Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The geraniums on the windowsill just died, but teacher you went right on.....

Do you remember the exact time, place and location of where you bought a treasured book? Follow me as I reflect and rediscover one of those out of print long lost treasures that are pathways to the soul.....

The leaves were changing and falling from the branches. A few days previous a soft blanket of snow covered the hills of New England and the winter weather sweaters had been unpacked from their plastic shells. I was a few short months away from the end of my last internship and two away from matriculating with a degree in elementary education. At one of our evening seminars in late October, my professor and mentor at the time read aloud from this book and I knew I had to own it. After numerous phone calls around the area, I finally tracked it down at a store located on the cobbled main street of a northern town some 40 miles away. It was 1983 and sadly, the themes resonating from the pages still hold true twenty-five years later.

So when I re-discovered this "pathway to the soul" at the bottom of a rectangled box located on the top shelf of a rarely used closet; some 929 miles from where it was first discovered twenty-five years earlier, I knew that in some way it needed to be shared.

The opportunity arrived just yesterday when I spent the afternoon with a group of twenty academic coaches and read aloud The Geraniums on the Windowsill Just Died, But Teacher, You Went Right On by Albert Cullum. Through the lens of childhood, we discover all over again the way we felt; the way we were; and how, sometimes, we lost our way miles from the heart of the matter. Though I can't re-print the pages, these few need to be shared:

"Teacher, let me swim in a puddle, let me race a cloud in the sky, let me build a house without walls. But most of all, let me laugh at nothing things. " -page 16

"On the mornings you tell us about the night before, you're like one of us. The dress you bought, or a movie you saw, or a strange sound you heard. You're a good storyteller, teacher, honest! And that's when I never have to be excused." -page 20

"I have a messy desk, I have milk money that rolls, I have a lazy pencil, a book that won't open, a mouth that whispers. I have a zipper that doesn't want to, homework that won't work, and a hand that throws crayons. I have a shirt that's out, shoelaces that won't tie. And sometimes I wet my pants---but never on purpose." page 22

However, sprinkled within are those teachers who are our raindrops of hope. Those individuals who continue the work that they do and truly listen to the voices of children; who allow the children to lead the way; and side by side, splash through the puddles amidst this ever-changing landscape.

And finally, in the words of Albert Cullum who said it so eloquently those many years ago.....

"Teacher, come on outside! I'll race you to the seesaw! No, you won't fall off! I'll show you how! Don't be afraid, teacher. Grab my hand and follow me. You can learn all over again....."-page 62 ...until next time-Teach


Karen Travels said...

I needed this today, when my kids are driving me most nuts. I will finish out the day with more patience! Or try to anyway.

Thank you for putting words to picture - if it is okay I want to print them out. I have that picture enlarged and framed (probably back in storage in Charlotte) but when I get back the words will fit right under the frame.

Angela and Devin said...

number 1. i was born in 1983.

number 2. i want this book.