Monthly Archives: December 2014

A slice of Roses

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for information and links to more Slicing!

It’s winter cold season around here. My son came home on Friday with a low fever and has been coughing ever since. I started getting the cold on Sunday night, my daughter started getting a sore throat Monday morning, and my youngest started the sniffles last night. I’m a baby about being sick. So, last night I went to bed early, woke up an hour later, tried to steam away my cold in a bath… which ended when my 8 year old woke up coughing. I spent the whole night taking small naps in between waking up to him coughing, giving him water, cough drops, etc. This caused me to stay in bed too long this morning, leave my house at the last possible second, and arrive in my classroom just a step ahead of students.

As I unpacked my laptop, and organized my morning things, students were crowding around me, sitting next to me, talking about how tired they were, how they didn’t feel good, how they had been wishing for a 2-hour delay… (Me too, guys. Me too.) The general feeling of blah was all around the room.

I wished for just a moment that I had some nice (quiet) independent work they could do. A word search! A journal entry! Read to self! But, I knew we needed to gather in our morning circle, so gather we did.

“Wow,” I said. “It seems like maybe I’m not the only one feeling discombobulated this morning… Other people are telling me they are tired and sick, and wishing they were back in bed…”

Students nodded and agreed. So we did our “rose and thorn” activity. Going around the circle, students shared a thing they were not happy about today (thorn) and something they were happy about (rose). As we went around the circle, it became clear that I was right: everyone was tired, or had colds. As one student remarked, “Everyone’s sick! This December sickness is killing us!”

But, listening to the roses was just what I needed. Basketball games, grandparent’s visiting, holidays coming, and my favorite, “But my rose is, I’m alive!”

We ended our circle with a 1-2-3 “clap,” and we were off to math. Some days are better than others, and I can’t wait until all the sniffles and coughs are gone. . . but I plan to try to keep remembering the roses.

A Slice of Perceptions

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for information and links to more Slicing!

I notice the drama first, since I am facing the Wegman’s cafe entrance. We are close enough to hear the whole thing, and E and I are unable to pull our attention away.

The man isn’t able to get through the automatic door. He walks with a cane, slowly and with an unsteady gait. He complains, sounding mildly annoyed but not distressed. “The door won’t let me walk through. It keeps closing on me.” I watch as the cafe worker notices him and listens to him. She smiles, as you do when a stranger starts talking to you and you are trying to make heads or tails of what they are saying.

The door is closing on him, again and again. I have a fleeting thought that I should maybe run up and hold it open for him. I am worried though, that it would be almost insulting to jump to the conclusion that he needs my help. I know I have been known to complain out loud in a grocery store. I’ll laugh and say, “I can’t control my cart, or “Wow, I’m in everyone’s way in this aisle today!” I say these things with a smile, hoping to smooth over any annoyance of my fellow shoppers.

Suddenly the man is yelling. “Open the door for me, sir! You idiot!” He directs his anger to the female cafe worker,  who is just starting to figure out that maybe this man does need help. She startles, and jumps over to help him, muttering a sincere “I’m sorry.” He yells again, “Don’t be sorry, idiot! Jesus Christ! What’s your problem?”

She helps him get through the door, with her head hung and her eyes embarrassed. He walks away, still muttering, and she cleans the nearby counter. I watch her out of the corner of my eyes, as my 4 year old asks me why the man was so mean.

“He was having trouble getting through the door.” I explain. “How else could he have asked for help?” I ask my son.

“He could have asked nicely… He could have said please.” E answers.

“He must have been having a bad day, or been embarrassed that he couldn’t get through that door. But I wish he hadn’t treated that lady so sharply.” I say, trying to make his unkindness into a teachable moment.

I watch as the worker picks up some trays and heads to the back of the cafe. She still has that shamed face of someone who just got yelled at. I notice her name tag as I try to catch her attention. “I’m sorry that happened to you.” I say. I’m not sure if she hears me. I’m not sure if her day is ruined, or if she will be able to shake it off. I know it was painful to watch the opposite of pay it forward play out in front of us.

As E and I leave the cafe to start our grocery shopping, we pass the man, and I cross my fingers that my son won’t blurt out anything remotely close to “There’s that mean man!” I feel sympathy for this man too. How hard to have the door close on you while you are trying to keep your head held high and walk into the grocery store. I hope he finds some peace in his day without yelling at anyone else.