A Thankful List, From a Lady and a Huntsman

 Family and friends top the list, per usual. But here’s the
rest of my “thankful” list:
DEVOLSON IS OVER!!! Fill the goblets! Bring out the pheasant! Strike the lyre and play a merry tune
on the lute! The Dark, Evil Vortex of Late September, October and November is
but a dark and distant memory! (Can you tell I miss Game of Thrones?)
My student teacher.
I can’t talk about her too long or I’ll start crying. But she’s an angel. Here
is what 90% of our conversations look like:
Me: I’m a
terrible human. I’m a mess. I’M THE WORST!
Her: No you’re
not! Here, do you want a cookie?
Me: Yes. (with crumbs flying out of my mouth) Do you
know where I put the vocab quizzes?
Her: Oh, I graded
them and recorded the grades in your binder for you when you weren’t looking.
And then I filed them in their student folders.
Me: Are you sure
you want to marry your fiancé and not me?
Her: Yes.
She’ll come around one day.
Carbs. Have you
made it to my Pinterest board for DEVOLSON food? I think I’m going to rename it
“Highway to Diabetes,” or maybe “Elastic Pants Are My Soul Mate, #blessed.” I
made these ham and cheese sliders for our faculty Thanksgiving potluck and my
principal loved it so much he started crying, right there in the teacher’s
lounge in front of everyone.
Just kidding. But everyone loved them..
Speaking of carbs, a few years ago I started making leftover
Thanksgiving grilled cheese sandwiches that I would highly recommend. Layer one
piece of buttered sourdough bread (or something sturdy), Havarti cheese, leftover turkey, another piece of cheese, stuffing (spread thin-like), cranberry sauce, your other piece of bread. Grill on low so the
cheese has plenty of time to melt and your butter crisps up like it was born to
do. It’ll change you.
Moving up with last year’s students. My students came to me last year fresh out of 6th
grade, super behind where they needed to be, and definitely unfamiliar with working hard. Yesterday
as I was grading their analysis essays on Anne Frank, I realized how far they have come. I found
myself writing things like, “Wow—great point. I never thought of it that way,”
and “Nice justification here” and “Holy cow! This is college-level thinking!”
Ramon, one of my nuggets whose very first essay for me in 7th grade
probably contained a total of four correctly-spelled words, turned in an essay that probably contained a total of four misspelled
words. I know sharing this probably sounds conceited and/or braggy, but I don’t
really care, because they’ve worked really, really hard, and I’ve worked
really, really hard, and in teaching, especially at a Title I school, you just
really have to savor and remember moments like I had yesterday during grading.
-Frozen meals. Between
this year’s DEVOLSON and being in grad school full time, it’s a wonder I’ve
even remembered to eat things. Frozen meals have been a total lifesaver this
semester. My favorites: anything Amy’s brand, the meatloaf and mashed potato
Lean Cuisines, and, if you’re feeling particularly naughty, Beecher’s in
Seattle makes this frozen macaroni and cheese that may just make your face fall
off from dairy splendor.
This pencil
sharpener.
Some of you held my hand this summer as I made the important
decision on which pencil sharpener to get (thank you), and I don’t regret this
one at all. Christopher, also known as X-Acto Teacher Pro, is a fine gentleman
and we love him very much.
Workshop teaching
method.
Oh, man. This has changed my life. It requires very careful and
specific procedures being in place, but is so totally worth it. “Here are your
assignments for the next three days. Work at your own pace. I’ll be checking in
on you.” It’s. The. Best.
-Dogs. I want to
adopt an adult dog over Christmas break and name him/her after a character from literature. What do you think? (Note: this is
actually a cry for help. I need a reasonable, logical person to talk me out of
it and tell me they are expensive and I don’t have enough time for one.)
This poem. The
past few months have been pretty brutal for me, not as a teacher, but as a lady
and a human*. I came across this poem in my reading for grad school, and I think it has
saved my life in a small but important way. If you’ve found yourself in a rut,
or a valley, or a pit full of snakes, or whatever you want to call it, or even if things are great and beautiful and perfect for
you (yay!), I hope this poem is something for you to hold onto.
(Something onto which you may hold? Grammar is so stupid sometimes.)
-You turkeys. I
love hearing from you—your crazy stories, your notes of encouragement and
solidarity, your reassurance that I’m not as much of a freak as I think (and
occasionally the one person who’s like, “Whoah, you are a freak,”
and I’m thankful for you, too, because you make me laugh out loud). This year in particularly I’m just very thankful to know you
and feel heard. So thank you, and go buy yourself a milkshake for being so
awesome.
An overflowing cornucopia of love,
Teach
Besides family and
friends, what are you thankful for?
Tell me right now. Pretty please. Also share your recipes with me.
*later I reread this phrase and thought I’d said that I was a lady and a hunstman and it made me cackle.