Life has a habit of throwing lemons at me. It has done so many times.
The most recent was about a year and a half ago. At work, I was assigned to work in the kitchen on a regular basis – no longer in the classroom! What?
I went through all the stages of grief over the first weekend. I cried. I railed against the world. Why was this happening to me?
I know I have physical problems. I can’t pick up the children. I can’t stand for very long, and I definitely can’t sit in those tiny chairs the kids sit in. Some of the classrooms have adult size chairs, but not all of them. I also know that, before my knee replacement, when I was in a lot of pain, I was most certainly being Teacher Cranky Woman.
But… but… but I’m GOOD at what I do. I sing to the kids, I tell stories, I play.
And why was I being put in a physical job, me, the one with physical problems to begin with?
But, as it turns out…
As it turns out, I learned to juggle those lemons and am now a happy camper.
It seems that, although I can’t stand for very long, I can stay on my feet if I’m MOVING. And my job is putting the snacks together in tubs, moving back and forth between the counter, the fridge, the cracker bins, back and forth all day long. It actually made me stronger.
Then… They added another job – I now walk up to the hospital kitchen to fetch the lunches for the infants and pre-toddlers. (All the older kids bring their own lunch.) Stronger still! And I enjoy getting out of the school for fifteen minutes each day.
And I still get to be with the kids, because when there’s a little down time in the kitchen I give breaks to the teachers.
But, ya wanna know the best part?
As I am running to and fro, delivering things to the classrooms, I get to play with the kids, talk with them, sing with them, tell stories, goof off with them. Get them all wild and unruly – then leave them for their teachers to deal with – ha ha ha ha!
One of the kids asked me one day, “Are you a teacher?”
I answered, “Yes, I am.”
He responded, “My mom says you’re not a real teacher anymore.”
OK. I can see how people might think that, since I’m not in the classroom anymore.
But, listen to this: I am a teacher. I have always been a teacher. I will always be a teacher.
Teaching isn’t something that happens only in the classroom. Teaching is an attitude. I model imaginative behavior for the children. I teach them patience and kindness. I teach them love of life. I teach them confidence and creativity.
I teach them how to juggle lemons.