Where has the time gone – Listen to this while you read.
I’m a little addicted to books. In the way that some people drink whiskey everyday or other women buy shoes.
My coworkers and friends think I’m crazy because every “holiday season” I buy specific book for every single kid in my room. I could easily get something from the dollar store or oriental trading, but i want these gifts to be important. The most significant gift i every received as a kid was a book from my kindergarten teacher when I was 5 years old. It was called Kitty’s New Doll and I could still retell and draw for you the entire picture book.
Growing up in a big family, being the youngest with a large age gap to the eldest, there just wasn’t books at my level around the house. I was always gazing at my dad’s encyclopedias from the 60’s or my sister’s pharmacological organic chemistry books. To have a book that someone thoughtfully picked out, that was on my level and explained why they thought I would like it, meant the world to me.
That incredible thoughtful teacher was Mrs. Murnane. When I was in kindergarten she seemed like a giant, but the nicest most sweet giant you would ever meet. I can remember every single detail of the year I spent with her. I can remember the color of the birthday cake I colored in the packet she gave us when i was learning to memorize my birthday and phone number. I remember exactly how to make the frosting Christmas tree out of an icecream cone, frosting, and jawbreakers.
When i think about my students and the person I want to be, I think about teachers like her. These saintlike insanely thoughtful people who were more concerned with the student and how they learned rather than the busy pressure of teaching. When my grandmother died this august, the one I’m named after, Mrs. Murnane came to her wake and funeral. It had been over 20 years, but she still remembered me and described the yellow floral smock dress I always wore. When My school had it’s 70th anniversary this year, she came. We hugged and reminisced with the same stories we tell every time we see each other. I was able to introduce my students to her and they were so awed that I now teach them 3rd grade next the room she taught me kindergarten.
I am so proud to carry on her tradition of getting to know my students and finding books that will hopefully, inspire them to enjoy reading as much as I do. When I think about it now, what mattered most about that gift was she took the time to pick a book out and tell me why she wanted me to have it. Although, I’m pretty sure she could have given me a blank sheet of paper and i would have kept it forever.