Monthly Archives: April 2016

A Slice of Shoes

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers.


Suddenly we realized that everyone has needed new sneakers for awhile. I’ll accept my parent of the year award now.

L’s are too small. She started complaining 2 weeks ago, now that I think about it.

H has been wearing his non-sneaker shoes for months. But when he couldn’t find them on Friday, he squeezed into his sneakers. “These will be better for soccer anyway” he told me. Oh, yes. Soccer. It’s just the after school club, but maybe sneakers would be a good idea.

E’s toes are almost sticking out from dragging his feet when he rides his plasma car. I promise I tell him not to do that. Hey! At least I make him wear shoes.

So Sunday we went shoe shopping. The kids were mildly scattered, bringing shoes to the bench, trying them on, and I had a quick flashback to shoe shopping with my mom when I was a kid. I don’t know where we went, but I remember the shoe salesperson going to the back room to get my size, hopefully in the color I wanted.  My mom sat with me,  helping me lace the shoes, feeling for my toe when the shoes were on. Shoes we weren’t buying went neatly back into the boxes after my mom re-stuffed them with the paper.

So, I tried to feel for toes, and help the kids put the shoes back neatly. But somehow it just wasn’t the same.

L quickly found a few pairs to choose from, and then her boredom set in.

H was so excited to have sneakers again, “Look mom! I can run so much faster in these! I think they’ll be better for soccer.”

E found Star Wars sneakers, but he wasn’t sure of them at first. New shoes always feel different, tight. But, when he realized they not only lit up, but made R2D2 sounds too, he was sold.

H wanted to change into his new sneakers right away. E was a bit worried about the muddy park we were going to, so he stayed in his old shoes.

The next morning, getting ready for school, E asks me if it’s going to be a muddy day. “Is it going to rain, Mama?”

I say no, that it should be fine and he grins. He runs over to his new shoes, still in their box.

I want to pause that picture. That unabashed excitement for Star Wars sneakers.

It’s just too much, these little moments. Why is it so heartbreaking — the joy on my 6 year old’s face as he puts on his new shoes?

A selfish Celebration


This post is part of Ruth Ayres Celebrate Link up. Thanks, Ruth for this great opportunity to celebrate.


A selfish celebration. 

It’s April
and I’m not getting ready to proctor
state testing

I’m not
covering bulletin boards
reminding students that
testing days are different than normal day
and I won’t be able to help them
there will be no collaboration
no choice. 

I’m not whispering to kids that 
on testing days
I will seem mean, strict, stressed
but I will still love them. 

I don’t have a class. 
I’m not giving any speeches that
“This test 
doesn’t measure
your worth.”

I’m not reminding any 12-year-olds of all the work they’ve done
of how proud I am
of their 

I’m not in charge of any students
I won’t be pacing my classroom
sending a not-so-subtle message: 
“I used to trust you, but today I’m not allowed to.” 

I haven’t had to roll my closed eyes
or take calming breaths
while listening to reminders to
cover posters
collect scrap paper
never open your computer
put up privacy screens
and a “testing in progress” sign.

I have this testing season “off.” 
No proctoring for me. 
That doesn’t mean I can 
be quiet.

To the teachers in the trenches:
It will be okay.
You have done so much.
Thank you. 

To the students:
It will be okay. 
You have learned so much.
I’m sorry the state is wasting your time.

To the state 
It. Is. Not. Okay.
Please spend your
on something else 
Here are some ideas: 
more teachers
healthy food, clothing, shelter for those in need
art supplies, instruments, 
fill in the blank
Did I mention books?

Next year, I’ll be back in the classroom. 
I’ll follow the rules.
I always do. 
I’ll keep speaking out.
I always will.