One of the realizations that has surprised me the most from writing this blog is how many parents have challenges…dare I say problems with their school districts. The teachers, the aides, the administrators, pretty much everyone under the roof. I began to wonder why so many people experience these challenges.
At first I thought – it must just be other parts of our country. Then I heard from people in Iowa…so I knew that wasn’t the case.
Then I thought – it must just be other parts of Iowa. Then I heard from people in our ‘quadrant’ of Iowa…so I knew that wasn’t the case.
Then I thought – it must just be larger schools. Then I heard from people in smaller schools…so I knew that wasn’t the case.
Then I thought – it must just be smaller schools. Then I heard from people in larger schools…so I knew that wasn’t the case.
Finally, I thought – it must just be in other districts. How lucky we are!!! Then…I heard from other people in our district.
So, how is it that our experiences have been 90% positive?
I’m going with sugar.
When I was in 4th grade there was a girl in my class who was..well.. um…just not being very nice to me. After church one Sunday my mom and dad said I could go home with Grandma and Grandpa (these were some of THE BEST moments of life).
As I sat with Grandma at the kitchen table watching her prepare Sunday’s dinner (yes – dinner, as in the noon meal) I told her about what was happening at school. She stopped what she was doing and sat down. She asked me what I was going to do about the problem. I shrugged my shoulders and I can remember the tears welling up in my eyes. She said to me, “Always remember you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”
It stuck with me all these years and upon meeting my husband I repeated that phrase in conversation. He just looked at me.
I have since repeated it to my children.
It’s my mantra…and maybe that is why we have such good ‘luck’ at school. I work at catching the flies with honey…
Now, let me say – yes, everyone should just WANT to care. Everyone should just WANT to do their best Everyone should just WANT to love students. However, let’s be real…we all have our days at work. All of us. So…I deliver plenty of sugar to keep on catching those flies.
Notice I wrote, “I deliver.” That’s right – the school folks don’t only see me for IEP meetings. They don’t only see me when I’m fired up about something. They don’t only see me when I have bone to pick.
They see me volunteering time to help other children. They see me volunteering time to help other teachers. The faculty at that school? They know Tucker. This morning I was volunteering and the Study Hall Supervisor asked me my name. Then asked about my children. I said I’m Tucker and Estelle’s mom. She said, ‘Oh!! Big Tuck?’ Yep – Big Tuck. She said, ‘Oh I just love him. I keep an eye out for him you know.’
That is affirmation. So, you know what I’m doing today? Baking cupcakes and lots of ’em for the 7th grade team. Lemon blueberry with homemade lemon cream cheese frosting. Tucker’s favorite fruit?
Blueberries, by the pint. No kidding.
Here he is…trying to talk to me…while stuffing blueberries in his mouth as quickly as possible.
The blog is a bit late today because I’ve been grading and baking….grading and frosting. The results?
I don’t only take treats to school on days I’m assigned. I take treats to school on random days.
AND – I ALWAYS leave a note that says something like this, “Thank you so much for all you do for our school and community. Love, Tucker & Estelle” Yes – I make them sign their names.
I don’t only take candy bars to school on days I’m assigned. I take candy bars to school on random days.
AND – I ALWAYS leave a note on the candy bars. What do they say? Well…I’m about to give up one of my favorite things – so please steal. Steal these ideas to ‘catch’ yourself some flies.
I print out these quips on a mailing label (including ‘From Tucker and Estelle’), stick them to miniature candy bars, and deliver a basket of goodies to the office – for ALL staff.
You are such a SWEETART (SweeTarts)
We would be in a CRUNCH without our teachers! (Nestle Crunch)
Your help is better than GOLD! (Hershey’s Nuggets)
You are terrific! You were MINT to be our teacher! (Andes Mints)
You compli-MINT our children’s educational team! (York Mint Patties)
Your help is better than a grand slam! (Baby Ruth)
Thanks for keeping your PROMISE to be here for our children. (Dove Promises)
You add such JOY to our children’s educational team. (Almond Joy)
Here is a HUG! Thank you! (Hershey’s Hugs)
A chance to say thanks, we wouldn’t miss! Just for you, a Hershey Kiss! (Hershey’s Kiss)
Please accept our MINI thanks for your maximum effort. (Hershey’s Miniatures)
You have our MOUNDS of appreciation. (Mounds Bar)
You are a STAR teacher! (Starburst)
Our CUP runneth over with great teachers like you! (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups)
Our teachers STIX out in a crowd! (Pixy Stix)
Teachers are LIFESAVERS. (Lifesavers Candy)
We’re JOLLY glad to have you as our child’s teacher. (Jolly Rancher)
I can thank you NOW and LATER. (Now and Later)
There are no DUDS on our educational team. (Milk Duds)
You’re worth more than 100 GRAND to us! (100 Grand Bars)
You are a WHOPPING good part of our team. (Whoppers)
Thanks for making our child SNICKER with learning fun! (Snickers)
you Mean so Much to our children. Thanks! (M & M’s)
Double, double, blow a bubble! Without you we’d be in trouble. (Bubble Gum)
We’re UDDERLY glad you are on out team! (Cow Tail’s)
TWIX me and you, you are a fantastic teacher! (Twix bars)
Thanks for helping! You are the KAT’s meow! (Kit-Kat)
Help like yours in out of this world. Thank you! (Milky Way Bars)
You are an EGG-ceptional teacher! (Reese’s or Twix Eggs)
Who is a great teacher? All FINGERS are pointing at you. (Butterfinger)
Parents and teachers, together we’re RAISIN great kids. (Raisinettes)
We are EXTRA glad you are our child’s teacher. (Extra Bubblegum)
Now – get out there and catch some of your own flies!!