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Kisses of Sunshine for Teachers Copyright 2005 by Speak Up, Inc., and Vicki Caruana Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kisses of sunshine for teachers / Carol Kent, general editor; Vicki Caruana,
1. TeachersReligious lifeAnecdotes. I. Kent, Carol, 1947
II. Caruana, Vicki.
This edition printed on acid-free paper.
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the cowboy, the princess, and superman Carol Kent Teachers are not born; they are made. . . .
A good teacher is first of all teachable.
Henrietta Mears Afew months after our marriage, my husband and I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Gene enrolled in graduate classes. Our move was in January and there didn't appear to be any teaching positions available in my subject areas. However, there was a kindergarten class that had an openingand the school system was so desperate for a teacher, they asked me to join the faculty even though my credentials were in secondary education.
My first day was a blur of activityparents taking pictures,
children crying, keeping order, setting up routines, enforcing nap time, and trying to teach something of value that would validate my worth as a paid teacher. That day I also discovered why some educators choose to teach kindergarten. I had a room filled with dynamic, charming personalities who suddenly found me in the center of their world.
Jeremy was dressed in jeans, a plaid shirt, red scarf, cowboy boots, and a mini-Stetson. He ambled up to me and said, 'Hi,
pardner! I'm here to protect you and to defend our class against any enemies. Let me know if I can be of service.' (I liked this charming young man from the Wild West!)
Susan was dressed in a white eyelet dress that looked more appropriate for church than for school. On her head she proudly wore a plastic crown. As I passed by her desk, she gazed up and said, 'My daddy says I'm a princess. Do you think I'm a princess, too?' With a smile, I nodded in agreement.
As I rounded the corner of the next row, there was Peter.
He was wearing blue jeans, but instead of a shirt, he wore the pajama top from a Superman outfit, complete with a red cape that dangled precariously from Velcro on the tops of his shoulders.
His eyes twinkled as he said, 'If you need me, I'm here!'
I chuckled out loud and verbalized my appreciation for his offer.
A couple of weeks into my adventure with the kindergartners,
I came into the classroom with a heavy heart. That morning I had had 'words' with my husband and felt unjustly criticized. We'd had the classic newlywed fight over how I squeezed the toothpaste tube. Even though it was a small issue,
my feelings were hurt.
Princess Susan walked up to my desk. She was in casual clothes that day, but her prized crown was still on top of her golden locks. Gazing up at me seriously, she asked, 'Are you sad today, Teacher?'
'A little,' I responded honestly.
'Well,' she said, putting her hands on her hips, 'you'll just have to get over that because I think you are the best teacher in the world and I love you very much!' With that, she threw her arms around me and placed a kiss on my cheek.
Later in the day I watched two of my students settle a disagreement amicably and turn back into 'best buddies' during recess. They didn't hold grudges and they joyfully picked up where they left off in their relationship. I felt a little silly for continuing to hold a grudge against my husband over a tube of toothpaste. It was time to let go of my petty resentment.
I gazed at the classCowboy Jeremy, Superman Peter, and the rest of my remarkable five-year-old charges. They were teaching me everything I needed to know about facing daily challenges and being a successful teacher: forgive quickly, love unconditionally, visualize your future (whether it's to be a cowboy,
a princess, or Superman), live each day with gusto, and take frequent naps. It's a winning combinationand I'm still benefiting from their positive examples today.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning.
kisses of sunshine for teachers