Saturday, September 29, 2012

Butcher Paper, let's be friends ...

First grade, I think ...
I'm pretty sure I butchered my first real experience with a large roll of a blue butcher paper and the classroom door on which it was intended. {I couldn't resist "butchered" there ...}

My mom is a retired teacher who taught fifth-graders my entire childhood. My dad is a retired principal, who was actually my elementary school principal. Yep, I was Mr. Hill's daughter. Nanny worked a board of education and one of my aunts is a retired teacher who happened to teach my English class both my junior and senior years of high school. {And, no, I didn't always get an A. That AP English class wasn't the easiest thing I ever did, even being related to the teacher!} My best friend here taught third grade before she stayed home with her babies and is now easing back into the system.

"Teacher" used to be my answer when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Then I realized I don't like to be in charge or rooms full of kids and I don't like speaking in front of groups of people of any age. So, yeah, I changed my answer from "teacher" to "journalist."

I was hired as an education reporter as my second job after graduating with that print journalism degree that kept me from ever stepping foot in the education building. I covered two public K-12 districts, one public university, and one private college all in the one eastern Kentucky county in which I worked. That's lots of school board meetings, university administration interviews, and school activity photographs.

Then I moved and got a new job at another local newspaper. I covered another public university regularly and for a dramatic season one public school district that was having a per-pupil funding conflict with another public school district.

I understand education lingo. I'm a product of public education from half-day kindergarten where I learned to tie my shoes all the way through earning my bachelor's degree in something other than teaching. And now my daughter goes to a small, private school that impressed us with its philosophy and mission.

I've been volunteering at Cate's school once a week. I've helped with Grandparents' Day breakfast and an apple pot luck. I've made copies and cut out cardstock stencils for preschools to use to make crafts. I've sorted school T-shirts and glued maps to index cards so third- and fourth-graders could make books about states.

And yesterday I decorated a door.

Seriously, nobody told me how hard it would be to hang that butcher paper on the door. I've seen so many cutely decorated classroom doors in my years of walking school hallways. And who knew getting the foundation paper smooth and straight was such a project!

The "straight" cut across the bottom wasn't nearly as smooth and ... well ... straight as I had hoped. And don't even get me started about cutting around the handle. I did better around the door stop at the bottom.

That blue paper got on the door, but I wondered if the teacher was regretting asking me to hang paper on her door. I didn't let that stop me from asking her if she wanted me to help her decorate her door. I know, really. One would have thought I should have just stopped while I was ahead. But, come on, I'm a scrapbooker at heart. Surely I can finish decorating the door, despite the challenge of the butcher paper covering, which I ... well ... I can't help it ... butchered.

The teacher told me she wanted to make a tree, using a strip of brown butcher paper and some pre-cut leaves she had. Sounded simple enough. And, truly, the tree was much easier than the blue paper. I thought later, though, that I should have have added the shadow of an owl hole in the trunk. Perhaps the teacher will perfect what I started on her classroom door.

I'll walk by and see when I'm there next week. Until then, I'll be glad I'm a parent volunteer who knows how to work the copy machine, can cut and paste, and doesn't have to speak in front of a group of people of any age. God bless you, teachers ... and your classroom doors.

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