“Because you have taken hands, touched hearts and opened minds, you will never be forgotten. Love and best wishes.”
Dedication on retired teacher’s quilt
Every teacher needs to put this advice into her daily lesson plan book. It is the Three R’s to an educator’s peace of mind. Chalk up this trio of words: relax, remember, rejuvenate. The only equipment necessary for implementation is a quilt. Not any quilt. A teacher quilt. The favorite one that wraps around the body like the shell of a silk cocoon. A quilt that breathes life into a stressed out body and a frazzled mind. When snuggled in such a comforter, follow the lesson plan of the Three R’s.
“I want time to sit, read, take a nap and snack. Basically, I want to be in kindergarten.” – One tired teacher
Hot chocolate, popcorn, Twizzlers, herbal tea, Snickers or fluffy cats are option. The relax part of the quilt experience is simply to allow the anxiety of the day to slowly dissipate as the tv drones on, a box of tissues is used to get through a sad movie, or a captivating book keeps the eyes glued to the page. Listening to music and sipping a peach smoothie qualifies as a time of relaxation. Writing in a journal may clear the racing thoughts in the brain. Inhale calm, exhale chaos. Consciously release tension from the toes, the legs, the midsection, the shoulders, and, gently, from the mind. Take as much time as necessary for this part of the lesson plan. This step is life giving.
“Each day we teach we must put forth a greater effort than we think we’re capable of doing. We can never limit ourselves to what kind of teacher we’ve been in the past.” —Robert John Meehan
Snuggled in the safety of layers of cottony fluff, remember the reason why teaching called as the chosen profession. Recalling how passionate I was in college about reaching children from disadvantaged homes with hope that that could achieve their potential in life helps to center my focus again on what is important in my classroom. As the cat purrs and the herbal tea sooths the strain on my vocal chords, my inner screen brings up visions of students from years past, and my heart aches to know how well their frayed lives have become. How they overcame their challenges. How they reached their potential. I have a “Memory Box” with notes from parents, students and colleagues. Re-reading their remarks brings both a smile and a tear. One student wrote, “Thank you for listening to me. It made a difference.” Another penned, “When I grow up, I want to be a person who can love everyone. I learned that in this class.” A time of allowing the past successes to soak in and germinate new seeds of passion is well spent. Remember the good times. Learn from the others.
“Teachers help students find important things they’ve lost every day. Sometimes it is a paper, backpack or jacket…other times it is courage, confidence, or a smile.” -Anonymous
Time under a quilt is time spent in rejuvenating. Let the fingers move along the paths of stitches whether straight “in the ditch” grooves, or the meandering flow from a creative needle. Breathe the scent of cotton batting tucked in folds. Tuck icy toes into the puffiness. Start to plan the next day’s strategy for teaching cooperation and work ethic in the classroom. Create an artistic approach to an old tired English lesson in narrative writing. Imagine how make the social studies maps leap off the screen and into reality. Calculate a concrete method to illustrate how to reduce fractions. Bring story to life through new biographies or books to read aloud after lunch. Grasp the dreams of the students in the classroom and turn them into aspirations within reach. Heal the wounds that cripple the success of the most vulnerable students. Rise above your own pain and failures to reach out. Every teacher owns her private story of struggle that propels them to get up each morning and face the challenges of the day.
“If you want to be more powerful in life, educate yourself.”
– Michelle Kabdi, MAEd
Don’t have a quilt? There are classes everywhere in this great country where stitchers sit around and tell stories as they sew. Quilting guilds create places where stress whirrs away with the beat of the needle pulling thread. Encouragement is exchanged with piecing patterns and swatches of fabric. Acceptance is layered on all who participate. Teachers become students who design their own quilts and experience the thrill of creating a cloth representation that binds together their most inner thoughts and dreams. Don’t wait for retirement to get a quilt. Make a personal statement. Make a plan. Make a quilt for relaxing, remembering and rejuvenating.
“The eight hours spent in your classroom may be the most peaceful experience a few of your students will have that day. Make it a continual safe haven and a place of comfort for them.” @theycanlearn
Meet first year teacher Zoey Pappas who is fresh from the farm and now in front of an urban class of fifth graders in Second Chances.
Meet Special Educator Roni Bagedonas who now has the most challenging students in her behavior disordered classroom.
Meet Alana Alcott, a teacher of gifted students, who is court mandated to work with foster students in Chicago for a summer in Cultivating Wildflowers.
What others are saying about Cleo Lampos’ books
“Cleo forces us to look deep within ourselves and see the good in other who may be different from us and helps us to learn to trust again.” –CBoss
“This is a lovely story of understanding and hope. Of people coming together to make a difference in the lives of others. I highly recommend this short, but touching, novel.” – Evelyn Cullet
“This book tackles issues facing many students in schools today. I literally could not put the book down.” –Louise Thompson
Available on amazon.com!