Tag Archives: school chaplain

Another tale of two classes

On Wednesdays I read to two classes right after lunch at Columbia. The first class was antsy as they lined up to go back to class. One little girl was a puddle of tears so I had her stand by me until the teacher arrived to escort the kids to their room. Although this class is usually rambunctious, the teacher gets them calmed down once back in the room and gets them ready for Mrs. Zody’s story. Today, they were having none of it.

One boy complained, over and over, that he had forgotten his sack lunch in the room, the teacher wasn’t there when he tried to get it, and he had to eat the school lunch which he didn’t like. He wanted his lunch from home. NOOOOOWWWW.

Another boy had not used lunch recess to use the restroom and so made a big issue about having to use the restroom NOOOOOWWWWW.

One of the more troublesome girls said she didn’t want to hear a story. That got a few others saying the same thing. When they wouldn’t be quiet, I told them I didn’t have to read a story and would leave. Which I did. I follow through on what I say I will do.

Since I am usually arriving at the second classroom around 12:30, the teacher was a bit surprised to see me at 12:15, but she welcomed me in, finished up her lesson, got the students seated on the floor, and they loved the story, Tacky the Penguin. There are lots of silly parts, which they laughingly joined in on. They were so well behaved that they got two stars on their star chart and are almost ready for another prize, their fourth one this school year. A couple of other classes have only gotten one prize thus far.

Although I did little to exert myself, I am home, sitting on the couch, weary of such turmoil in the school. As I departed through the front office, one of the first graders in a class I will see tomorrow, was sitting there, in timeout. Two pre kindergartners were brought in for fighting. PRE kindergarten, mind you! I can only surmise that the home life of these little ones is chaotic and disruptive, thus causing them to bring the same chaos and disruption to school.

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First graders and hospital patients

After school on Thursday, when I usually just want to go home and collapse after two days of wrangling first graders, I drove to the downtown hospital, only five minutes from Columbia, left my car at the top of the parking garage and walked down four flights of stairs to see my friend Ramona. You remember Ramona, the one with the traumatic brain crisis. Ramona who is on the ninth floor, in the neuroscience wing.

One of her twin daughters was there with her today. They had just returned from radiation. I’m guessing that Ramona has/had a brain tumor that exploded. She still cannot form words but she can make more sounds so I think the prognosis is good that she will regain some speech. Maybe all. She is well enough to be moved to a continuing care facility on Friday.

I showed Ramona the pig puppet I used with today’s book, “Little Pink Pup,” a true story about a dachshund that adopted a newborn pig when its siblings pushed it away. She took the book in her one good hand and read through the story. I had pig stickers that I shared with her and her daughter. She seemed pleased. Next week’s story has a penguin in it and I told her I’d bring the book to share with her at her new place. There are penguin stickers, too.

Seize this day

After a couple of quiet days getting chores done, I’m ready to start again. I have my “bag of tricks” packed with stickers and erasers and a pig puppet. My uniform hangs in the guest room, read for me to put on, and then show up to whatever the day may bring.

Although the sun came up for a moment this morning, it has been blurred out by the fog that rolled in shortly after daybreak. So begins our winter season. I’ll wear a sweater today.

The puppet master scored this week

It’s Friday, which is my Saturday. By this day of the week, I’m feeling ready for a break, and I’m glad there are only a few items on my to-do list today. We slept in until 7 o’clock because it is still dark at that time of the morning (so thankful for the return to standard time this weekend), and it has turned winter-like here. Overcast skies and chilly temperatures. There is a chance of rain for the weekend.

This week’s story for the first graders had a badger as the main character. I’ve looked all over for a badger puppet or stuffed animal. A Facebook friend pointed out one on Amazon but I am not, nor do I plan to become, an Amazon shopper. Ordering things online does not appeal to me. I want to see and feel and go shopping for the things I want. I also want my local stores to stay in business and keep employing community members.

A reading tutor at the school, upon seeing me, wanted to know what book I was reading and so I regaled her with my badger-seeking story. She suggested a local children’s bookstore as the store is “filled with puppets.” Her words. I’ve never been to this store even though it’s in my neighborhood, in a charming shopping center, and sells books, a favorite purchase of mine. Although I try not to stop after school, wearing my uniform, I decided to give this place a try since I knew the owner supplied many of the chaplaincy books for the classrooms we visit and it was literally on the way home.

Sure enough, I was recognized by the uniform the minute I walked through the door. The owner of the store and her assistant were delighted to help me, but no badger anywhere. They weren’t even too sure what a badger looked like. I mentioned some other animals I’m on the lookout for–a chicken, a mouse, and peacock. “Oh, do we have a peacock, a most wonderful peacock.” There was no mouse, though. I was thrilled to finally find a chicken as I’ve been on the lookout for a long time. So many of my stories have a chicken in them!

“Three Hens and Peacock” will be read right before Thanksgiving break. I am so excited to use these critters in my storytelling. I always let the secretary, chosen by the teacher each week, hold any props I might have. I may just need TWO secretaries for this story!

Get motivated

This was one of those mornings when I wasn’t ready to jump out of bed. I seem to be having more of those lately. There was work to be done, though, so I shook off the drowsies and got busy. 

Cats fed (the important stuff first), hair washed, and yards watered. I got my cup of coffee and sat on the porch, watching the sprinkler and reading email and Facebook on my phone. Snapped this picture:


And decided I would like to sit on the porch all day. 

Ran errands. Addressed birthday cards. Made lunch. Reviewed all the projects for tomorrow night’s transformative climate communities meeting where we actually start deciding which projects will get funding. There are 38 projects and most are very good. Just wish there was money for all of them. 

I’m telling a wonderful story to first graders this week, “Let’s go, Hugo,” set in Paris and the Eiffel Tower. 

I made an Eiffel Tower for each classroom to keep with the hope that it will encourage the children to want to know more about Paris. 

This is what normal looks like here

The heat has finally left us after 53 days over 100 degrees, 15 of which were 105 degrees or higher. I am finally able to work in the backyard, even in the afternoon as it’s only 81 degrees today. Lovely.  The local wildfires have all been contained, and with a big thunderstorm that blew through last week, the air has been cleaned, too. We are feeling more “normal.”

It was a super busy week. We spent the first part in San Mateo with our kids. It gave us the chance to take the grandkids to school and meet their teachers and see their classrooms. We took them to dinner for some of their favorite food-pizza–with enough left over for school lunch the next day. Because we did not participate in Vacation Bible School at the church where our daughter serves (she was on sabbatical), we hadn’t seen some of the members in a long time. We were able to catch up at two different events that we attended. These are people we’ve known for almost 15 years so it’s always a joy to see them.

I returned to Fresno to continue with my school chaplain duties, and Terry went to help out at the agency where he volunteers his skills that helps others find jobs. I also attended a city sponsored neighborhood revitalization meeting that was held at Columbia, the school where I serve as school chaplain. The idea for these meetings is to get the residents involved with the care and welfare of their neighborhoods, to give them a voice. Many of the parents were frightened to speak out because of immigration issues. We did our best to convince them that they would not be deported because they report code violations. We also talked about reporting crimes, another area where they fear retaliation.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I will chair the deacon’s meeting at church. A topic of discussion will be to simplify our memorial/funeral service policy from a multipage booklet to a one page paper. Terry will sing in the choir and stay after for rehearsal. After a summer without a music director, a replacement is in place to put the singers through their paces.

Next week looks to be much busier than last. More community meetings and a lunch date with an old friend. But, we will be in town the whole week, and it will continue to be in the 80s, weather-wise. Back to normal.

This is so cool

Today, at lunch in the cafeteria, I saw Aiden, whom I was pretty sure had drawn this picture:


There were two Aidens last year so I wanted to check and see if I had the right one.  I showed him the picture, on my phone, and he immediately said,

“I drew that for you.”

“I know you did, Aiden, and I liked it so much that I used it for my Facebook profile.”

I then showed him my Facebook page and how I had used his drawing of me, red hair, bag of tricks, and a book.

“That is so cool,” was his response. He beamed.