Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Luck of the Irish
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Slice of Life: Luck of the Irish


“See you tomorrow…and don’t forget to wear green.”

 When I first read those words I was filled with dread. I don’t have anything green and no time to find something. I began to come up with all the reasons I would use to explain why I did not wear green and then instead I began to remember.

My mother loved holidays. She had decorations, knick-knacks, jewelry and a specialty shirt for each occasion. She always made a big deal to celebrate with themed snacks and dinners. I realize so many of my memories are about holidays — the preparations and celebrations – big and small. It was just fun.

img-thingI decided to use my stress to find some magic – some luck of the Irish! I went into the attic and started to search through my mother’s boxes. I found her Irish claddagh ring, the button she always wore, the button I always wore and her shamrock turtleneck.

I remember the years she dyed my hair green, made green cupcakes, covered the house in leprechaun footprints to convince us they had paid a visit and cooked corn beef and cabbage for dinner. I am sure she was stressed and busy, but she always found the time to make each holiday magical.

I decided to slow down and remember. I went to see my mom today. I brought her shamrock turtleneck and her pin so she can wear them tomorrow. I also found her favorite holiday treat – Hostess Snoballs that are died to match the color of the holiday. I could only find white ones, but as we shared a Snoball, I told her all the stories she used to tell me about St. Patrick’s Day.  I reminded her of all the fun we had over the years on St. Patrick’s Day.

green-sno-ballIn these remembered moments she is my mother once again. The fun-loving, thoughtful mother who always knew how to create joy through small gestures. The mother who never forgot the small things or the small moments. Some things may seem trivial at first, but it makes me realize the small things count. Kids remember the fun things we do, the stories we tell, and the traditions we have together.

So many teachers share with me their concern that school is no longer fun. In the rush to cover everything there is no time for little, fun traditions. I must admit when I first read the email from my colleague about wearing green I thought it was just a distraction that would take away from my time. The time I never have enough of.

In the end, I found green and I did everything on my to-do list.   In fact I also found time to go to the store, visit my mother and make themed a dinner for my family.  It makes me wonder if we do have enough time after all.

Do we have time to meet high-standards and have fun? Does it just feel like we don’t have enough time? Does the stress get in our way?  Can we find simple ways to bring joy into our days? Are we actually more efficient and productive when we are happy?

Today was an important lesson for me. Sometimes it can all seem so overwhelming. The list is never ending, but it is the small moments that matter. It takes just as much time to be negative and stress as it does to be joyous and enjoy. When I took the time to find joy I also seemed to find time.

It is hard for me to believe my mother no longer remembers, but I am so thankful my colleague reminded me to not forget.  I hope I never forget.


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    Posted at 10:01h, 17 March Reply

    You are correct
    “:It is the small things that matter.”

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    Kevin Hodgson
    Posted at 10:06h, 17 March Reply

    I was rushing out the door yesterday and wore my only green shirt by mistake. Walking the hallway, I saw our music teacher, decked out in green. She looked me over, pointed to herself, and said, “What are we going to wear tomorrow?” I have no idea.

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    Posted at 10:08h, 17 March Reply

    Your lesson is an important lesson for us all. Life happens only once. When all things are put in this perspective, time to slow down and visit or celebrate a holiday somehow is found. Lovely.

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    Kimberley Moran
    Posted at 10:16h, 17 March Reply

    This brought tears to my eyes. “In these remembered moments she is my mother once again.” What an amazing post, I have forwarded it to my colleagues who each did something magical for kids to see this morning. I took all the erasers off pencils and sorted through mine to replace them with green ones. I slashed paint on morning work that should be due today, but will not be required because of those pesky leprechauns. And I bought my own kids Lucky Charms and Little Debbie shamrock cookies. I know they will remember this time as you are. Thank you.

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    Jennifer Laffin
    Posted at 10:22h, 17 March Reply

    “Can we find simple ways to bring joy into our days?” I think this idea is key! Too often, we think it has to be this big production, requiring lots of effort that none of us seem to have. But you are right, so often it just takes a little something to feel that joy. Thank you for the beautiful reminder!


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    Posted at 12:43h, 17 March Reply

    Wow, how much one little note influenced you and stirred your thought. The memories being the best part.

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    Dana Murphy
    Posted at 14:36h, 17 March Reply

    I love this, and I think I am finally starting to learn these lessons at the ripe old age of almost-40. It seems you are exactly right – we are more efficient and productive when we are happy.

    I hope my girls have the same fond memories of holidays that you do. I hope I made them magical.

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    Aileen Hower
    Posted at 14:56h, 17 March Reply

    What a bitter-sweet homage to your mother and teaching decisions. This was my favorite line, “It takes just as much time to be negative and stress as it does to be joyous and enjoy.” Hold on tight to those memories and the new ones you create as a result.

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    Mary Lee Hahn
    Posted at 16:01h, 17 March Reply

    Read the book PAPER THINGS by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. One subplot is students reclaiming their school’s fun traditions that were nixed by a new principal who found them to trivial, unnecessary and a distraction from learning. GREAT book. Put it high on your TBR.

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    Posted at 22:00h, 17 March Reply

    “When I took the time to find joy I also seemed to find time.” So much wisdom in these words, and in this post. Thank you.

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    Linda Baie
    Posted at 00:20h, 18 March Reply

    I love that you found joy in all these small things and then took time to discover again those wonderful memories of your mother and all she did special for the holidays. Being in the moment with someone who has memory problems can make the time a real pleasure, and being in the moment with our students is how we can find pleasure there too. Thank you for this sweet post.

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    Posted at 01:15h, 18 March Reply

    Can we find simple ways to bring joy into our days? YES – is the simple answer to this complicated question. But I do believe finding joy is the key.
    Just recently I jokingly told my children I wanted a Flippeez hat of Olaf for my birthday. I smile when I see the students wearing this cute hat with the little stick arms that move when you squeeze the ear flaps. and sure enough that’s what they bought new! Well a few days later I told a student I had a hat just like hers and that I would wear it the next day. The next day I stood at the door greeting the students and along comes my “hat twin”. She smiled a very large grin while we posed for a quick picture. I was told later after skipping around the corner she pronounced that say as the best day ever because we were wearing matching hats. Oh the simple joy of wearing a silly hat!
    Thank you for your moving story and for the reminder that simple gestures are the most important and the longest lasting ones!

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    Posted at 14:29h, 03 April Reply

    What wonderful memories and a beautiful message.
    What an incredible mother.

  • Slice of Life: Luck of the Irish… or Not! | Assessment in Perspective
    Posted at 10:22h, 17 March Reply

    […] My mom loved holidays! St. Patrick’s Day was one of her favorites. She was always decked out in green – novelty turtleneck and all! I will always remember the year she died my hair green… […]

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