My school is filled with many stories.
They are hidden in the new shoes a student proudly wears, a second-hand backpack another student carries, a tooth lost. They are behind the teacher's sigh of frustration as the copy machine jams yet again. The stories are buried in the back of the lockers, between the crumpled papers and forgotten snack bags. They are in the courtyard outside my window, a garden dedicated to a teacher who passed away too soon, a bench in the name of another teacher whose life took mysterious turns before it ended, again way before her time.
The stories are in the excited voices when students share happy news and the stories are there in what they do not say, but what weighs heavy on their hearts. The stories are swept up each day like the pencils scattered on the floor, gathered and discarded. The stories are read aloud in the library and in classrooms, others words from years before, filling the space and inspiring new thoughts, ideas and feelings.
The stories are in the people who have come before and gone. The teachers who retired, or resigned, or had babies and stayed home until those babies were grown. The administrators who captured the heart of a building. The families that became part of the fabric of the school.
The stories are there when the school is freshly painted and waxed, when new bulletin board paper is stapled and fresh clean name tags are affixed to desks. The stories are there on the last day of school when the walls are bare the desks are cleaned out and the last child has gone home. In the silence, there is a story of a year gone by, of learning, of growth, of sadness and joy.
My school is filled with stories.
I, too, am part of the story. I am part of the school story and I am part of my own story. After 18 years of teaching in the same school, I am a story students will tell to their own children someday. There are stories from 6th grade, stories from kindergarten, stories from third grade. Stories from field trips and Q&U Weddings and kindergarten celebrations and state tests administered. Stories from Senior Walks, when my former students walk down the halls of my school in their graduation gowns and I see their faces and remember their story. Remember the boy who took piano lessons and played his heart out at a school talent show at the age of 5, now on the precipice of adulthood, ready to go off to college.
This month, I aim to tell my story. The story of school and teaching and failing and learning and growing and striving. The story of being a mom and a teacher and wanting to make a difference in each area. The story of this season of my life.
Here's to a month of stories. Welcome to the March SOLSC!
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski