Sometimes when I’m generating small moment story ideas with my students, we use the strategy: People, Places, Stories. We think of places and people and then list the stories we have with them. Walking back through the door of Benchmark this week, I was flooded with memories; I could sketch out the grounds of this place and provide story after story, from year after year of my life.
I remember the joy I found in the art room with Carol, she would set me loose with clay or markers and let me create to my hearts content, in the little smelly room at the end of the hall.
I remember the mezzanine, up the scary stairs, and the yellow plastic chair that I sat on when they did summer school testing for me. I was certain I had read every one of the words right on the list, and I do remember them being quite proud of me (looking at my leveled color in the library today, I’m fearful I may not have been as accurate as I thought).
I remember the weeks before school started, having the whole playground to myself and how I could sing really really loud on the swings without anyone (see older brother) teasing me.
I remember the lunchroom, where I dreamed and dreamed that Dr.M might cast me to be in, “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.”
I remember Mr.Reichart letting me keep score for the kids in gym class, and I remember always messing up the score. And how I thought I would never make it to the top when I climbed the rock wall, and I almost started to cry at the bottom, but my brother was there telling me I could.
This week, I’ve been watching Megan Wonderland’s amazing daughter, Kayla, run in and out from camp with her perfectly sweet smile. I keep thinking of the adventures she’ll have in this place— I keep thinking of what it was like for me to grow up with a teacher as mom.
And I want to whisper to Kayla, “Isn’t it perfect, this place? How many books, and supplies, and places to hide, and isn’t it perfect how the middle schoolers love you the best because they know your mom?”
Sometimes it’s hard to grow up as a kid when your mom’s a teacher— they grade papers, plan lessons, and read books— all the time. Sometimes you have to share your mom’s heart with other kids, because they need extra love and it’s your mom’s job to do it. And there are times in the year when she’ll be so exhausted from kids or parents that she’ll come home and not really want to play with you, or she’ll use the scary teacher voice on you.
But when your mom’s a teacher, all your storybooks come alive cause her voices can’t be beat. And when your mom’s a teacher you can curl up in her lap longer cause she has to stay still to grade those papers. When your mom’s a teacher she knows how to play and be silly better than boring grown-up moms. Mostly, it’s perfect when your mom’s a teacher, because you learn that even though school might be hard for you—you get to run through the halls of this school barefoot and nobody cares.
If your mom’s not a teacher, you probably missed out. If you’re a teacher and raising kids, I’m impressed, but I also want to tell you, as the kid of a teacher, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.