Friday, July 19, 2013

Widgets

Feeling Nostalgic


Hello friends!  I am visiting my parents in Ohio.  It's a bittersweet visit as I am helping them pack and move out of my childhood home.  It's a stage in my life that I've been dreading. 

When I got there, my mom had everything that belonged to me in the corner of the basement.  My first job was to go through it all to see what I wanted and throw away the rest.  UGH.

I'm not good at throwing things away and got anxious as I faced the task before me.  The first box I opened was my wedding gown.  Great.  Let's just go straight for the jugular.  Keep or donate?  I have two boys.  It's unlikely anyone will ever want to wear it.  But, it's beautiful and I can't imagine anyone having it but me.  I kept it. 


The next several boxes were all my college "teaching" stuff.  What a trip down memory lane that was.  Most of you whipper-snappers won't even believe me when I tell you that I found a box full of hand-made bulletin board sets.  They were works of art by my-20-something-self.  I had traced, cut out and decorated all the borders and lettering.  I hand drew all the graphics and colored them.  If they weren't so faded and crumbling, I might have used them. Now they are trash.

Back then, cross-curricular themes were all the rage. I found folders of units I had built with handwritten worksheets (with required excellent penmanship) and hand-drawn graphics on purple ditto masters (what are those?).  If you were a good typist (no personal computers existed in the early 1980's), you might be brave enough to type your ditto masters before you ran them on a, now-extinct, ditto machine (there were no copy machines, either).  When you passed out freshly run dittos, the students all smelled them because the chemical had a uniquely pleasant scent to it.  I wonder how many brain cells were fried by ditto chemicals?

One thing I did love about my college prep program is how much time we spent in the classrooms of Columbus, Ohio, practicing what we were learning.  I visited every type of school, every grade level, every socio-economic area, public and private.  As I read all my observations and documentations, the memories came flooding back.  I could feel the excitement I once experienced and remember the anxiety I felt, wondering if I would be worthy of the profession I loved.  

It's funny, for as much as things changes, some things stay the same.  All the things I documented in my observations and journals are situations I still continue to encounter year after year. 

On the other hand, I miss how wonderfully pure teaching was.  Teachers were more keenly aware of developmental theories, which played a bigger part in our lesson planning.  I miss how there was room in the curriculum to explore and extend based upon a class's interests.  It created such excitement and engagement in the classroom.  There was more time for children to be creative in the classroom.  Now, I always feel like I am rushing.     It is so sad that there is no time to do these things in our current environment. The art of supporting a child developmentally is gone. Curriculums are jam-packed with expectations to master its standards because, come h*ll or high water, the test is coming.

I'm a sentimental soul. By the time I finished going through my pile, I was emotionally exhausted.  I never thought I would be one of those people who would refer to the "old days".  Education seems to swing on a pendulum.  Maybe we'll swing back to a little "old ways" someday 




17 comments:

  1. OK, this is BeAuTiFuL; thanks for the walk down memory lane. My brother still lives in the family homestead so I haven't had to do this, but I can totally feel the bittersweet. Prayers for peace as you help transition your parents into their next chapter.

    Barbara

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Barbara! And thanks for stopping by!

      Diane

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  2. So sweet. I've been there. It makes for a tough day. Thinking of you and your family.
    ~Brandee
    Creating Lifelong Learners
    Follow me on Bloglovin'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brandee! I appreciate you stopping by!

      Diane

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  3. {HUGS!} I know that must be difficult.

    Hopefully, the pendulum starts swinging soon, or we will be retired before it gets all the way back. Fingers crossed, but not holding my breath.

    Enjoy the time with your family!
    Kristin

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    Replies
    1. It's very strange. My parents are handling it much better than I am!

      Diane

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  4. I loved reading this post. I love that even through all of the change, you still teach. One of the many reasons why I love reading what you have to say!

    Kelly

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    Replies
    1. There's ups and downs in any profession. But when I close my classroom door and enter my domain......there's nothing better in the whole world! Thanks so much!

      Diane

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  5. Diane,
    This was the first thing I read this morning as I sat down to have my coffee. Oh the memories your post has given rise to as I sit here! I know too well how hard it is to bid your childhood home goodbye. I did that some years back. Your thoughts on the 'old days' of teaching touched me just as much. My daughter is starting her first year in her own classroom next month. Yesterday we talked about her first few days/weeks of school and what will fill them: routines, procedures, getting to know you activities, and building a community of learners. In a few short weeks, she'll be attending the new teacher training for our district. The focus there will be less on those amazing little learners who are about to walk through her classroom door and more on the 'importance' of keeping up with the district pacing guide. She will hear about common core, benchmark tests, and fidelity to the curriculum. And when she calls me after her training, I'll remind her that her responsibility as a teacher is NOT to generate good test scores, but to create an environment that encourages her students to become eager, life-long learners.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I can almost smell the ditto fluid!

    Lori
    Life in Room 24

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    Replies
    1. Thank for writing, Lori! I wonder what your daughter's career will be like. You must be beaming with pride that she wanted to follow in your footsteps. She is blessed to have you as a mentor. My mom was an elementary school secretary and my dad was on the Board of Ed. Their insight has been invaluable to me over the years. I'm glad to hear you liked my walk down memory lane. I should have taken pictures of the stuff, but we were on a mission to get it done. It's better that they exist only in my memories now.

      Diane

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  6. How sweet...I have been there, too. It is emotional and so surprising how trinkets or words on a page can take you back in a heartbeat. Thanks for sharing...

    Lisa

    Fluent in Fourth

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words!

      Diane

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  7. Diane-what a wonderful post. I hope the rest of the packing went smoothly. It's amazing to think about how much teaching has changed, and all the more impressive that you're here, still engaged in it all, and blogging about it (take that, ditto machine!).

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    Replies
    1. Thank you soooo much! We are almost done. I am SO ready for this to be done. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

      Diane

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