Saturday, March 7, 2015


I'm participating in the Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers this month. 
I'm on a borrowed PC computer while my Apple is in the shop. 
I can't figure out how to download the SLICE graphic on this computer.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am not big on celebrating, and yesterday was a pretty low-key, normal  Friday- up early to respond to ELA papers (I teach for our English Language Acquisition department as my second job), 11 hours at work, a glass of wine with a colleague, a long walk with the dog, slicing, and then crashing on the couch, just like every other Friday night.

Except, for some reason, the secretary decided she should announce my birthday over the PA first thing in the morning. Which she never does for other teachers or staff members. Which led to discussions about my age. Which is old. All. Day. Long.

In Kindergarten, where they are currently working on place value:
O: How old are you Dr. Carol?
Me: 148
O gleefully throws her hands up in the air. "Oh Dr. Carol, that means we get to use the flat!" (The hundreds block, for those who aren't primary grade teachers, is a square block, called a flat. The kindergartners usually don't get beyond the tens blocks, which we call sticks).

First grade:
S: How old are you, Dr. Carol?
Me: 118
Most of the first graders oooh and aah.
S, however, is not so sure. "If you were that old, Dr. Carol,  you wouldn't be here. You'd be dead."

During lunch, the seventh graders query me.
"How old are you, Dr. Wilcox?"
I respond, again with a random number. "117."
W, "Really? That's cool."
His friend B, sitting across the table. "Think about it dude. She's not that old! That's like, that's really old. She's probably about 28."
J, who just enrolled at our school a couple of weeks ago, "That's not enough. She's not 28. Look at her hair. She's probably about 94."
Note to self: Discuss number sense with the seventh grade math teacher on Monday.

Right after lunch duty, the principal pages me on the walkie talkie. "Carol, they need you in sixth grade right away. There was another problem in the lunch room. Inwardly, I groan. The sixth graders are my responsibility at lunch time. They are good, good, kids and I totally enjoy them, but this has been a hard week. They have been inside most of the week. They are frisky. There have been lots of issues and hurt feelings. Almost every day after lunch, I have spent 20 or thirty minutes trying to help kids work through problems. Now what? I run up stairs from the basement. The sixth grade teacher is waiting at the door. "Carol, I'm sorry to bother you, but there was another problem in the lunchroom." I take a step in the door, and the  room explodes. Another birthday surprise.

At 3:00, I get paged to the office. A student needs to talk to me. It is Abby, a fifth grader. My birthday twin. "We had cupcakes in my class. I saved this one for you." She gives me a hug. "I hope you have a great birthday." Her sweet smile almost brings me to tears.

Yep, yesterday was my birthday. And I don't really like birthdays, but this one was full of surprises- a fourth grade serenade, in Spanish, gift cards to Starbucks and bookstores and dinner, and hugs, and kind words, and laughter.

A pretty special day after all.


make.share.give said...

So glad you enjoyed your special day. When asked how old I was this year, a student answered, "Forty-six, but it's just 4 tens and 6 ones." Yea, number sense!

writekimwrite said...

Happy Birthday, Carol! All of those special celebrations show what a positive impact you have on those whose lives you touch! You matter. Plus it is pretty funny what kids have to say about how old we are. I often think and pray for you and your family. Blessings!

Holly Mueller said...

Aw, I love this post!! How loved you must be! I laughed aloud at the age conversations. ;-) It reminds me of a story my mom loved to tell when she was a teacher. One of her 3rd graders asked how old she was, and in jest, she said, "94," expecting protestations. Instead, the student responded, "Well, you look it." Ha!

arjeha said...

Glad you had an enjoyable day. Students really have no number sense. My sixth grade students were always guessing my age. I would tell them they were off by at least 100 years. This made them laugh then we could get back the the plans for the day.

Linda B said...

I'll go see your new post, but found this one. You deserve every bit of the celebration, and laughter is the best medicine, right? Love this: "Note to self: Discuss number sense with the seventh grade math teacher on Monday." Always a teacher, right? Happy Belated Birthday, Carol!

Linda B said...

Sorry, didn't read the 'real' date, thought this post was earlier in the week!

Nanc said...

I am so happy that they celebrated you ...your wonderful life and person. The 'how old are you conversations' really cracked me up. And you are so honest! The best part for me, was your sweet birthday twin...xo nanc PS I know you have a wonderful year coming, Carol...God Bless.

Michelle said...

Happy birthday Carol! Loved the conversations all day long. There is reason everyone wanted to celebrate you! I hope you do something for you today!

Loralee said...

So glad it was a special day!
Loved the comment about number sense chat! ;0)

elsie said...

Another birthday greeting from me, Happy happy day! What a treat to be treated with such kindness and joy on your day. You matter to everyone around you.

Chris said...

Happy birthday, Carol! :) HOORAY for using the FLATS! (We love them in first grade). You are such a good sport and I wish you a wonderful year!

Ramona said...

Such a fun day for you. I love the way the birthday surprises kept coming. I bet you're still basking in the glow of all the birthday love today. Happy belated birthday, Carol!

aileenhower said...

It sounds like, for whatever reason, a lot of people went above and beyond to make your day very memorable. How sweet. Happy birthday. Thank you for sharing.

Tara said...

Thank goodness for children, for whom 28 is ancient. Happy Birthday, my friend - I hope you have some plans to celebrate the gift you are.

shaggerspicchu said...

That sounds like a great day. Isn't it nice when other people think you are worth celebrating!

robin said...

Happy Belated Birthday! It sounds like your day was delightful. I so enjoyed reading about student responses and loved your sense of humor, too!

Tabatha said...

We share a birthday! That's neat. :-) Glad you had a great one!