School Log: Tuesday, Week 12

A few more days of thankfulness…

November 3 – The sense of scent.  When I was five years old, I started kindergarten.  And between the glue, the construction paper, the creativity, or maybe mold in the carpet, the hallway gave off a scent that, to this day, reminds me of childhood learning.  I’ve never been in a school that smells exactly like that, but I few years ago, I had the opportunity to substitute in my elementary school.  And one step into the kindergarten hallway, I caught a whiff of that magical scent.  And memories of The Letter People and nap time, both archaic practices now, came tumbling back to me.  This Saturday, I spent part of the day at the Yankee Candle outlet in Williamsburg with my friend, Karen.  And it was amazing how the rosewood scents remind me of Nazareth, smoky at sunset, while cinnamon makes me think of holidays at home.  When I lived in Puerto Rico, I always used a particular Glade Plug-in scent.  Now that scent brings back memories of sunny days and palm trees.  It’s amazing how we have the ability to transport ourselves to a distant memory with only a sniff.

November 4 – Weekends.  What is more glorious than Sunday?  Church.  Sleep.  Family.  Friends.  Football.  I only regret the weekend ends after tonight.  I wish today could last forever.

November 5 – Teacher Workdays. You wake up and head to work.  Lesson plans completed, little minds to be filled.  After work, there are papers to be graded, lesson plans to be adjusted, conferences and IEP meetings to attend, 504s to write, the list is endless.  But…some days you wake up and head to work.  There are no lesson plans, no little minds.  You can do everything at your own pace.  You eat a lunch that is more than 15 minutes long.  You can talk to other adults during the day and use the bathroom whenever you want.  You accomplish so much on these days.  Oh, teacher workdays, how I love thee!

November 6 – The Republic.  It’s election day today.  Every year, I think of pictures from the 1994 election in South Africa…the first democratic election there after the end of apartheid.  I was only in third grade at the time, but remember being so impressed with the men and women who waited for hours to vote for the first time in their lives.  Many men and women in America take that right for granted.  Usually, when I go to vote (it is an annual thing, folks!), the lines are short.  Even during the 2008 election, I only had to wait a few minutes before being directed  to a machine.  Today, however, I waited nearly an hour.  And this morning, it took voters almost three hours at my district to vote.  I don’t know where these men and women came from, but I was ridiculously thrilled at having to stand in line.

To quote a certain keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention:

Well, I say to them tonight,
there’s not a liberal America
and a conservative America;
there’s the United States of America.
 
There’s not a black America
and white America
and Latino America
and Asian America;
there’s the United States of America.
 
The pundits like to slice and dice our country
into red states and blue States:
red states for Republicans,
blue States for Democrats.
 
But I’ve got news for them, too.
We worship an awesome God in the blue states,
and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
 
We coach little league in the blue states and, yes,
we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.
 
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq,
and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
 
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes,
all of us defending the United States of America.
 
In the end, that’s what this election is about.
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