Saturday, September 14, 2013

Remembering the Beginning

For Aunt J
May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand

Recently, I was standing in the copy room at school making my copies for the next week.  I tend to do my copying and prep after school so it was probably about 5 o'clock.  I copied, folded, assembled and stapled my booklets.  

We have a new Kindergarten teacher who teaches at a different school in the morning and our school in the afternoon.  She's a first year "newbie" teacher.  Miss Kindergarten walked into the copy room with some papers and started inserting them into the laminator next to the copiers.  

I smiled at her and asked how things were going with her. We chatted for a while and she told me she was hanging in there.  I told her I remembered my first year of teaching and how exhausting it was.  I told her to just keep on going, to take it a day at a time, to keep good files on what she found to be successful and that next year would be SO much better!  

She looked at me for a long time and then finally said, "Thank you.  Thank you for remembering what it was like when you first started teaching.  I wish other people were like that and could remember when they were a first year teacher."  

I thought she was going to cry for a minute.  But then she got a big smile on her face and thanked me again.  

You know, we all need to remember what it was like when we're first starting something new.  We need to take the time to reach out and encourage someone who's new.  When I first started teaching thirty years ago (yes, I am a veteran teacher), my Aunt "J" was ready to retire from elementary teaching. 

I visited her at her farm and she said to me, "Come on.  I have something for you."  

She went into a room at the front of her house where she stored things and came out with a large box.  She handed it to me and said, "Here. I know you're starting out and I think this will help." 

I opened the box and found lots of bulletin board items and seasonal decorations.  Many of the bulletin board items were hand drawn and colored!  (I was quite amazed at my aunt's artistic talents!)  I remember a very cool Tony the Tiger, a funny Christmas Elf, a big lion head, a jack-in-the-box and several others.

I was able to use many of them for a number of years before they finally wore out.  And...every time I used one of them, I thought again of the kindness of my aunt in sharing her teaching supplies with me.

So, today I challenge you to find someone new and take some time to go and talk with them.  Encourage them and show a little kindness.   

It's worth it.       

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