone.” (more…)
I have been busy. I like writing this blog, but when I get busy with meetings and reports and such, I put off writing. Today I have been busy not watching the news. I have been very busy finding anything, any little thing to keep me too busy to watch the news coming out of Newtown, Connecticut and hearing the voices of screaming parents and frightened little ones. I am so busy not wanting to think, that I will not put off writing what I do not want to write.
First, let me just say, that I’m not advocating lying to children. I’m not proposing that moms and dads make up silly lies and tell tall tales just to get kids to eat healthier. I am absolutely not saying that. Lying to your children is wrong. And you get caught.
Because my (then) four year old, Jeremy, had a sweet tooth, and I got tired of fighting with him about why it just wasn’t good for him to be eating so much sugar and that diabetes runs in my family, and his teeth would rot but, I mean, I was worried about his health, and what else was I supposed to do? So.
I told him it was against the law for kids to buy a cereal with a cartoon on the box unless it was their birthday.
There are two stories to tell in Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania. One is a heroic story worthy of a book or movie deal. There are plenty of movies about the lone teacher crusader who against all odds and against the establishment brings students out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of the power of their own futures.
I’m a sucker for those movies. But I have a love-hate relationship with them because inevitably, in order to lionize the hero, they have to make all the other teachers in the school less than heroes. They have to make the principal a bully. Movies need a good guy to cheer for and bad guys to boo over. Así es la vida. That’s the way it goes.
Chester Upland, a poor and predominantly minority district, is a long way from Hollywood, but it does have a star in Sara Ferguson.