Some days…are filled with bright rays of sunshine glimmering through the windows-floating in on the faint smells of spring…
Some days… are filled with the sweet sound of giggles- my nieces playing tickle monster rolling around on the thickly carpeted floors, students trading stories of their weekend adventures, teachers hovering around in the hallway sharing moments of complete spontaneity before rushing off to beat the first bell…
Some days…are filled with “ah- ha” moments- eyes brightening as puzzle pieces finally click into place, the final grasping of a complex problem, a personal realization…
Some days… are filled with rain storms- thick, veiled clouds hovering just above our head
Some days… are filled with frustration- students grappling to make sense of PARCC testing, a frustrated teacher at the end of their rope…struggling to reach a student who resists with every fiber of their being, confusion at a sudden lack of communication…
Some days… are filled with phone calls- home to parents to share news on their student’s day, calls to friends to catch up and share stories of the day, calls to our own moms…sometimes needing a reminder that everything will be okay…
Some days…are filled with friends- to laugh with, to smile with, to borrow a shoulder when eyes can no longer hold back their tears…
Some days… are light and fluffy- filled with bright colors and happy memories that clutter our walls…
Some days… are dense and sticky- filled with muted colors and complicated memories that clutter our minds…
I am from books,
from Harry Potter and Little Women
I am from the smells of Sunday brunch
pervading the house each Sunday morning.
I am from the pear tree and towering evergreens in the backyard
(sweet scents of decaying fruit and sap covered pine cones littering the ground).
I’m from Christmas cookies and braces,
From Wanda and Scott.
I’m from the knowledge seekers and chatty Cathys,
the clean your room and I love you’s.
I’m from Saturday CCD and church mass on the holidays.
I’m from Janet and Walter’s branch,
kielbasa and pierogis.
From the decision my grandparents made to leave Poland for America,
The dedication and hard work of my mother to provide.
In the basement was my grandpa’s chest of drawers,
old pictures, treasures, memories to revisit when hearts healed,
and moments begin to fade away.
I am from these moments-
rich in love and hope,
family and friends,
snippets of the beginning of my family tree.
Some days I wish I had a crystal ball…just a glimpse into what my future holds…
Some insight into which path my life will travel down…
Some days I feel that I am right where I am supposed to be… a junior high teacher (a job I love), great friends who support me (and are not afraid to tell me exactly what they think), family that I can depend on…
Other days, I feel behind…not quite where I expected I would be at this point in my life…I’ve explored so little of the world, unmarried, no family of my own…
I’ve reverted into a rut of routine…same thing-day after day after day…or so it seems.
Nothing new or surprising…little adventure…no risks…few rewards…
Some days I wish I had a crystal ball…
“Geijerisms” or “Pulling a Geijer” are phrases often heard around my classroom. Affectionately coined by my 8th grade students (who are currently helping write this piece), they often refer to moments that may lack common sense.
Initially, these phrases were developed as a result of what I like to call, “blonde moments.” For instance, the time I lost my car…with a co-worker…in a parking garage downtown. Or the time I received not one, but two tickets from the local police department…I wasn’t even in the car…and my students were able to watch the WHOLE thing go down courtesy of our classroom windows facing the parking lot . Or the time I tripped and injured myself at my part-time job. Of course I had to share what happened with my students, after all, I WAS slightly injured. And there was that one time, when I hurt my back and neck…getting out of bed…and was forced to take a few days off of work to get readjusted at the chiropractor…
I should clarify…I am an intelligent individual who may have had a few embarrassing moments along the way…Hey…I can’t help it if I have poor balance, or am easily excited about attending teaching conventions that I “forget” to pay attention to where I parked. In all fairness, my co-worker “forgot” where we were parked, too!
Now, I find myself hearing my lovely 8th grade students referring to other people’s less than perfect moments as “pulling a Geijer…” I’m not sure whether to feel insulted, or flattered, that my name is being used to describe such moments throughout the day.
I choose to believe the latter….
This past January, I was fortunate to attend the Illinois Reading Recovery Conference in Chicago over two days…learning from educators that have spent years mastering their fields, delving further into reading conferences, and writing using mentor texts.
One particular session, hosted by Mr. Ralph Fletcher, focused on alternative ways to use mentor texts in the classroom. One particular example was a poem he had written years prior titled, “The Good Old Days.” Ralph challenged us participating teachers to follow his format and try one on our own. The result: teachers huddled around notebooks flashing back to their childhoods, sniffles echoed loudly throughout the room, tissues being handed out to wipe away tears that eventually slid down red cheeks.
The Good Old Days
-Sometimes I remember
the good old days,
-Going camping on the weekends
with my parents and sisters
-Riding our bikes
down the rocky, gravel road
– Crunching over the crisp fall leaves
that have fallen to the ground
-My parents laughing and smiling,
talking quietly, calm and peaceful…the calm before the storm
-I still can’t imagine
anything better than that
I am so blessed to be the Auntie of my two beautiful, sweet nieces Emersyn and Eisley.
Nothing warms my heart more than when I walk through the door of my sister’s house and am bombarded by the sounds of tiny, padded feet running across the slick hardwood floors giggling excitedly. “Auntie Sammy here…” Emersyn squeals jumping up and down as I take my shoes off and walk in the door.
Their little arms find their way around my legs, giants smiles light up their faces, as they yell, “Come pay (play) wit us!” They drag me into the living room, stumbling over Lego blocks, baby dolls, and plastic food that litters the carpet. We spend our time cooking pretend food, making baby doll’s talk, singing along to Elsa, tickle fights, and whipping tears away as toys are ripped from little hands yelling, “No, Eisley, that’s MY toy!”
I love spending each and every minute with these two little nuggets…but my favorite part, is when I get to tuck them into bed at night. Snuggled into their pajamas, we climb into Emersyn’s big girl bed, surrounded by piles of books (they take after their Auntie that way…) and cuddle together- reading, teaching Eisley to turn the pages, giggling at the silly characters, and sharing “I love you’s…”
Tiny arms wrapping themselves around my neck as we finish our books and snuggle into bed- making sure that our covers are tucked in just right and all of our night time friends (and binkies for Eisley) are within reach- melt my heart.
There is nothing better than Auntie time with these two little girls…
I knew it was coming…
I have been hearing about it for weeks…multiple emails popping up among the clutter of everyday business, random visitors popping into the classroom to confirm, a Wednesday morning breakfast to kick things off…
And here I sit, just now realizing the date, and that it is time to slice again!
This is my third year…returning with the hopes of being successful! I have started off so strong each time- thinking back to my childhood, slicing about the goings on of my day, words of wisdom from my students- only to quickly become distracted by life and fail to slice each day.
But I’m here again… refocused and recommitted to slicing each and everyday.
So here we go again…round three…