Category Archives: Uncategorized

Change is the Worst

The other day I was listening to a podcast. There I said it. I am a podcast listener. It was the latest episode of Revisionist History and they were discussing The Paradox of Theseus Ship. The gist of it is that if a ship is changed gradually over time wherein planks are replaced one by one, is it still the same ship as when it was first built?

As always, I enjoyed the episode (it’s a good podcast, and it’s hosted by a Canadian, give it a listen) and it helped pass the time as I cleaned the toilets, put clothes away and packed lunches. It made me think, but only for a few moments and then I moved on to bedtime routines and planning for the week ahead.

A day or two passed in a blur and then we had a staff meeting. As a rule, teaching is all about change. We get a new start with a new class every fall. Teaching assignments are rearranged, rooms switched, staff try new things. So I was completely prepared to receive news that some of our staff would be moving on to new schools and new roles. We had already seen some gradual changes this year which were grieved, processed, then celebrated for our friends. But this round of staffing threw me (and many fellow educators) for a loop. Our leader, who has inspired, supported, encouraged, and guided us for over four years, was the one moving. THIS IS NOT THE CHANGE I WAS PREPARED FOR.

The morning was rife with emotions of shock, sadness, joy (current staff would be taking on the leadership roles – yay!) and back to mourning. Then I decided to put all my big feelings into a box and tuck it on a shelf to be opened later when I could process it all. This spring has brought about many staffing changes and I was losing some of my best work friends, teammates, and partners (yes, Bearded Husband is moving on to an exciting new role, too).

It is hard to be the ones left, no matter how good the motivation or opportunity being embraced.

During the quiet of my drive home I heard a whisper “the ship is changing gradually, piece by piece, but it’s still the same ship.” Sorry, could you repeat that? When did I start hearing voices? And such profound ones? Epiphanies can strike anywhere, any time.

You see, when discussing Theseus’ Ship, some argue that if the planks being removed are replaced with planks of equal structure and integrity, it is the same ship. The fundamental identity of the ship remains the same. I would say the ship is better for the change because it remains strong and voyage-ready.

I mourn the gaping hole that these people leave in the wake of their job change. I cry because I will miss seeing them daily, they are my friends. But they are leaving well. They are excited, but grieving, too. They are strong and steady and valued and they are off to replace the planks of other ships.

We get to welcome and create a space for the new planks on our ship. And we will be stronger and better for it. I know this because this change isn’t new. Our ship has undergone this change multiple times. And it was scary and sad and full of tears every time. Yet here we are. Steady, strong, and valued.

It’s time to open that box and let those feelings out. It’s going to be okay.

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Me, on the last day of school

 

 


The Mysterious Case of the Stabby Hydrant and the Zombie Mouse

In case you’ve ever wondered about how I feel about mice. (spoiler: they terrify me)

Tough Bananas

Bad days. We’ve all had them. In fact, I have a had a few reaching epic proportions. There was Brown Tuesday back in 2003. And then the Perfect Storm of 2011, and then there was yesterday.

The Year of Jan is coming to an explosive conclusion. After twelve months at home full time, I’m going back to teaching in a few days. To maximize my school-prep efficiency, I went into school in the evening. I’m easily distracted so working at night is best for my time-management.

Sit back and I’ll tell you the tale.

It was a dark and stormy night. No, for real, it was. I spent an hour or two organizing my space and getting settled back in to school. There was no one else in the building, but I’ve been in after hours before and no longer jump when the lights automatically turn on. Knowing ahead…

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Rhubarb – It’s Time to End the Conspiracy

It’s that time of year again. The time when pro-rhubarb “friends” try to convert me.

Nope.

Tough Bananas

It’s almost that time of year – summer! Strawberries, asparagus, corn on the cob, peaches, oh, and of course, their awkward cousin, (you know, who makes everyone laugh a little uncomfortably while avoiding eye contact): rhubarb.

Seems innocuous enough - don't be fooled. Seems innocuous enough – don’t be fooled.

Before this time of seasonal enticement begins, I’d like to get ahead of the inevitable propaganda that comes along with it. Why are we all still pretending that rhubarb is delicious? I have a theory. Someone put it in a pie by accident and no one wanted to hurt their feelings. Kind of like The Emperor’s New Clothes, but with dessert.

Rhubarb can’t stand on its own. Somewhere along the line someone thought, “Hey, strawberries are just too sweet and delicious, let’s add just a smidge of bitter and stringy stalk bits – oh, perfect!” Rhubarb is Strawberry’s longstanding friend that poor Strawberry just can’t…

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Yuletide Confessions of a Kindergarten Teacher

Like a fun White Elephant Gift Exchange, I present this slightly used, but still useful, blog post.

Tough Bananas

I didn’t know.

Honestly.

I thought it was something everyone had to do, that is was part of my job description.

If you looked around, you’d see every staff member was doing it.

How was I to know?

Not one to rock the boat or question authority, I joined in.

It’s hard to admit this. It’s not like I really want people to know, but confession is good for the soul, so finally, after fifteen years, I will tell the world the truth.

I used to own a Christmas sweater and not ironically.

Fun, yet conservative. The collar makes it work-friendly. Fun, yet conservative. The collar makes it work-friendly.

It was December of my first year teaching. I walked into the staff room one morning with my Tim’s coffee in hand, to discover that all but two staff members (me and the only male teacher) were wearing thematic sweaters. But wait, it gets better. They were all the same

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Sparkly Mittens

“My hands are cold,” my young friend informed me. This little student had not dressed for the cold snap we were experiencing and her hands were raw and stiff from the freezing temperatures. The mittens she had been wearing were thin and soaked through from playing in the snow.

After double-checking for spare mittens in her backpack and the bin in the hall where extras are stored, we headed to my stash. Friends had kindly donated new hats and mittens for our school community. There was one pair of mittens left after winter had depleted my supplies.

“Well, look at that!” I told her, “purple mittens that are just your size and they even match your boots. Will you wear these if I give them to you?” She quietly nodded and her eyes lit up.

“I don’t have sparkly mitts,” she told me. She watched as I unhooked the pair and then began to snip off the tags. “Why are you doing that? Why do they have those?” she asked.

“These are brand new so I need to take the tags off from the store.”

Again, those big brown eyes looked up at me and she said with surprise, “Why would you have mittens for me?”

Why do we have mittens? For the same reasons we have extra snow pants, boots, shoes, jackets, and underwear. We have them because we know that life is not always easy or fair or simple. Finances are tight, families are stressed, jobs are hard to find. Sometimes grown-ups are dealing with their own messes and challenges. They are trying their best, but even the small things in life are too much some days.

Why do we have mittens? The same reasons we have a snack program to make sure hungry kids are fed and ready to learn. Because you should not need to worry about having enough food, enough warm clothes, or boots that do not leak. You are kids.

She is too little to understand the impact her question had on me or the many layers my answer contained.

“I have mittens because I care about my kindergarten friends,” I told her. And with that she shrugged and toddled back outside to play. Ready to be carefree again and play with her classmates. And eat snow, of course, because after all, she’s just a kid. That’s what kids should do.

Why do we have mittens? Because you matter, little friend. Everyone matters. 

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Sorry, Can You Repeat That?

What better time to heckle your parent than when a noisy appliance is running? None. There is no better time at all.

“Dishwasher Fairy” was a much bigger hit than I had anticipated. I’m nervous to release a second song, but the public has demanded it. I now present to you, “Sorry, Can You Repeat That?”

(If my former piano teacher sees this, I apologize. You did teach me better).

 


Make it Together

Sometimes I make things with the boys, sometimes I don’t. I wrote a piece about the balancing the desire to do things together and the practicality of making it happen.

Honoured that “Make It Together” has been published on “What The Flicka” as part of a theme for guest editor Sarah Michelle Geller. You can read it here.

Thanks to all the regular readers and welcome to new ones.