It’s all in how you look at it.


When I was a little girl, my sister and I watched a Disney movie called “Polyanna”.  In the movie, a little girl (played by Hayley Mills, how’s that for a good memory?) comes to live with a grumpy old lady.  I don’t remember much about the story, except that there was a scene where Polyanna notices a prism hanging in the old lady’s window, and makes a big deal of the beautiful rainbow and all the colors.  The old lady notices the beauty for the first time, and the two of them take apart all of her lamps and hang prisms all around the house.

Not the most subtle of metaphors, but it stuck with me.

This morning I woke up to yet another school cancellation day. I have nothing to do, having prepared my lessons and done my corrections yesterday.  I have baked brownies, made meatballs and sauce, walked the dogs, done laundry, read a kids book for the class.  I am bored. And cold. And crabby.

I want sun!  I want warm breezes!  I want to barbecue, but the grill is buried in four feet of snow.

I look out my living room window, and see nothing but white.  I’m sick of watching snow fall; its making me dizzy.  The garden fence is almost buried.  My walk is only a foot wide, with five foot walls on either side.

The window is filled with icicles, handing down from every inch of the gutter.  Sharp, jagged, icy teeth, making me shiver just looking at them.

I decided to lie down on the sofa so I could fully indulge in my misery.  I wanted to look at the icicles, those threatening, terrifying blades clustered together, reminding me that I am falling farther and farther behind in the curriculum, and that the kids will be distracted little cyclones tomorrow.  I wanted to use the image of the ever growing ice daggers to help me enhance my total crabbiness.

But guess what? When I laid myself back on the pillow and looked out the window, I found myself looking through the beautiful fused glass wind-chime that my son and his girlfriend gave me for Christmas.  All of a sudden, the icicles were shining through the brilliant colors of the glass, and the little bit of sunlight that was leaking through made them gleam like rainbows.

My plan was thwarted; my crankiness went away.

I felt like Pollyanna!


How To Tell If You’re a Teacher

There are “teachers” and then there are TEACHERS.

I’m lucky enough to work mostly with the latter. You can tell who we are, even if you don’t know us well.  We are the ones who are up and blogging at 6AM because let’s face it, there’s no one else around to talk to and we are gulping our coffee so we can get to the 7:15 meeting.

We are the ones wearing comfortable pants because today will be one of those sitting-on-the-floor-wit- the-math-groups days and we don’t that gracefully in either a skirt or (shudder) skinny jeans.

You can tell who we are by the giant bags that we carry around, pulling our spines out of joint so we can respond to all 24 writing journals when we get home.

We have baggy eyes, and if you talk to us, you will understand why.

Sometimes we dream that we are cooking huge vats of pasta sauce and every time we turn around, another one of our students has appeared, so we just keep adding more.    Sometimes we dream that we are trying desperately to get the kids to quiet down and come with us because the room is on fire and we are the only one who sees it.

And sometimes we look all pale and puffy eyed because last night we kept dreaming of the best way to teach long division to kids who can’t recall the multiplication tables!  Over and over, dreams of singing the nines table, tapping out the eights, making posters of the sixes.  There was a grand piano in there somewhere, too, and a woman dressed in a tree costume (luckily, I don’t think it was me.)

So if you happen to see a puffy eyed, wild haired, stoop shoulder crooked old lady walking around muttering “seven times eight IS…..”, just smile at her and wish her well.

Tonight she may dream she’s fighting in the French and Indian War.