This weekend I went to a Gateway Writing Project retreat. Gateway is part of the National Writing Project. If you're a teacher---whether it is PE or Science or Social Studies, and no matter what level---you should check out the closest National Writing Project site. (They're all over the country.) It is all about teachers teaching teachers, as they work to help their students develop into better thinkers.
I was feeling overwhelmed. Rushing out of work on Friday afternoon (just dumping piles of papers into a huge tub---my Tub O' Fun, I fondly call it---so I could grade them later in the weekend so I could prepare mid-quarter progress reports at an even later hour), my friend and I drove to the retreat. My friend needed coffee. I needed chocolate. We both needed sleep.
Not wanting to whine (there was no cheese and crackers to go along with it), I would reply, "They're going," when colleagues asked, "How are things going?" However, I soon realized how fortunate I am, at least in a small way.
One of the teachers read a hilarious piece (funny in a black, bleak way). She was miffed because one of her dry erase markers had been stolen. Not a big deal, she could just request another one to replace it. Except that she had just gotten the marker from the school's office manager, who said there were only 4 more left, and they had to last the rest of the school year. Were all the teachers in the school---20 or 30 or 40 or whatever---going to knife each other to get one of those markers?
This same teacher, when she needs staples, does not get a whole box of staples. Instead, she gets a "sleeve" of staples. Packaged up nice and neat in an envelope (probably so her colleagues do not see what she's holding as she walks down the hall--if they saw she had some staples, she might get mugged!)
|photo by grace_tee|
When you see a Brinks truck barreling down the street, don't assume it's carrying money. It might be loaded up with dry erase markers and staples...