As my students shuffled in to class, one kiddo handed me something that awakened a joy that only those kids can do on a dreary Monday. She had no idea of what she did, but how could she? One of my marvelously joyful English language learners came skipping in with this:
What you may not be able to see written so carefully on the plastic bag of quarters are the words: "Money for Books".
She proudly exclaimed, "It's $11 in quarters, Mrs. Strawser!" pushing her Scholastic book club order form into my hand.
To some, this may seem like an odd thing to find so rewarding.
What my student could have never known was that at the same age, I did the exact same thing. Only, my teacher responded quit differently.
Memories are funny that way. The ones that stick the closest to your heart, the ones you never seem to let go, never loose their power.
I will never forget scrounging every last penny from my piggy bank to purchase the new edition of The Bailey School Kids. And I will never forget the pain I felt when my teacher told me she would not except my money because it was all in coins. How was I to understand that even though I had enough money, It was not what she wanted. I went that month without experiencing the joy of watching that box arrive in the classroom. The humiliation my young 8 year old readers heart felt loosing an opportunity to add to what would one day become an impressive collection of books was unbearable. And thus, this memory will forever haunt me. I look back and still wonder why? Why did my teacher not see that my pennies, nickles, and dimes were brought to school accompanying a love of reading?
And so today I accepted $11 in quarters with the happiest of hearts. The heart of a reader witnessing the growing heart of a fellow reader. This was a reminder to me in so many ways. This is what no standardized test can score. This is why I am a teacher. I can watch these kids embark on their own journey at their own pace. I try an do my best for them just like they do every day for me.
Although, I did leave with a rather heavy purse...