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My first classroom had three walls.

Two and eleven/twelfths, actually.

There was a small rectangle near the ceiling of one—the perfect size for throwing pencils from the adjoining class.

That happened, actually.

Three walls.

It was the brilliant idea of someone.
Open spaces…

The design itself wasn’t flawed. Just this particular use of it.
Not good for a classroom open to a hallway.
Ideal for a private massage room overlooking the beach

I wondered how much they saved on sheet rock with that model.

Then I built a wall.

I used one of those long rolling storage situations to serve as the bottom half.
It looked like a large-drawered shelf on casters.

I have no idea where that thing came from.

From the top, I hung a long banner that read: “Reach for the Stars”
To that I attached black fabric that I cut in slits that hung down.

No one would claim it as a design style.
But it kept the distraction out.

Prior to building the wall, there was a Kindergarten parade of some sort.
Book characters, Halloween, I dunno.

My Fifth Grade students were at a specials class, but I was there.
I came to the edge of our room to cheer on the young ones.

I smiled and waved—the only appropriate gestures at a parade.
I would’ve asked them to throw me beads, but I think that would have confused matters.

They smiled, too.

Toward the end of the parade a foot plopped out by mine.
A sweet voice: “Will you tie my shoe?”
Then another, with the same request.
Then, a third!

It was cute at first.
But, are you serious?!?

I remember thinking, “I could never do this all day.”

That was a thought. I never uttered it aloud.

Even thoughts have power.

Since then, I’ve learned not to narrow destiny with narrow thoughts
Nor should you tempt fate one-way or the other.

Because, of course, I teach Kindergarten now!

A far jump from Fifth Grade, with equal merit, of course!

I spend a lot of time on the childcare end of the spectrum—nurturing wounds, discerning true illness from unwillingness, tying shoes, opening Honest Kids juice boxes, mandarin oranges, the school popsicles that either must be cut with scissors, or pried open with pliers because of that special kind of glue-sealant.

Ask anyone—I don’t peel oranges or pull teeth, but

I do give band-aids and dramatic displays of distraction and tons of hugs—tons!

I do that—

But I also teach, how to work through social-issues, how to use words that work.
I empower my young friends who resolve to “I’m telling” more quickly than they ought. I teach students letter sounds and bump them up to word sounds and reading. For some, how to read to learn. How to write—penmanship and prose. More.

In a sense I’m still building
Architecting and promoting curiosity
At times, teaching friends to block-out distraction
At others—urging them toward it.

And all the while in awe of the journey.
So when I speak—I speak with reverence about all my experiences.

How they’ve shaped me.
How communities different from my own have embraced me
How I’ve been able to shape the landscape with my own dreams and aspirations
How I’ve been loved and privileged to be on such a journey.

So, yes—I will tie your shoe, and yours, and yours.

I’m better at that too.
Double knot with the laces tucked!


5 thoughts on “#SOL15.Three.Walls

  1. mrssurridge March 15, 2015 / 2:05 am

    I student taught in a school that had only a few walls. I never could figure out who thought that was a good idea. I also taught kinder and first grades and tied oodles of shoes. I also wrestled with oodles of knots in shoelaces until a mentor teacher showed me how easily a staple remover got the knot out. After that I carried a staple remover with me everywhere.

    • charinickerson March 16, 2015 / 12:34 am

      Just wanted to let you know that I’m using the staple remover tomorrow. I’d never heard of that–but, I can tell it’s brilliant! Thank you for stopping by.

  2. Amanda March 15, 2015 / 3:10 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I love the connections you made and how openly you shared your fears. I particularly like the witty lines about the design being ideal for a massage overlooking a beach or the other about waving and smiling being the only appropriate gestures at a parade.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • charinickerson March 16, 2015 / 12:33 am

      Amanda, thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave such kind words!

  3. Lisa March 16, 2015 / 11:14 pm

    I went to elementary school in a building similar to this, though the wall open to the rest of the school did cover most of the opening (leaving a really wide doorway.) I can’t imagine it as a teacher, but remember liking it as a student. I love your solution! I taught kindergarten for one year and it was as you described: more about social skills than teaching, especially in the beginning. They thought I was a genius with the double knots! 😉

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