You know what I miss most about having my own classroom? Bulletin boards. Well, that and posters and clever displays and stacks and stacks of books—matching novel sets make my heart race—and music and art and film and… Well, you get the picture.
I love my job at the college. I really do. I love the distinct lack of silly paper work and nonsensical mandates from the state. I love being able to teach my content area rather than a test. I love making my own syllabus and the fact that the college, by virtue of having hired me, assumes I am a professional and can handle running my own classroom without micromanaging me.
Yet I still find myself longing for a bulletin board.
I have never taught anyone below 9th grade unless you count Sunday School, but for some reason, I find myself thinking about what I would do if I had the chance to teach reading and language enrichment to elementary school students.
I can think of a thousand lesson plans and activities I would do to get their little minds racing and their hearts thumping with creativity and wonder. I have spent so much time doing that for the past ten years with my own children, I guess it’s been like on-the-job training. Now I want to share it with other children.
Maybe that’s why I seem to have latched onto writing stories for kids, which is not the direction I ever imagined for my writing, but somehow, it just feels right, and I really love it.
Ultimately, I think the thing I have most loved about being a stay-at-home mom and teaching is the opportunity to share the beauty of language and the importance of our stories with others. I think that the power of literature cannot be overestimated. Is that to say that all people must read from the literary canon in order to lead a worthwhile life? No, but I believe that literature extends beyond Shakespeare or Milton.
Ask any person to tell you a story about when they were growing up or someone they know, particularly a grandparent or favorite uncle, and you’ll open up a box of tales that would make Eudora Welty’s head spin. Every person has a story. Every person has a voice that is uniquely his or hers. To be able to cultivate that love of story is what really makes my heart sing. And I guess that’s why I find myself thinking longingly of long sheets of colored paper and letter stencils and staplers. To share that gift with other people is what I dream about.