There certainly were some pretty sights walking to school this morning.
The ice on the ground turned to lava. The buildings were on fire. It was gorgeous.
Last night I finished a huge freaking project. It's for the Next Steps program, which I participate in this semester. (Next semester will be higher steps!) What it is: I'm assigned a student in an elementary school somewhere around here, and I go tutor them. My student is an ELL (English Language Learner). He's wonderful and sweet and tries so hard to impress me.
My goal is to teach him how to read. Or to try to.
It involves a lot of flash cards. A lot. I spent hours cutting them out. There's 1000 of them, and each page had 15. So yeah. That's a lot of flash cards.
And my hands are slowly forgiving me for using kiddy scissors as long as I did.
So there is my kit. 1000 cards. Rather than laminated, they're on cardstock. The dividers are just printer paper. The box is a shoe box. And I looked at my kit and realized something.
Teachers are SO CUTESY. My kit cost me around $100 to do. Everyone else in class has a nice wooden or plastic box, brightly colored laminated dividers. Flowers are probably drawn on everything, and every card has a smiley face sticker. But they spent towards $300.
And yeah, there's mine. I realized something.
Teachers are SO CUTESY. I go to school with my notes saved in an email on my iPod. Everyone else has hand written notes with a different color for every word, and somehow, they're writing in different fonts. I don't know how. But they are.
If it's not Comic Sans, it's not anything.
So yeah. Obviously I'm not as cutesy. I think a child would love to walk into a class and see rainbows and kittens on every wall. My classroom probably won't be like that. It'll be clean. But so help me, I'm not putting kittens all over the walls.
I just worry that the quality of teaching is put at risk so that it can look good. But the point isn't to be fancy and cute and pretty quaint. It's to be a good teacher.
I don't know what the point of this is. Probably to defend my ghetto flash card box.
And maybe I'm a ghetto teacher. But I'm ok with that. Because I love teaching. It is my calling in life. Even now, at the Early Childhood Education Center. I don't work at a day care, I don't baby sit or nanny all day, I'm a teacher, thank you very much! I care for the children and I love them and make them know how valuable they are, but I teach them as well. I plan lessons. I teach math and science and discovery and music. I teach them manners and letters and social skills, and I teach them about the importance of laughter. I may not have the ABCs painted on every single fingernail, and I don't stay up all night baking cupcakes and frosting them with the faces of the kids. I spend my time becoming a good teacher. I don't need to be cute to be respected.
P.S. I think it's pretty cute and awesome when I dig up a bunch of old marching band hats and equip the children with them, as well as symbols and triangles and set them free. Maybe I wasn't the one who did the cuteness, but the kids did it on their own.