Saturday, March 10, 2012

And I Mean It, Stanley

I've mentioned in earlier posts that I have been spending a lot of time in local schools to meet the requirements for my degree. Illinois standards require teaching majors to spend a certain number of hours observing students and teachers in a classroom setting for every hour of college instruction. Since I am getting my degree in secondary education, I am assigned to junior and senior high schools for my observation credits.

However, I spend even more time in the schools as a substitute teacher. As a substitute, I have worked with all age groups. I have written about some of those experiences here. I quickly learned why I am specializing in secondary education. I really do not relate well to younger children. I have since taken my name off the list for grades kindergarten through fifth grade. I didn't have much of a choice. On one day (if school had lasted another hour), I might have been jailed for choking half a dozen second graders. It was a horrible day.

No! You can't take your pants off.
I'll stick to what I know. I work very well with junior and senior high age kids. I have even discovered that I can work with preschoolers as long as there are helpers in the classroom that know what to do. I would never attempt that age by myself. I have been bitten, stabbed with a pencil, cussed at and spat on. Without another adult in the room to keep me in check, I might act out my fantasies of chucking a 4 year old through the nearest window. They are pretty small. It wouldn't be that difficult. However, their outbursts are typically short lived and I even enjoy it for the most part. Just don't leave me alone with them.

Last month, I was cursed had the privilege of returning to the same preschool class every day for three weeks. This actually makes things much easier than going to a different class every day. I had the opportunity to learn the names and strange idiosyncrasies of each ankle-biter. It makes all the difference in the world when you get to know the kids. It is so much better.

Each day involved lots of crafts, lessons and activities, but my favorite part was the beginning and end of each day. I would start each day reading a couple of books to the kids. This helps them to calm down and gain a little focus before starting the day. We ended the day with the same activity right before their parents came to pick them up.

I enjoyed this for several reasons. One of the biggest was the fact that I got to sit during this time. Another reason was that I actually had the attention of the whole class. That rarely happened. I would do the voices of the characters and add my personal commentary to each page. It was great to hear the kids laugh and say the words with me. As much as they liked to hear the same stories again and again, I tried to introduce them to a new book each day.

I remembered reading this as a child.
I would get to the school early so I could dig through the library and find a book to read during story time. On one of those days I came across a book that I vaguely remembered from my childhood, And I Mean It, Stanley. I thumbed through it quickly to see if it was the story I remembered.

Throughout the book, the child is yelling at someone not visible in the pictures. She is building things with the junk in her back yard and yelling that Stanley better come out to play now. The whole book is rather one sided. This little girl is yelling and getting more and more irate as the book progresses.

It finally reaches the climax when . . . well, I don't want to give away the ending in case it ever gets made into a movie. I don't want to spoil the ending.

Being a book from my childhood, I was excited to share it with the children. As they started coming into the classroom and taking their spots on the rug in front of me, they started making their demands requests for the book they wanted to hear. I told them I had already selected a book for the day.

Once they all got seated and quiet, I pulled out the book. I explained that I had read this story when I was a kid. As I was showing them the book, I saw something on the cover in the top right corner I had not noticed before.

That is my brother's name!  KYLE MINOR
This is the same copy that used to be in our house.

When I said I had this book as a kid, I didn't know I had actually owned THIS specific copy. It threw me for a moment. We grew up 30 miles away from this school. It had been at least three decades since we physically had the book in our possession. Somehow it had made some travels, passed through countless owners and ended up in this school in my hands.

Once I regained composure and snapped back to the present I told the kids what I had found. They didn't seem to be nearly as impressed as I was. I read the book to them with more enthusiasm than I would have otherwise. We all celebrated when we got to the ending and began our day.

At the end of the day, they requested to read the book again and I was more than happy to oblige. Soon, the parents began to show up and one by one the kids got their hugs and left for the day. Once the room was empty, I pulled the book out to marvel at it again.

After a couple of minutes, I realized that my amazement was silly. The book was still in the same county as last time I saw it. It had probably been donated to a library by my mother or sold in a yard sale. At some point it was given to this school. It really wasn't that big of a deal. I set the book down and turned off the lights for the day.

Before I closed the classroom door, I returned to the book and quickly placed it in my coat. After all, it had my family name on it.

RELAX!!!
I brought it back the next day.


52 comments:

  1. OK that is really really cool that you found that book with your brother's name...I would have totally kept it (with permission!)

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    1. I had to at least bring it home to get a decent picture. I showed it yo my brother since it was his name on the book. He wasn't as interested as I was.

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  2. I love stories like that! My mind would have been equally blown, despite the fact that it wasn't TERRIBLY far away. Still though, what are the odds? :)

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    1. I stopped me for a moment. The kids were staring at me. Mr. Brett, READ!!

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  3. It may be the same county you grew up in but that's still a pretty amazing set of circumstances for it to end up back with you.

    If it were me, I'd have kept the book.

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    1. Someone suggested that I buy a replacement and then ask to trade. I am trying to find one.

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  4. This is a really cool story. Book nerd that I am, my heart fluttered a bit when you said that it was the very same copy that you loved as a child.

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    1. I a glad you enjoyed it. A few people I showed it to didn't understand what the big deal was.

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  5. 2 things okay 3.
    1. You sound like you are amazing with a little people.
    2. I would be excited to have you sub for my 4 year olds class
    3. As agood Mom I understand the feeling of wanting to throw them through the window

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    1. Thank you. They are still not my preferred age group, but I have learned a few things.

      And I'm glad you understand the feeling. It makes me feel less evil.

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  6. How amazing to find your old book. What are the odds?

    It sounds like you do pretty well with the wee ones. Personally, preschool/pre-k is my favorite age group. Old enough to have interesting conversations, but not totally obnoxious quite yet.

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    1. I do alright. Kids seem to like me even if I don't return it. I don't know why.

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  7. Ohmygosh. That is so awesome that it was the same copy! It may be the same county, but the chances can't be that high that you would just happen to find it again.

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    1. Yeah, I don't expect something like that to happen again.

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  8. I think that's actually pretty amazing, I'd feel the same as you. Considering the book has survived so long as well, not that I'm saying your old, just that kids books get a lot more rough treatment then adults books.

    Maybe it's a sign that you should work with kids that age all the time ?

    I know what you mean about age groups though, I worked with teenagers and if I say so myself I was great with them. Little ones ? Nah, they drive me insane.
    I have friends with young kids, and I find that my patience with them has a time limit attached to it.

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    1. I have worked with teenagers for the last twenty years. They are the group I most relate to. I can do the other ages if I have to, but I would never choose it.

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  9. That's so neat! For it to end up in the school is one thing - but it to be in your classroom and in your hands is way cool!

    I've done a little teaching and much prefer the smaller kids to the older ones. I can relate to them so much better - probably because I have the mind of a five year old myself.

    It's always lovely for me because they treat me like a friend rather than a teacher - literally. I can't count the number of times a little guy has come up to me with a "huge secret"... told me the whole thing... and then said, "But don't tell any of the teachers!"

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    1. It's almost creepy how quickly the little ones just fall in love with you and trust you. A kid I just met that day will crawl up in my lap and I think, "Didn't your parents teach you about strangers? Get off me."

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  10. This is the greatest thing I have ever read. I laughed so hard. I can't wait to go back to your link and read about your other teach experiences. Plus, I grew up in IL (Sycamore, near DeKalb) so it was awesome on a whole other level.
    Thanks, really enjoyed this. I have been sick and it really cheered me up!

    -JP
    Lettuce Be Clear

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it. I may not want to work with the smaller kids, but they give me plenty to write about.

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  11. Hope you are having a great weekend!!!

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    1. I am having a fabulous weekend. I just spent the last couple of hours with Vince Neil from Motley Crue. Had a great night.

      I hope yours is going well also.

      Delete
  12. Totally would have stolen it. Without guilt. And I'm a very guilt-prone person. If you do feel guilty, get a couple brand clearance books from Barnes & Noble. You're totally in the clear then. Love, Jesus

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    1. I am buying a new copy to trade with them. If they don't agree, then I WILL steal it.

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  13. That's a fun story! Given my travels and the fact that I never return to the same place twice - except to visit - I would Freak. Out. If I came across a book from my past.

    But really? I think you could have at least told us the ending: it's a kids book, not a murder-mystery...and now we're all wondering!

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    1. I can't give away the ending. I hate when people do that to me. I guess I could scan the pages in and let you read it, but then I would probably get sued by the publisher for piracy.

      Now I have a dilemma. What should I do?

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    2. Okay, how about you tell ME the ending in an email?

      It doesn't appear that others are clamoring for the ending, so maybe it's just me.

      :D (cheesy grin like a 4yo)

      Delete
  14. Oh, this was such a beautiful post. Yes, it was special, and you were right in taking that book. It belongs with you.

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    1. Thank you. I really enjoyed finding it.

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  15. You returned it? Seriously? I would have stole it, and then bought a new copy and given them that instead.

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    1. I found one on Amazon. I'm going to buy it and then see if they will trade.

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  16. I don't think your amazement was silly at all.

    Having worked in schools and seen the conditions that some books end up in, to find that one book, is for me, a pretty special occurrence.

    And like a few people have already stated, I have no shame in admitting that I would have taken it and then replaced it with a copy.

    Heartwarming post.

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    1. It's the bloggers that have said that. People in my real non-virtual world haven't been as impressed.

      Thank you

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  17. In my experience, that's pretty awesome. So awesome in fact that it would stand up in a court of law if you did pinch it. The Judge would throw the case out.

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    1. A friend of mine is running for State's Attorney. I wonder what I could get away with if he wins.

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  18. I have been putting off reading this and I am glad I did I cried a little... It is almost like running into a long lost friend far from home.

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    1. It really was. At first I was kind of embarrassed that it affected me so much, but I am comfortable with it now.

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  19. That's really awesome. There's a whole bunch of stuff that I have given away that I wish I could now find again.

    And it sounds like those kids are lucky to have a great teacher.

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    1. My mother still has a few things, but this was a great find.

      Thank you.

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  20. I miss some of my old books too :(

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    1. There are a few specific ones I remember that I would love to have again.

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  21. Oh I thought you were going to add "Brett Minor" to it :) You should.

    What a wonderful moment to realize how connected life is! If went back to my grade school, which unfortunately has been shut down, and found my little brother's name on something I would be enthralled. It's not the coincidence of it - it's the perspective on your life that it gives you.

    These kids have all of that ahead of them!

    Also - I can teach 4 year olds. I can teach 24 year olds. I could probably tolerate 10 year olds and 17 year olds. But under NO circumstances will I ever have anything to do with 12 year olds. Even yours truly was a bit of a shit back then. And my stepmom used to teach junior high and she came home every day in tears. I'm glad the kids have someone like you that it works for.

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    1. I totally understand. I can teach most ages (I even taught a senior citizen class for a while), but there is that 6 or 7 year gap that I want nothing to do with. I can't stand that age group. I could handle one or two, but not a whole room.

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  22. OMG That's crazy!! It must mean something....

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    1. I think it means pre-school library security sucks.

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  23. That is so crazy. Funny how things come back to us sometimes!

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  24. Hell yeah, you were taking back a family treasure. I would have done the same thing. Except....I might have taken a few more. To, you know, have some new family treasures.

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    1. They never missed it. I had it back the next day and they never knew.

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