My Little Picasso's

My Little Picasso's

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

for the daddy's

When I was growing up, I always needed help with my math homework.  I always did better in math than anything else, until I got to high school.  Then it got really hard.  It surely helped to have a man in the house with a degree in mathematics.  That would be my dad.  He was an engineer by trade, but truly it's all math isn't it?  My dad could solve anything with the quadratic equation.  Anything.  I would tell him that we didn't learn what I was doing that way, but he did solve anything with the quadratic equation.

Last week these memories came rushing back to me.  When I needed math help, I always stood or sat on the floor next to my dad as he sat in his armchair doing his own work.  Even though my dad worked very long hours and traveled to all 6 "livable" continents, he always had work to do at home.  He would stop no matter what he was doing to help my sister or I with our math homework.  I can tell you I needed help much more often than my sister.  As my dad helped me with my work, he would often be watching old movies.  (So, maybe they weren't so old, but old to me.)  One of those favorites was "The Sting."  Always had a crush on Robert Redford after seeing it for the first time.  The other night I       re-watched "The Sting" as I stayed up late writing lesson plans, grading homework assignments, making PowerPoint presentations, etc.

I have some very fond memories with my dad.  I can remember him mowing the grass as I grew up and he would ask me to run to the fridge to get him a beer.  I often took a sip without him knowing!  There is a photo that sticks out in my mind; he is riding behind me on the Carousel at Disneyland when I was likely only 4 years old.  Saturday mornings we would go to Hechinger's together to get supplies for his DIY projects.  My dad to this day does amazing woodwork.  I would tell him my throat hurt and I needed a hot chocolate or ice cream sundae from the McDonald's.  He saw me be a silly teenage girl and put up with my long late phone calls and crushes on the New Kids on the Block.  When he won his Saturday golf match, my sister and I got part of the cut.  He won often!  My dad was often a man of few words, but he would do anything for me.

I know Michael followed his dad around like a puppy as he grew up.  He was his dad's shadow.  That's why he had his father as his best man in our wedding.  Because my father-in-law is my husband's best friend.  John Walizer taught my husband how to golf, how to hold the door for a woman, how to be grateful.  Michael would tell me that he and his brother's would work outside with their dad as the radio played.  John would ask what a song was called or who sang it and it was a contest of who could get it first.  John taught his boys to work hard.  He taught them to manage their money.  He raised them on Penn State Football and summer golf leagues.

Now I am beginning to see these same relationships build between Michael and Max and Charlie.  When Michael is home on a weekend day, Max is his shadow.  They cut the grass, wash the cars, do projects, watch football, everything together.  It is an inseparable moment.  You can often hear Max telling Michael, "You're my best friend."  It's heart melting.

I am not quite sure where this very "Father's Day"entry is coming from?  It might simply be that I now work with older students who are already Daddy's themselves.  I have a health class in my room each morning where they are learning about being parents.  The scary part is that some of them will be parents before they ever imagined or planned.  I hope they have as memorable or as impressionable relationships as fathers that I had with mine, that my husband had with his, that my children have with their's.

September 17th, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Let's call this one "A Teachable Moment"

School began again this past week.  I only have 21 more first days of school until I can retire.  Actually I can retire whenever I want, yet after this past week and the occurrence of a specific event, I do not see myself retiring for quite some time.

It was hectic.  I did not have near as much coffee as I needed.  Students showed up.  Students skipped class.  Students spoke when I spoke.  They didn't raise their hands.  I got frustrated.  I missed my children.  My alarm clock still works.  Girls wore their shirts too low.  Boys wore their pants too low.  I handed out textbooks.  I reviewed French numbers.  I had my first taste of a week at high school ... as a teacher.  All in a day's work.  Nothing new.

However something new did happen this week that I am not used to at all.  I heard a "thank you."  A true honest heart felt thank you, from a parent.

As I pulled into a gas station after school, I noticed a previous student in a car with a parent.  I drove in, not really noticing much else.  Before I knew it, as I pumped gas, this parent had turned round, pulled back into the gas station, got out of his car, came over to me, and introduced himself as a student's parent.  This student, we'll call him T, I have known since he was in 6th grade.  Supposedly, T talked about me all the time last year and now that I got moved to the high school with all the freshmen, the talk continues.  T's father stood there, telling me this, and I just wanted to cry.  This was one of the moments I had heard of before.  The moment when you hear that what you did on a daily basis mattered to someone.  T listened to me and still listens to me.  He valued me.  He valued what I was trying to do for these kids, for him and all his friends.

T has three older siblings.  Unfortunately they have all taken Spanish instead of French, but I still know them all.  This family of brothers and sisters are a few of the best I have had.  They are some of the most polite, dedicated, respectful, and just nice kids I have known in my 9 years of teaching at Susquehanna Township School District.  I can truly say I love them all dearly.  As I said to T's father, I hope my boys end up like his boys, and I truly mean that.

This very short few minutes of conversation I had with T's father, with his sister there, made my year.  I felt so appreciated.  I felt so loved.  I felt so accepted.  T's father thanked me for what I did.  He said I must be doing something right.  I had made an impression.

I was the student that moment.  I listened and I learned that I was doing something right.

September 1, 2013