Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Lesson Learned

I was a happy kid.


I loved pre-kindergarten because we had the best toys and I got to ride the bus and we had cake on my birthday and my teacher was the nicest teacher in the whole wide world.

(Author's note: she really was. You know those teachers you remember forever? Well, she was mine. I still feel all warm and happy when I picture her face.)

I was pretty good at school. For the most part, I got along with the other kids and I stayed out of trouble. I did well at school stuff, like circling the biggest snowman and writing my numbers - except for nines, which I wrote backwards until the third grade. I sped through any work my teacher (the nicest teacher in the whole wide world) gave me.

Some other things, though, took me a very, very long time to do. It always took me longer than the other kids to drink at the water fountain, or pack up my bag, or hang up my coat, or put on my shoes.


It may have had something to do with the fact that I never stopped talking. Or that there were always a million things to distract me. Or maybe I was just a slow kid. Regardless, the result was the same: I was always the last one ready.


Oh no.

I knew that voice.

It was my teacher's Mad Voice, the one that she used with her Stern Look.

There's nothing more miserable than the feeling you get when your beloved teacher - the nicest teacher in the whole wide world - aims her Mad Voice and Stern Look at you.

This was bad.


I froze and waited.


Oh no.

It is very bad when the teacher counts to five.

When the teacher counts to five, it means you are in trouble, and you have to be sitting at your table with your shoes on before she's finished. And if you aren't, then your table group doesn't get any points.

I stood there, frozen. Which should I do first? Go to my table? Or put on my other shoe?


Oh no!

Three! Three is very close to five!

I scurried to my table, still clutching my shoe in my hands. I got there in time, but my shoe wasn't on and my chair was still stacked.

I wasn't ready before five. And that meant that I was in trouble.

I wanted to disappear, so I did: I closed my eyes and hid my face.


I pressed the heels of my hands against my eyes. That way, no one would see me and no one would know that I was in trouble and my friends wouldn't be mad at me for making them lose a point. Again.




Oh no!

She could still see me!

I pressed my hands tighter against my eyes, marvelling at the cracks and splashes of colour that spread across my vision.


I was invisible.


But...

But...

My eyes were closed. I couldn't see her.

How could she see me?


And that's how I learned that people can see you even if you can't see them.

Who knew?

70 comments:

  1. That's a tough lesson to learn. I remember when I learned that too---even though I knew it was true, I still didn't understand how that could happen.

    I like pre-k Stephanie!

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    1. Confession: I may have been 5. I don't remember. But yeah, it was a seriously shocking moment for me.

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  2. I've never been more stressed for a clay 4-year-old before.

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    1. It's ok. Clay people are generally pretty resilient...and anyway, she was the best teacher in the world, so I got over it pretty quickly!

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  3. Poor kid! Yep, apparently it took my mom awhile to learn that as a kid. She thought as long as her head was covered she was hidden. She was just terrible at hide and seek.

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    1. Ha! Yeah, I guess that would give you a serious hide and seek handicap.

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  4. I am so glad Crack You Whip introduced me to your blog. Loving it!

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    1. And i'm glad you commented here so I could find your blog! Yeah, I'm a sucker for posts about the apocalypse.

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  5. There's nothing worse than getting in trouble from your favorite teacher!

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    1. Seriously. And she really was the best teacher in the world.

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  6. I can't believe how sad I felt for a head down clay person. Hope you got your shoe on!

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    1. I don't remember past the "holy crap! She can see me!". But I'm pretty sure that the shoe did eventually find its way onto my foot.

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  7. This post stressed me out! Ahh! How scary for 4 year old you! And to make it about me, I am sooo glad other people see weird cracky light thingies when they press their eyes shut! :)

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    1. I know! I used to love doing it! Everytime I was bored in school (and I was bored in school A LOT) I would press my eyes and watch the cracks. I can't do it anymore though...now it gives me a headache. Ha!

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  8. I love that the teacher was so strict and you loved her so much. As a former Kindergarden teacher, I could totally relate to this. Very cute post, with a helpful message. I had no idea that people could see me if I couldn't see them. Geez :) I love the shoes, too.

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    1. I really did love her. She was the perfect kindergarten teacher...firm but so nice and loving and warm. And when I went to kindergarten, teachers were still allowed to give hugs. She hugged us all the time. See? Now I'm all happy inside again!

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  9. OHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor little 4 year old!!! lol this was a cute story thanks for sharing

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  10. Oh no, I was a third of the way through this post when I remembered how you recycle most of your clay, and I thought, "Oh No!" (again) she might recycle a smaller version of herself! Then the thought went through my brain, from M.C.Escher, hands drawing each other. My neXt thought was, "Well, she recently saved the sheep from slaughter recently, I wonder if she will save herself from a long time ago, TSYS - The Smaller Younger Stephanie? My next thought was, "I wonder if I have been drinking tOO much tonight", no erase that last thought ....

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    1. Don't worry, I keep my people for at least a few stories. I only smash them and reuse the clay when they're looking dirty. The clay smudges pretty quickly, so I can't keep them indefinitely...but little Stephanie should be good for at least another story or two.

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  11. ah, the pressure!!!! thanks for sharing your story, stephanie!!
    yes, there is nothing like disappointing a loved and respected authority figure, is there?? that is cool how you still remember your teacher so clearly, to this day!
    i loved activities like circling snowmen and tracing numbers...ah, the good old days!

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    1. I had her for two years in a row, pre-k and k. When I was teaching kindergarten, I actually found myself thinking : "What would she have done in this situation?" She was such a great teacher.

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  12. oh, this post made me cry! mostly because I am the teacher using the Mad Voice and the Stern Look all day long. Is this what I do to those poor souls??????????

    xxo
    MOV

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    1. No, it's ok! Grown-ups have to be firm! And there's a HUGE difference between firm and mean. My teacher was firm. But she was never, NEVER mean. Kids need that structure. And look...I got over it...AND she's still my all-time favourite teacher of all time in the whole wide world.

      (But yeah...there were days as a teacher when I thought to myself "Am I a professional bully?". Teachers are NOT friends, and to be a good teacher, you have to be firm. But still, the whole discipline thing can be really hard on a teacher's soul now and then.)

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  13. Oh JEEZ. Like PP, as a teacher, this makes me cry. Amazing that you still loved her. I heart this post.

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    1. Of course I still loved her! She was firm, but NEVER mean. And kids need structure. I've had other nice teachers who let the students run wild, and while I loved them, I don't remember them with the same affection that I remember that kindergarten teacher. She was a wonderful teacher.

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  14. Ha ha ha! My third grade teacher was my fave teacher, cue goddess lighting and soft smiles. Took me back.
    That stinks that people can see me even when I can't see them. Dang. The things you learn on the Internet....

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    1. I know! How much easier would life be if we really could make people disappear just by closing our eyes...

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  15. ... well, that explains why my boss kept talking at me during the staff meeting even though I had my hands over my eyes and was going "lalalalalalala!" to drown out her voice.

    Note to self: Next time, hide under the desk. She'll never find me!

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    1. Well, crap. I was bothered enough by the fact that closing my eyes doesn't make people disappear...you mean to tell me that they still exist when we drown them out with noise? The world has no more wonder.

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  16. Noooo! Stressed out little kids always makes me so sad :(

    I love the clay shot of what you saw when you pressed on your eyes. I totally see those things when I squeeze my eyes shut and press on them. Which, oddly enough happens more than you'd think.

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    1. It's ok. I got over it. And she really was the best teacher of all time in the whole wide world! I used to love watching the cracks and lights behind my eyes. Now, though, it gives me a headache if I try.

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  17. Awww. I just wanted to hug little Stephanie in this blog!!

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    1. I'm pretty sure the teacher hugged me later. She was a hugger. :) (Ah, I loved her.)

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  18. UHNH! Oh great. My heart just broke. Way to go, Stephanie.

    Seriously though, my daughter is exactly the same - I can picture her, head down on the desk, right now. :(

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    1. I wasn't an anxious kid. I was a bit shy, but pretty happy-go-lucky. So I got over it pretty quickly! Don't have a broken heart...mine healed up right away. :)

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    2. I have fond memories of most of my teachers... except grade 12 Media. He was not firm, he was just mean. He yelled and swore at me once. He was one of those spit-yellers. So gross.

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  19. *sniff* I wanted to cry for poor lil Stephanie. I had a similar experience involving bedtime clean-up, a timer, and the threat of losing a bedtime story if it wasn't done when the timer went off.

    Childhood is hard.

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    1. Don't cry! Honestly, I kind of thought the story was funny when I wrote it. I'm a bit surprised that I made everyone so sad. Don't worry: I got over it, I wasn't emotionally scarred, and she really WAS the best teacher in the whole wide world. As for your story...I hope that you finished before that timer went off!

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  20. Awwww...that's so sad and sweet...you need a .

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    1. A hug...that's what you need...a hug...don't know what happened there.

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    2. I'm pretty sure my teacher gave me a hug later. She was a really good hugger. :)

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  21. Hahaha! My sister and I used to press on our eyes to watch the color splotches and we called it "playing Atari." My mom found out and got mad, and this is how I learned that you're not supposed to press on your eyeballs.

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    1. Playing atari! Ha! Love it! Yeah, if i tried to do it now, it would probably give me a headache...

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    2. Playing Atari! That is awesome! I used to do that, too, although I didn't have a cool name for it.

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  22. HA! This is SO my son. We had this exact scene in my house this morning. :)

    You need your invisibility cloak, is all ...

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    1. I KNOW! Where is that cloak when you need it...

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  23. I did not like getting in trouble when I was young either. I swear it was physically painful.Poor little Stephanie!
    Besides the obvious reason that your Blog is AWESOME, I just figured out why I have a special fondness for it.
    I just got done writing a post, where I talked about Saturday Night Live, and through writing it it made me remember the short clips of Mr. Bill, the clay guy who did not have the best of luck. I LOVED when they played those.

    It is amazing how your posts can be entertaining (as far as the clay figures) and moving (I was completely imagining a little girl so full of fear of getting in trouble) all at the same time!

    Terrific story! A bit of a lump in the throat, but terrific!I always look forward to your blog.

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    1. I'm sorry this story made you sad! Honestly, I thought it was funny when I wrote it. But several people have told me that it made them want to cry. Oops!

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  24. I don't remember when I learned this- but wow, I'm sure I've felt that way- wishing that if I squeezed my eyes tighter I'd disappear.

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    1. How much easier the world would be if it were actually true! :)

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  25. Awww. This post totally reminded me of my wonderful 2nd grade teacher. Little Stephanie was adorable!

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  26. I felt so bad for you. I can remember being the little kid and just freezing. When I was in the 2nd grade, I had not completed an assignment for some reason. I had to sit through recess to get it done. The teacher was going to send a mean letter home to my parents if I didn't complete it before the end of recess.

    I don't know why, but I didn't do it. I just sat at my desk scared because the note was going to go home with me.

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    1. Ha! Love that you described it as "a mean letter". It's so funny what we remember as kids.

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  27. Aww...I remember having experiences like that as a kid and being bewildered about what I'd done wrong and how to "fix" it. But, I know...it does seem unfair that you can still be "seen" when you'd
    tried to take yourself out of the picture!

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    1. Bewildered...that's the perfect word! Except that in this case, I wasn't bewildered. I knew exactly why I was "in trouble". Ha!

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  28. I think this is proof of the inherent unfairness of life.

    'I can't see you, so you can't see me' should WORK, dammit.

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    1. I hear you. It seems like it should be simple physics, right?

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  29. Aww, haha. I love your little clay you.
    I felt the same way about my kindergarten teacher. I loved her!!! I hated my grade 1 teacher though. She made my parents take me to get a hearing test because I didn't listen to her instructions. My hearing was fine...turns out I just didn't want to listen to her.

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    1. Kindergarten teachers are - in my opinion - some of the nicest people in the world. It takes a special person to be a kindergarten teacher. And grade one was a miserable year for me too! Maybe we went to the same school. Ha!

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  30. Stephanie I have never felt so sorry for a little clay figure in my life! LOL I adore the clay figure with her little head hiding in her hands! Love this blog!

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    1. It's ok! I got over it really quickly. Ha!

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  31. That moment of panic when you ask yourself omg what do I do first? Yeah, I still do that when it's time to leave, if I haven't had a good hour to prepare. I guess I'm still four years old sometimes.

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    1. And as you stand there frozen, precious seconds tick away...

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  32. I still sometimes forget people can see me when I can't see them. That's really how the world SHOULD work. And don't feel bad about that "9" thing, I could never remember if it's "of" or "uv"--that one took me way too many years to figure out, when I was already spelling much longer words without hesitation. Beautiful abstract interpretation of eye-pattern-things, by the way ;D

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    1. Seriously. I can't see you, you can't see me. Simple physics, right?

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