Many years ago, when I first started teaching school, I was blessed to work with some wonderful experienced teachers. The start of the year was rocky. I started teaching fourth grade. But the numbers didn’t work out for four fourth grades and after ten days, I was transferred to a fifth grade position at the same school. I was blessed that I didn’t have to change rooms. But I had a super speeded up intro to fifth grade. As new kid on the block, I ended up with the lowest math group but an average reading group. After many initial worries about my math students, I found that it was a perfect place for me. The group was small and they would do anything for popcorn. So we worked hard for four days and on the fifth did testing, played games and had popcorn. They thought we were playing cards or bingo. But aha, we were practicing our basic skills. I was pretty sneaky!
That year, the fourth and fifth grade team was in a separate building on the campus and we were very helpful and supportive of each other. I lost my grandmother that year and they were so wonderful to me. Then the husband of one of the fifth grade teachers died very suddenly and unexpectedly. We were all shocked. He was so young to us although he was probably in his late fifties. We became her extended family during this time. As her birthday approached-the first one without her wonderful husband, we decided to give her a surprise birthday party. We knew we had to do something crazy because it would be sad for her. So we decided that the theme would be Wonder Woman! And each of us would give her something funny from within our building that would relate to teachers. We all also agreed to not tell each other what we were doing.
The day of the party arrived. We had a Wonder Woman cake. We had wrapped gifts. Although we all had been inventive and used schoolroom items, one teacher earned a gold start for excellence. Before I tell you more about this special gift, I need to give you a little info on our principal. This was his first year as principal and he was funny. But man, he had a thing for his name stamp. I was a principal for many years and a name stamp is so important. Every report card is to be signed with the name of the principal. Well, right away, you can see that no man or woman in their right mind says- “Hey-bring me your report cards and I will sign them all.” Who wants to sign their name over 600 time? Not me. So I had a stamp made and it stayed locked up in the vault at school. This man’s stamp stayed locked in his drawer and no one could check it out without getting it directly from the principal. If you borrowed it, you had only so long before he was calling to see if you were done. He was a bit obsessed with his stamp and who had it. It became a joke to all us teachers.
So when Mrs S opened that gift bag, she looked a little startled as she bulled out a roll of toilet tissue. It looked brand new. Perfect. Pristine. She smiled and look at it oddly until she noticed in the middle of the first sheet of toilet tissue was stamped ” Charles B.Melcome”-the principal’s name. Then she began to unroll the roll and saw that every single sheet of toliet tissue was stamped with the principal’s name. The teacher quietly said-“I think you know how to use my gift”. We laughed and laughed. And then we laughed some more!
I am sure she knew how to use this special gift.