This fall I shopped for school supplies for the first time in 10 years. Not for my kids. My children are adults and I only wish their needs now were as simple as a box of No. 2 pencils.
I went shopping this year for my good friend Patti who is making the switch from teaching at the local middle school to elementary school. After teaching pre-teen boys and girls for decades, Patti felt a change was in order. She will still teach kids with special needs, but now she will focus on math for youngsters in grades 3, 4 and 5.
Even though Patti is a seasoned teacher, she will be new to her school. Some of us gave Patti some elementary school goodies to ease the transition. The gifts included a new lunch bag, themed socks for holidays, a stapler, “I Love Teaching” stickers, scotch tape, paper clips and a mug with the school name.
I was a bit mystified by a few gifts provided by Patti’s teacher friends. The fly swatters for example. Apparently there is some math game where the kids compete to be the first to run to the black board and “swat” the right chalked in number as an answer to an equation. This game is not as successful in middle school level because students apparently prefer to swat each other.
The bundled pack of pencils with “Happy Birthday” embossed on each also puzzled me. I had never heard the story of how Patti always gives a similar pencil to students on their birthday. One day, she was in the student’s bathroom (it was closer than the faculty lounge) and two gals came in. One wished the other happy birthday. The birthday girl replied, “I hope Mrs. Corley isn’t going to give me one of those stupid birthday pencils.” Patti yelled out from the stall, “Don’t worry… I won’t!” Both gals were long gone when Patti emerged.
Grade schoolers will hopefully be more appreciative of Patti’s generosity.
Patti will be able to use all her new supplies in her new classroom. Only one gift will have to remain at home.
The miniature bottle of gin should probably be consumed off school property.