I sat in the back of the classroom, opened the lid of my desk, and looked inside. Not for anything in particular. I just liked opening it. It was a place to hide from the world.
Miss E raised her voice over the noise around me signaling time for read aloud. I put my head down and put my sweater over my head. The coolness of the desk radiated through my cheeks and forearms.
My mind skipped back to double dutch outside the fourth grade classroom. The click, click, click of the rope as it banged on the asphalt. I watched Diane move her hands in time with the rope. As if she was feeling her way into the space that would hold her as she jumped. And then she was in. Jump, jump, jumping to the count of ten. Then out.
I was next.
Moving my hands, watching the rope, I looked for that space. Reaching forward with the rope and back toward me. Again and again until my legs moved with my hands toward the click, click, click and I jumped, jumped, jumped. To the count of ten. Then out. Smooth. Running around to the back of the line. Click, click, click it went.
Recess receded from my thoughts as the words of the story floated in of Rudolf and his red nose. I prop my head up to see the pictures and the story takes over into the world of reindeer and the one outsider who became a hero.
Drifting along I hear, his nose so bright,
and I notice my hand moving around and around with a red crayon.
Slowly, I realize the round and round is on the tip of my nose.
My hands cover what I’m sure is a very red circle in the middle of my face.
I look around the classroom, panicked.
Did anyone see?
No one said a thing.
No one was looking at me.
I was alone in my shame.
This is a draft of the memoir I planned alongside with my students today. They love the fact that I did such a silly thing when I was older than they are now.
Looking back on this moment, so much has changed in teaching, but so little has changed in me. I still have a tendency to get lost in books. In fact it is a preferred state. I just keep crayons out of my hands while reading.