Posts Tagged ‘success’

Hiatus + Announcements

I know that few people read this blog (and all who do are adequately informed about my personal life), but I haven’t been updating as much. Hopefully the following story illustrates my preoccupation in recent months…

I love teaching for many reasons. Today just happens to eloquently illustrate why I choose to teach eight-year-olds. They humble you & elevate you, all within the space of minutes. Not only was today my birthday, but I also announced my pregnancy to my class.

During morning announcements, our mischievous office manager wished me a “Happy 40th birthday!” (I just turned 32.) Not being age-conscious (or so I thought), I just laughed it off. One of my students, in an effort to make sure my feelings weren’t hurt, earnestly consoled me by saying, “Don’t worry, Mrs. Burchett. You don’t look a day over 35.”

I had thought of a clever way to announce my pregnancy to my students. At the end of the day, I gave them each a Dixie cup full of “baby-sized items” (baby Tootsie Roll, mini M&Ms, miniature marshmallows & a baby candy bar). I said that it was my birthday, but that I had a special message hidden in the candy for them & they’d have to use the comparing skills we’d worked on to figure out what all the items have in common to guess my secret message.

“They’re all candy.”

“They all have sugar in them.”

“You could put them in cookies to make the cookies even better.”

“They’re all foods you can’t eat until after you clear your plate.”

“They’re things you only get to eat when it’s Halloween time.”

“Every one of them is an ‘ask your mom first’ food.”

They continued on in that vein for several minutes. As it was getting close to the end of the day, I had to explain that they were all good answers, but I was looking for similarities specifically in size. We narrowed down that they were all small candies & I asked why I would have given them small, or indeed baby-sized candy.

“That’s all that would fit in the Dixie cup.”

“We’re small kids, so we should only get small candies.”

“You couldn’t afford the bigger candy bars.”

Finally, I stopped them & said, “Not only are these candies baby-sized, but something else is as well.” I pointed to my belly & looked out at the class. 5 seconds… 10… 15… At last, a girl in the back of the classroom stood up, fully outstretched her arm & pointing at me, declared (in her loudest voice), “Well, YOU. ARE. PREGNANT!” Relieved (there were, at this point, only about 30 seconds left in the school day), I smiled & admitted that yes, I was.

Now, I’ve announced my pregnancy to friends, family & colleagues, and with one notable exception, I got the best reaction from the kids. In unison, their faces filled with awe, they all started clapping & cheering – like I had just done the best magic trick & they were so proud & impressed by me.

I highly recommend making announcements like this to eight-year-olds. I do not recommend trying to be cute / subtle & asking them to infer your meaning.

The Sweetest Taste

Although I was fully prepared to pony up the $15 for Amuse Brunch tickets, my slow computer at school took forever reloading when they went up for sale & they were sold out in literally less than five minutes. Disappointed, I figured I’d try again next time. Then, Susan from Wild Yeast (the person / blog that linked to the San Francisco Food Wars website & the way I found out about it) had a giveaway of two tickets… and I won!

Now, delicious cooks making & serving gourmet bites of brunch to me is fabulous enough, but going for free? FANTASTIC. Sunday cannot come soon enough!

How Did I Miss This? It’s AWESOME!

Somehow I missed this awesome website until today, when his book is coming out & three sites I follow mentioned it. Not only is the concept fantastic (1,000 ordinary things that are awesome), but there is a little something for everyone – the girl who teaches next door to you, your best friend of many years, your husband who always quotes that TV show to you, your friends in Canadaeven you. Okay, maybe those are specifically for me, but I guarantee that you’ll find something there to make you smile, and I can’t give it any higher praise than that.

Love Where You Are

Spend some time just enjoying where you are. There’s something wonderful about your location. Enjoy it.

In my neck of the woods, it’s daffodils, a concert, an old friend (hopefully) coming to visit, our favorite Greek restaurant, the bead store I’ve visited for the last 15 years, a free art gallery, time snuggling on the couch & a walk in the sunshine.

Have a great time loving your life & city.

I love Christmas!

I love seeing everyone & the excuse to bake cookies & the ebullient holiday spirits, but mostly I love gifts.

Before you condemn me for being materialistic, let me rephrase. I love giving gifts. I absolutely LOVE picking out the perfect present for someone & watching their face as they open it up, surprised, pleased & excited. I love knowing that I found something they want / need, especially if it’s something they didn’t know existed.

I love the fact that my best friend (who is several states away from me) will open an unabashedly sentimental gift & I know she’ll cry. Moreover, I know she’ll love that I sent her a gift that will make her cry. I love the fact that I figured out what to get my mother (notoriously difficult to shop for) & am absolutely sure that she’ll use each one of the “little indulgences” that I picked out for her. I know that my little sister will laugh at her present & my older sister will smile with anticipation & my nephews will gasp with excitement.

I just love that.

I’m terrible about present-giving in general. Sometimes I’ll give lavish presents for no reason. Sometimes I won’t be able to think of something for your birthday. However, I’m pretty spot-on with Christmas, and I absolutely cannot wait to see how the presents go over!

Merry Christmas to all!

Times When It’s Worth It, Pt. 3

I got an email from a former student today. She’ll be entering seventh grade next year, which means it’s been three years since she exited my door. Here is an excerpt:

I love you, and i miss you. We have to hang out! You still hold the title of best teacher in the world!

I had an exiting fifth grade student (was in my class two years ago) walk up to me today & hug me & tell me that her memories from my class were still the brightest in her heart.

I ran into a parent whose son I had in my first year of teaching (now in high school, amazingly!). She quoted from something I had written in one of his books & told me they still looked at them, especially his memory book, when he was getting ready for a new year of school (to remind him of how fresh & excited he was about education when he was eight).

I’ve gotten very little sleep recently & still have a ton of stuff more to do. I’ve broken my back & wallet & am at my wit’s end & full of useless sayings, but when I get kids who are two, three, six years out of my class coming back & telling me that what I do makes a difference to them & that the memories I help create are the ones that they treasure the most, well. Yeah, I’m going in early to work on stuff tomorrow. It’s worth it.

Times When It’s Worth It, Pt. 2

Highlights from Thursday night:

  • hearing a kid say, “God, I’m handsome!” when seeing his through-the-year-book with his photos in it
  • being sincerely complimented a bajillion times
  • having a child tell me, “I’ll NEVER forget this!”
  • knowing that every student in my class came to Open House & brought 87 family members with them
  • seeing the pride on their faces as they showed their families their amazing work

Sometimes it all comes together correctly. I love that.