When you begin the teaching credential program, no one warns you about the ache of knowing you won’t be there the next time a child loses a tooth or when yet another child learns to tie her shoes. Yet next, new mouths and feet arrive.
I was flattered and my eyes a bit misty when the kindergartners asked if we could do the acorn dance one more time. We curled up in a ball on the floor, then moved through the oak tree life cycle, gently swaying in the autumn wind before growing spring flowers. I hummed Johann Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz.”
My wise and kind mentor teacher and indispensable room helper asked the children make me a going-away book titled “Why You Must Hire Miss Hacking.” In the children’s pictures, my smile was wide and my arms outstretched, somewhat like an oak tree. “She taught us,” to do math, spell and “how to be a superstar,” were among the parting words. Another boy wrote “You must hire Miss Hacking because she loves me.”
I’m so glad he learned that.
The document may end up being used as one of my letters of recommendations.
After nine months as a student-teacher, 2 ½ years of attending classes and nearly a year without a real paycheck, the idea of become a teacher is becoming very real. A few weeks ago, I received the news that I passed the most recent make-or-break, high-stakes, super-stressful hurdle — a passing grade on a 61-page teaching plan and written reflection.
I celebrated the victory for approximately one minute, then started stressing about the next super-stressful, high-stakes part of the process — the job interview.
I have a new circle of future-teacher friends and frequently we ate burritos before class. Recently we talked wistfully of a time when we could sleep in late, stop worrying about test scores and begin making crafty displays for classroom learning tools.
“It must be so hard on your own kids when their mom has been so busy with school,” I said to my friends who are moms.
“I have a cactus that blooms at night and only for one day,” I said as we ate quickly to make it on time to class. “I was so busy this week I realized the cactus had bloomed and I had completely missed it.”
My cactus is certainly less important than soccer games and reading bedtime stories to your own children, but we all agreed we looked forward to the end of the college semester.
Over the past year and a half I have joked darkly that if the Handsome Woodsman had not died, I surely would have neglected him over the past few years. Right now, I really wish he was here to help celebrate.
After the conversations with my teacher chums, I received a bright reminder of how many joys remain ahead. My cactus — the one that blooms for only one day — decided to bloom again. This time, I remembered to rush out at night and gaze at it under the glow of the solar lights.
Thank you to the readers who sent a quick note about the lingering drought habits. Chris has a bucket in his shower that he uses to flush his toilet, every so often. Others shared news about similar routines.
During dry times, Chris and his family installed low-flow sprinklers, and use them about once a week.
“I think I’m still using water conservation as an excuse to avoid washing my car,” he wrote.
Maurice said his family took out their lawn. They worried what the dog might think, but their fur-covered family member adjusted just fine. The hard part about the continued conservation effort, Maurice said, is to not get upset about others who have jumped back to watering all the time, even when it is raining.
Don’t worry Maurice. Another drought will come along, and you’ll be ahead of the game without your lawn.