Good Life

Teacher’s notebook full of stories

I ran into a teacher friend of mine by the name of Annie Bruce when I was visiting Schlow Centre Region Library the other day. Some of you might know Annie as the librarian at Grays Woods Elementary School. Many of us who work for the State College Area School District know her for another reason. She is the unofficial performer at the first in-service day of school in August.

This is the performance we all look forward to. (I would be remiss not to mention the fantastic State High Band, whose members, without fail, wake up early every year to play at our first day.) We never know what costume Annie might wear or how she will make her entrance, but we all know she will be there, dancing to the song “Hey Baby,” which signals the beginning of our meeting.

It’s a nostalgic, wonderful, funny way to begin the year.

We ended our conversation with Annie saying to me that I must feel somewhat like a doctor now. When doctors see patients on the street, they often talk about their aches and pains. When I meet people, they probably tell me funny stories.

She was right. This has been a wonderful perk of being a columnist Now, of course, I feel I must share these treasures with all of you. So, with a tip of the hat to Annie Bruce, and a promise to maintain everyone’s anonymity, here we go: Billy: (poking my stomach) Mrs. B., is that a baby in there, or just fat?

Mrs. B.: Just fat, Billy, just fat.

Anthony: Mrs. Patrick, Did you just get your hair cut?

Mrs. Patrick: Well yes, I did! Thanks for noticing.

Anthony: I like it. You look just like my great-grandma.

Mrs. Patrick: Gee, thanks. I’m glad I spent $50 bucks on it.

In a reading group today, we got on the topic of allergies and one of my girls said, “Yeah, my dad is allergic to my mom’s hair spray. Every time he gets near her, he gets an allergic erection.”

Needless to say I replied, “Do you mean reaction?”

And she said, “Maybe, it was something like that.”

Jackie: “Have you been to England? Because that’s where they speak French!”

This fall, one of my students who was just beginning to sound out words misread “fan” and guessed that it was “fish.” I said, “Are you sure that word is ‘fish?’ And she looked up at me and said in all seriousness, “I’m never sure.”

Jack: After going to the bathroom and returning to the carpet, Jack kept raising his hand. I finally called on him. “I only did two squirts. I thought I had to do more, but I only did two little squirts.”

“Thanks for sharing, Jack. That’s not something we need to know about next time.”Kristi: “We went to my cousin’s over the weekend. He lives in Pinnochio’s.” (Also known as Poconos.) Brady: “I’m going to be in my uncle’s wedding. I’m gonna be the ring barrier.”

David: “Hey, I know all the people that are veterans! There’s the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Submarines!” As I was talking to the children in gym class, one little boy sat right next to me, getting very, very close to me. After my lecture, he looked at me and said, “Mrs. N., you smell so good!”

“Thanks, Nick.”

“Yep, you smell just like my Grammy Mary!”

Collin: “Mrs. P., Every time I see a girl, those lions and tigers inside me start roaring!”

Mrs. H.: “How does it feel when you’re in the air snowboarding?”

Tanner: “It feels livery.”

“What’s livery?”

“You know, when your liver is jiggling inside.”

Jacob: While playing Connect Four, “I was born to play this game!”

Casey: “Mrs. Patrick, Haley said the B word.”

Mrs. P: “Now, Casey, what word was that?”

“You know, the B word! Bagina.”

On a Monday, one of the students was so proud because he had been practicing tying his shoes with his dad all weekend. He rushed in to show me that he could do it himself. On Wednesday, his shoes were untied, and I asked him to tie them so he wouldn’t trip. He told me he couldn’t do anymore, because his head was “too full” and he forgot how.So, I would like to thank all the children who remind me everyday why I love my job, and I would like to thank all my friends and co-workers who not only continue to encourage me to share a peek into our lives, but who keep giving me material. Thanks.

Debbie Patrick is a kindergarten teacher, monthly columnist, blogger and busy mother. She’s disausted. She can be reached at