Pretty Purple Present

Originally posted on Miss P’s Ponderings on May 17, 2012

   Today, I was thinking about writing on the topic of words, since my feet received a compliment today. (Would I make that up?)

   Then, I thought about writing something on the voices in my head…as in the character voices I use for puppets, read alouds, and occasionally during instruction. 

   But alas, at 11:40, as my students were heading to recess with Mrs. Lichlyter, it became obvious what I should write about.

My Pretty Purple Present

   As I sat at my computer scoring Accelerated Math assignments, two of my boys entered the classroom.  They brought with them a huge piece of purple paper.  Then, with great enthusiasm, they opened the present to show me the paper quilt which they  had created in art class.  The three of us quickly proceeded to the hallway where it was hung with care (and a lot of staples!) for the others in our building to enjoy.

   Obviously, this isn’t the first time I’ve received artwork from a student.  Throughout the 16 years I’ve taught third grade, I’ve received countless offerings of artwork.  If you combine that with my Little Sister’s contribution and my church kids’ presents, I could honestly open a Miss Pflaumer Art Museum.  However, if I can be frank, I think this piece of art work surpasses them all.  Why?  I’m glad you asked.

   First, it’s on a big sheet of purple paper.  I asked the boys, “Did Mrs. Lichlyter pick the paper?”  To which they adamantly exclaimed, “No, we told her it had to be purple.”  They know me well. We’ve spent almost 180 days together over the past year…good days, bad days, and all the days in between.

   Then, I looked at the individual pictures.  Lots of squares have a bit or a lot of purple added.  There are purple flowers, which can never make me sneeze.  There’s a cat which will never bite me or scratch me…or creak a door in the middle of the night to awaken me.  There is a classroom where a teacher is telling someone where to turn in his homework, which even after 171 days, I still did…several times today.  There’s a baseball game.  There’s a fat-free monster muffin. 

   As I look at each square, I think of the student who made it.  Yes, it looks like some students took more time and care to create their contribution, but the fact that it’s from all of them makes me smile.  This quilt…there’s just something about it.  If it was a real quilt, I’d take it home and hang it on my quilt rack or lay it on top of my guest bed, but I’m thinking it would simply turn into a huge cat toy if it went home with me.

   I know the reason it means so much to me is because of the students who made it.  Do I have all perfectly behaved children in my room?  Nope.  That won’t happen this side of heaven.  Yet, I will honestly miss these kiddos.  With only 9 days left with this crop of kids, I get a bit misty-eyed thinking about it.  I think back to last year and realize I felt the same way with last year’s crop.  My prayer is that I feel that way about every “crop” until I hang up my “farming tools” and pass my “teaching tractor” to someone younger. 

   For now, I will appreciate each plant in my garden.  Whether it’s the “grapevine” who doesn’t grow in an orderly fashion….the “corn” which didn’t grow as much as I thought it would…or the “watermelon” which far surpassed my expectations.  I love this crop of kiddos, and I will look at my purple present…my paper quilt of affection…and thank God for the 29 students who’ve been a part of room 302. (Note, I never had 29 at one time, but a total of 29 during the course of the year.)  I will do the same with the other 23 students who have joined me in room 302 for language instruction at some point during this academic ride as well.

   My final thought…are a couple verses  He etched on my heart back when He called me to work with children…

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