Next weekend is West Side Montessori's annual Open House. As I've been an extra-curricular yoga instructor for -- oh, my gosh -- fifteen years, I was asked to create a tri-board with pictures and information about the Yoga for Kids program.
"No problem," I told the Admissions Director. "I'll have it ready ASAP."
After gathering the board and some colorful paper at the Dollar Store, I drove to Meijer to have some pictures printed. Then, realizing I had given away my tracing letters in my exodus from public education in 1999, I called a friend who still teaches for Toledo Public. They arrived yesterday morning, and by nightfall, I had cleared off the dining room table and got down to business.
The moment I picked up a pencil and started to trace one of the letters, memories came flooding back. The smell of Elmer's paste and Magic Markers. The sound of chairs scraping against a tile floor and pencil cans being accidentally knocked off of a desk. The sight of child's face when he/she realizes that learning can be a lot of fun.
I spent eleven years with Washington Local Schools and experienced firsthand the technological shift from typewriters to computers. From mimeograph machines to copiers. From writing notes home to parents to sending a quick email at the end of the day. For the most part, I embraced these changes as they gave me more time to prepare the classroom and work with my kids.
As I spent most of my career as a first grade teacher, I wanted the room to be bright and inviting. Colorful and eye-catching. Educational and inspirational. So to that end, I traced and cut colorful letters until blisters formed on my thumb. I drew pictures from my favorite picture books and featured one a month on our "Awesome Authors" board. And each week a child was highlighted as the "Special Kid" with a poster board story I created with photographs and a short biography.
And even though it took hours and hours, I did most everything by hand.
So last night, I laughed as I flipped the letter over so the tracing marks wouldn't show on the final project. Old teaching habits die hard....particularly for this Virgo girl. I used fancy scissors to trim the photographs, then embellished them with little cut-out clouds. It was delightful to watch the project come to life...and even more exciting to know I hadn't lost my teacher's touch.
I was old school back then...and truth be told I still am. I love taking my time while knitting a sweater or a sock. The days and weeks and months tending the ever-growing flowers and herbs in my garden. The slow and steady pace of writing a manuscript. What takes time asks more of my attention. More of my talent which can improve as I practice. And for me, in taking the time to let the creative process ripen, I find even more inspiration.
One of my friends recently wrote me a sweet note commenting on the blog, "For what it's worth." Sue said that her sister, a master quilter and knitter, "measures time in projects, not days or years." I love that idea...that time is not linear, but exists in each sweater or blanket or poster board or lovely flower bed.
So I'm off to knit a little, write a little, and practice a little on my yoga mat.
It will be time well spent, I'm sure.
|Miss Ingersoll's Class -- First Grade Thanksgiving Feast, 1996|