Friday, June 15, 2012

A Short Story Once there was a little girl named Jan. She had a tiny bedroom filled with stuffed animals and a few dolls. Most days after real school, Jan opened her own school. Jan’s School took place wherever Jan was – in the bedroom, in the kitchen, in her friends’ basement, even while bicycling through the neighborhood. Finally, Jan grew up and stopped teaching her stuffed animals, but she still loved to teach so she went to Teacher’s College at Columbia and got the degree and certification she needed to do it for real. Teaching was a dream come true for Jan. It turned out that real students were even better than imaginary ones and Jan was sure that she would follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and teach until she was too old to walk down the steps anymore.

Real life turned out to have more twists and turns and great jobs to do than Jan’s dream of teaching in one school for her whole life. In between teaching in preschools, high schools and elementary schools, Jan found she loved helping build houses, working in restaurant kitchens and making chocolate candy and ice cream. After teaching at a school in Manhattan for three years, Jan decided to move upstate. She came to her current school to teach first and second grades with a smart, creative and always patient man named Steve Currie. She started a family and decided to spend time at home with them for a few years. It was hard to say good-bye to the school, but there were so many adventures ahead. She started a new chocolate business and raised two amazing girls.

Many years later, when her oldest daughter was ready to choose a high school, Jan visited her old school again. It felt so great to be back among loving friends and excited students that Jan decided to find someone else to work long hours at the chocolate store. It was time to return to teaching.

The best luck in the world gave Jan a chance to spend five years teaching in the 3-4 and then the 4-5, working with the best teachers and students and getting to know and love them very well. Jan hoped this could go on and on. She taught and learned about the Maya, the ancient Greeks, West Africa, Japan, electricity, the phases of the moon, multiplication, division, selling pizza, and so many wonderful books and stories, some of which still make Jan cry even after reading them so many times. She noticed that teaching and learning happened hand in hand and loved seeing her students teaching each other in so many ways. It was a dream come true.

There came a day when it was time for Jan to move on to other opportunities. She had to tell her students and their families good-bye, as well as all her grownup teacher friends, but every time she even imagined saying it, she just cried and cried. She really hated saying goodbye. It was one thing to cry in front of everyone while reading a sad book or watching a sad movie. It was another thing not to be able to speak to tell everyone how much she loves them and will miss them. Maybe they’ll understand it if she writes it down.

Looking ahead, Jan is ready for her next adventures. Armed with a garden trowel, some dog leashes, a sewing needle, a computer filled with writing projects, shelves overflowing with books, a piano and a guitar and the most loving family anyone could have, not to mention Bananagrams, Sudoku, crossword puzzles and plenty of playing cards, life will never be boring. She knows that she looks forward to seeing all of her former students and teacher friends in the future! She also plans to help the host families and the new students from China! She’ll be at school sometimes and is excited to see colleagues and students whenever she can!

The end.

NO! To be continued! And, please keep in touch!

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