Don’t Hurt Maggie
A teacher invited her children to adopt a tree on the playground. They chose a magnolia tree that they named “Maggie.” They would read stories under Maggie, sing songs, and draw pictures of her. Sometimes they’d hug her or when it was warm they would sponge her trunk with water. One day a child broke a branch off another tree. A classmate started to cry because, “They are hurting Maggie’s friend.”
A teacher was having the children go around the room and describe each other’s socks. One poor little fellow didn’t have any socks even though it was the middle of winter. The teacher said she could see the child getting anxious and so the teacher exclaimed, “Aren’t those the most beautiful invisible socks you ever saw?”
Wash and Blow Dry
One year I taught a little girl who had cancer and she didn’t have any hair. Each day she wore a hat and kept it tightly on her head. I put my ugly shoes in a big grocery bag (like the children do) for show and tell and told the story about how my feet hurt all the time. “I have these ugly shoes, but when I wear them my feet are so happy. I’d like to put them on, but I’m afraid you might laugh and make fun of me.” Of course, the children said, “No. We won’t make fun of you.” (I smile remembering how they would say, “I love your shoes. They are so pretty.”) The next day Lauren came to school without her hat. And she never wore it again. In fact, when we went on a field trip to the cosmetology school (we could do that in the old days) they asked Lauren what she would like to have done. She smiled and said, “I’ll have a wash and a blow dry.”
That’s why we do what we do! Some people might think we do what we do to improve test scores. The truth is that we tolerate assessments, standards, and observations because we really do love children. We know that we touch young hearts in a special way…we give hope…we plant seeds of goodness…we give them a smile and a song.