Tuesday, July 9, 2013


7:30 this morning.
I walk into the school to teach a class and
 I am immediately hit with a huge wave of nostalgia.
I helped open this school in summer, 2000.
My first administrative job.

And I remember.
Taking turns sitting on the folding chair in the office.
The only chair in the office actually.
With the gigantic district supply catalogue.
Just order whatever you think we will need.
Whatever we will need?
Yeah, you know, just basic stuff- paper, office supplies, classroom supplies, rolls of paper.
Imagine setting up a new apartment or a house.
Then multiply that by a million.

And I remember how much I loved working with Deb.
Just do what you think is best, Carol. I trust you to make good decisions. 
The almost daily late, late, (think six o'clock) afternoon conferences.  

The job fair in a hot, dirty school the day after school got out,
when she was on crutches with a bum knee and I had laryngitis.
And we hired The Boy Reader and several other terrific young teachers.
The year that I dealt with a thrower upper on one side of the graduation stage
and she did a passer outer on the other end (or maybe it was the other way around). 
And later, when I was about to take the boys, the bags of socks and underwear
 (you mean they won't come with this stuff? They really won't come with anything?)
And how she got her son to take my boys for their first haircut
without making me feel badly that I hadn't noticed that they needed a haircut.
The way she cuddled my boys in her lap when they were naughty.

I stand there in that front hallway and remember.
Miss Jodi, world's best secretary, who made me laugh a hundred times a day.
Claudia and Eileen, our brilliant first grade team,
who were passionate about producing perfection for kids every single day.
I think of all of the young teachers we grew- Kathy, Stefani, Laura, Sharyn, Maria, Lauren-
the coaching, the cajoling, the comforting. 
How I could always count on Kyle to stop by every morning to share books or kid stories.
I remember Pat and Brian, the PE teachers.
The crazy jokes that Pat and Brian would play on each other.
(I swear, Carol, I don't know how Brian's gloves ended up in the center of the showcase in the fifth grade hall. I didn't have anything to do with it). 
I think about Britt and her magical music programs.
Every kid at GVE loved to sing.
And how hard I cried when we had to let her go
because she wasn't "highly qualified" (whatever that means).

I stand in the front hall and remember
the very best years of my teaching life.


Linda B said...

I don't know if you noticed, but when I first posted about All-Write, I shared this Dr. Seuss quote with the link: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Your poem, to me, is like a big smile, Carol. I'm not sure many have such great memories from their work. I enjoyed every part, and see that it must have been a very good year! Thanks!

Rebecca Gomez said...

This is wonderful. I love that you have such good memories there and were willing to share them.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I think that when your teaching life becomes this intertwined with memories, milestones, achievements, and even the fondly remembered passing out and throwing up moments when least expected of students, you know that you have invested yourself, the best part of yourself, in a worthwhile endeavour. Mary Oliver has these wonderful lines:
"When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."

It is an amazing feeling, to be in a place as you are, and to be able to feel this sense of connectedness and purpose. It's a gift, really, not to be a visitor in this world.

Karen said...

Carol, you tell a story in such a unique way; you have such great voice. What wonderful memories!! No wonder you were hit with such a wave of nostalgia when entering the building. And I think there is something extra-special about being at a building from its inception.
I love Linda's comment about your post being a "big smile" - totally agree!!

Kyle said...

I remember having the most magical mentor teach me how to teach kids to read. Carol without you I would not be the teacher I am today. Thank you for including me in your slice of the day.

Carol said...

Thanks so much for your very important reminders, Linda, Rebecca and Tara. I felt sad yesterday and you helped me put a new spin on this. And Kyle, thanks so much for your very kind words. You made me cry!

Nanc said...

All those people, will never forget the memories that you forged together. I have had so many dreams that I am back at my first school that I taught at. This summer, i was going to a graduation, drove by this neighborhood school and actually started crying. Great post and wonderful memories. Thanks Carol, for writing! xo