The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.


There’s this story of Greek legend about a dude named Narcissus who spent all of his time staring at mirrors to see his reflection. Or something like that. Today I realised that there is a certain level of narcissism inherent in my job. This is especially true on teachers’ birthdays.

I actually had a very good birthday. My students were able to watch some videos about early American settlers in the morning as part of their fun day to celebrate filling the large vase of pebbles. (Sadly, though, some students did not think that this should count; their idea of a fun day is coming to school and doing nothing of value. They have apparently not yet internalised our classroom expectation of having fun with a purpose.) We also spent the bulk of the afternoon playing Around the World with my Fourth Grade edition of BrainQuest. The fun had by all was definitely purposeful.

Some highlights of my day included: the giant tin of cookies in the teachers’ lounge that I left there for all to enjoy; the second grade class that, entirely on their own, decided to make birthday cards for me and deliver them while my class was in P.E.; and having students and teachers wish me a happy birthday as I walked the halls of my building.

Of course, the most narcissist aspect of the day came at the very end. I started with a quick review of the meaning of the parts of a multiplication problem, having the class hark back to the lesson using cheeseballs. We talked about the number of items in a group, the number of groups, and the number of items in all. I asked the students to figure out how many cheeseballs I would have in all if I had 12 cheeseballs in a cup and 23 cups. The answer was 276. I then reversed the problem: If I have 276 cheeseballs and 23 cups, how many cheeseballs will be in a cup? I then passed out the cups (we had some students who were absent today) and the class sang Happy Birthday to me. Definitely narcissistic, although I didn’t ask  for or require it. I also got a few birthday presents: several books, a bag of mixed chocolate candy bars (fun size), some truffles and other exotic candies, and the gift I told I wanted from each student: a commitment to work hard and do their personal best every day for the rest of the year and the rest of their lives. (One student actually made something for me with that written on it; there is a strong likelihood that this will be laminated and permanently saved on my desk.)

Since my birthday happens to coincide with Australia Day, something that makes me very happy, I am going to leave you with this most excellent of videos:



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