Thursday, July 31, 2014

Right Now (A reminder for those of us going back into the classroom)

An end-of-the-year note from a student.
This is a hard time of year for teachers. Transitioning back into a new school year and a new routine can be so very difficult. I've shared my burden on being on being a teacher mama before. But now, for a moment, I'd like for all of us teachers to think about our new students out there.

Our students are just names and roster identification numbers to us at the moment.  But each student we teach this upcoming school year will become a little part of hearts and our teaching experience. 

Let's think for a minute about the myriad of students coming to our schools.

Right now there's a student out there who will simply make your day better.  He/she will clean your room, run your errands, and do whatever you ask...just because this student likes you wants you to like him/her in return.

Right now there's a student out there who is excited about coming back to school, because coming back to school means a full belly.  

Right now there's a student sitting at home -wanting to stay lazy and apathetic.  Your inspiration can stir him/her out of apathy.

Right now, there's a student out there who will come into your classroom dirty.  This child may not fit in.   Show love.

Right now there's a student out there who cannot read.  You have the power to give this child an extraordinary gift.

Right now there's a student (or two...or three) who will be the proverbial thorn in your side.  While we cannot control what our students do, we can control how we respond.  Shock this student with your patience and kindness.

Right now there's a student out there who will lose a loved one this year. Be a shoulder this child can cry on - a person they can seek in distress.

Right now there's a student out there who - for some reason - will not get it.  This student will be easy to brush to the side.  Never, ever give up.

Right now there's a student out there who hates your subject with a passion.  By the end of the year, his/her whole perspective will change because of you.  Open eyes.

Right now there's a student with a "helicopter parent" who will drive you up the wall.  Choose to accommodate, and choose to remember that customer service is a part of your job.  You will find yourself appreciated.

Right now there's a student who is in the middle of life change.  Divorce, a new parent, a new brother or sister  - so many changes happen in the lives of students.  Be a constant in the chaos.

Right now there are students out there who dread school because school means mental or physical torture from bullies.  Seek these students out.  Be their advocate.

Right now there's a student whose only daily peace comes from a one-hour bus ride.   Be a light in a dark life.

Right now there is a student out there who wants to be a teacher because you will be his or her teacher. 

So, in the right now - before everything starts up - before the summertime blues hit - think about our students, our kids.  The children who are on their way into our classrooms.

Right now, think about how your compassion can pour life change into empty vessels.

We are purveyors of knowledge, sure - but we are also entrusted to take care of someone else's child for a short season.  Let us not squander this opportunity.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm (most decidedly) NOT lovin' it.

I'm sure you remember Princess Peach in all of her decapitated glory.

Amelia still loves Mario Kart - and loves to "play race cars" with her Daddy. 

As it turns out, McDonalds has Mario Kart Happy Meal toys.  Featuring Princess Peach.  And this Princess Peach looks much more sturdy than her weak-necked counterpart that we purchased haphazardly at a Barnes and Noble.  (Say what you want, I have a whole old toy box of McDonald's toys that my mom gave to me, and they're still in great condition.)

Cheap McDonald's Mario Kart Princess?  Sounds good, right?

Oh, heavens.

I found out about these toys one day after eating a Thai lunch, when I stopped to pick up lunch for Jeremy. 

"Do you have the Princess Mario Kart toy?" I asked the lady taking my order.

"Yes, we do," she replied.


I ordered my Happy Meal and was excited about a new princess for Amelia.  When I got the little red box of happiness, I quickly opened it to make sure I had the right toy.  I spilled all seven fries in the fry box beside the seat of my Honda Accord (which I'm sure made it sigh and think, "not again, lady").  I pulled out the toy - Luigi on a race car.

Luigi?  Yeah, he's not the princess.

"Can I get a Princess toy, please?"  I asked.

Apparently, I didn't realize the ambiguity surrounding my question.  The lady smiled, nodded, and went to the little box of toys.  She came back  - with a Beanie Baby.

A Beanie Baby?  Yeah, not the princess.

At this point, I just decided to pull on through and park.  Unfortunately, I angered an elderly gentlemen trying to leave, because apparently the drive-through parking spots at this particular McDonalds BLOCK PEOPLE TRYING TO LEAVE.  I moved my car to a more cooperative spot and gave the man my apologies.

I went into the store and cursed myself for being this involved in the whereabouts of a Happy Meal toy.  I found a manager and politely asked him to exchange my Beanie Baby elephant for a Princess Mario Kart toy.

"Oh, I'm sorry - we don't have the Princess," he replied.

You can imagine my anger at this point. 

Despite this, it wasn't the manager's fault.  I smiled, said thank you, and walked out before I opened my mouth again.

Today, when one of my friends mentioned that she was at McDonald's, I asked her if they had the Princess Mario Kart toy.  She sent her son to ask - and lo and behold, they did.

I called my Mom.  Since she was getting off work and this McDonald's was on her way home, I asked her to swing by and get the Princess (and maybe a sweet tea).

After assuring me that this princess would be her gift to Amelia and not mine, she headed to McDonalds.

I got a call back about ten minutes later.

"Oh my gosh, I'm so mad."  Mom said.

"What happened?" I asked.

(And I paraphrase --)

"Well, I went to the drive-through window, and I said, before I said anything else, 'Do you have the Princess Mario Kart Happy Meal toy?' and they told me 'yes.'  I bet I asked them three times to make sure.  I get to the window, and I have a Beanie Baby!  I told them, 'I don't want this Beanie Baby - I want the Princess Mario Kart toy!'  So then, they said, 'We don't have it.'"

"They did the same thing to me!" I said.

Mom, however, is a little more feisty than I am.

"I told them, 'You SAID you had it.  I asked the person who took my order and they said that they had the princess.  I PAID for this meal I'm not going to eat!'  So then, the guy brings me the bag of Mario Kart toys - and it's some dumb monkey and a dragon, so I got the dragon."

"Oh, the dragon - that's Yoshi.  Amelia likes him, too."

"Yeah, isn't the princess.  Why do you tell people you have something when you don't have it?  And I paid for that thing!"

And there, folks, lies the whole crux of this rambling, pregnancy-hormone-induced blog entry.

Why tell someone you have a product when you clearly don't have it?

This ranks among one of my worst McDonald's experiences (number one being the time the girl lost her hoop earring in the vat of ketchup packets and spent five minutes searching for her earring before she took my order --- but I digress).  Being lied to is not a favorite past time of mine.  Plus, I still don't have a princess.  This isn't Elsa, for Pete's sake.

Just help me out a little, Golden Arches.  A little customer service truly goes a long way. 

Oh, and by the way?  Yoshi's cute.  But he's NOT the princess.