Usually Steph, Casey, Laura and I trudge down the stairs each morning to a chanted greeting courtesy of Ash and (her far less enthusiastic counterpart) Ashlee.
"Minnndeee. Steph-an-neee. Cay-seeeeee."
This morning Ash was standing at the foot of the stairs, all alone, hands hidden behind her back.
"I have a present for you, Mindy Teacher, " she cooed, then presented me with a small canary yellow envelope, complete with Aristocats stickers. "I made an eraser for you. Remember our game yesterday?!"
*Let me back up a bit. Yesterday I was wandering through class while my students dutifully attempted to complete FOUR pages of double-digit addition and subtraction problems. Some of them are very slow, and some of them are quite fast. But none are as fast as Ms. Kwan. I stood behind her in awe as she robotically and methodically wrote each answer, never bothering to "carry" or "borrow" or show her work AT ALL. It was amazing.
Naturally, I had to show the child who was boss, so I did what any self-respecting teacher would have done: I challenged her to an old-fashioned Math Duel! 36 addition and subtraction problems, winner takes ALL. (Including their opponent's dignity and self-respect, apparently.)
I photocopied a review page from her math book. We each sat at our respective desks, and when Cailyn yelled "GO!" we flipped those suckers over and counted for our lives. The students watched over my shoulder, marveling at how efficiently I completed first grade equations. They taunted Ash. I finished first and cheered Ash on, because not only am I a teacher, I'm a good sport too. She finished about 30 seconds behind me. If only I'd taken those precious 30 seconds to check my work, perhaps I would have seen my errors. But alas, my confidence got the better of me.
Ash missed only one problem. I missed three. Because I didn't pay attention. Because I did what I accuse my students of doing. Because I worked too fast and valued speed over accuracy. Because I added when I should have subtracted. DAMMIT!
Blue Class cheered. Mindy Teacher hung her head in shame.
Back to this morning. Inside the envelope was a homemade eraser and a handwritten note:
Thank you for teaching us in Blue Class! Do you remember yesterday we had a math game? Good game! I am the winner winner, chicken dinner. Where did you learn all the silly words? Like winner winner, chicken dinner and lier lier, pants on fire? I think you learned it from your mom. Or your dad. I like you very very much! What are you going to be on Halloween? I want you to lead us to the scary haunted house. I made this earaser. Do you like it?
To: MindyFrom: Ash
Methinks she made the eraser as some sort of subliminal message.
"Winner winner, chicken dinner"? "Good game"? Ugh, I am such the smitten kitten for this kid!