Sunday Shopping

I promise I will finish the Seattle scrapbook soon.  WordPress changed the layout for the pages that I see when I log in, so even though my blog looks exactly the same, I am learning all over again where to find what I need to publish it!  So I thought I’d better try a simple, text-only post for now.

I’m still a book addict.  🙂  I went to Borders today, because they have a deal where teachers can get 25% off merchandise for classroom OR PERSONAL use!  So I looked around and found three books.  One is True Valor by Dee Henderson, which is the only book from that series I don’t have.  The second was The Big Book of Wedding Music, because I’ve been looking for some more sheet music to fulfill my piano cravings.  I probably spent 15 or 20 minutes sitting in front of that shelf, looking through all the big compilation books of piano music.  The Big Book of Wedding Music ended up in my pile of possible choices because it has a good combination of various styles of songs, and a combination of songs I know and like, as well as songs I don’t know in case I’m ever feeling adventurous to learn something new.  But as I was looking through it, I found two songs, “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris, and “Someone Like You” from Jekyl and Hyde, and I knew it was my choice!  I first heard each of those songs at the weddings of friends.  “How Beautiful” was performed at Tara and Chad’s wedding, by a friend (or relative?) of Tara’s who is an amazing vocalist, and I just fell in love with it.  It perfectly expresses how beautiful is the love between a man and a woman, between Jesus and each of us, between anyone who serves another on this earth…basically any love you can find in the world is in that song.  “Someone Like You” was performed at Julie and Levi’s wedding, also by an amazing vocalist, and it is the perfect romatic song for Julie and Levi’s story.  Then I saw the musical a few years later and put that song in the context of the story, and now the song is not only romantic, but touching and tragic as well.  Sigh.  I had to have that book!  I’m a little embarassed that there is now a big pink book with a picture of a bride’s hand putting a wedding ring on a groom’s hand on display on my piano.  But I didn’t buy it because I’m anticipating my own wedding song choices!  For one thing, I would obviously never pick either of those two songs for my wedding, because in my mind those songs belong to the weddings of Tara and Chad, and Julie and Levi, and it would never feel right to have them at my wedding.  Furthermore, I’m not planning my wedding until there is a groom.  I might notice things that I like about others’ weddings, I might notice songs that I think are incredibly romantic, I might even have conversations and thoughts about different ideas for “if I get married someday,” but until I know who the guy is, how could I possibly know what plans and details will be right?  I don’t know “our” story yet, I don’t even know who the other person is who will make up that “our.”  This book on my piano is purely about the music, and nothing else.

The third book I bought is What Your Preschooler Needs To Know, by E.D. Hirsch.  I took a class in college that was basically an independent study course about all the Core Knowledge Series books, (What Your First Grader Needs To Know, etc.), but at that time, it hadn’t been developed for preschool.  Now that I teach preschool, I’ve always wondered what E.D. Hirsch would say about what content should be taught in preschool.  The thing about need-based preschool is that it’s a balancing act between teaching content and meeting needs that aren’t met at home, teaching social skills and “school skills” that aren’t taught at home.  I suppose that’s true for all grades, actually.  There is one thought that a child can’t learn unless his basic needs are met.  There is another thought that goes through my head regularly, that disadvantaged or not, these kids eat up content like crazy!  No, they may not be able to sit still or follow a daily routine or raise their hands when they need something.  But, putting some content in the classroom that they can get excited about fixes all that, a lot of the time.  Just last week, I accidentally taught U.S. History because someone brought a penny for show-and-tell.  Now we’re talking about President Lincoln, reading books about him, drawing pictures of him.  And not just “that guy on the penny.”  They know that he was the president a long time ago, that there was a war, and he was very sad when people died in the war, that he grew up when they used horses instead of tractors in the fields, that he didn’t get to go to school very much but he loved to read, that his wife’s name was Mary, that he had three sons, that he wanted America to be a good place for everyone to live, and that he died because there were mean people who didn’t think everyone who wanted to should live here, like President Lincoln did, and they wanted to hurt him.  Oh yes, and that now there is a building with a statue of him, and that he lived in the White House when he was the president.  None of this was on purpose, on my part.  The single thing I did was take one of the kids down to the PWIM library to find books with his picture in them.  Beyond that, the kids asked questions.  For days.  They ate up the information in the books we found.  They went home and told their parents.  They drew and drew and drew, asked me to write “President Lincoln” on many pictures of him, his “building,” his statue, his sons, his wife…  Not only can preschoolers learn content, they are good at it!  For the record, this doesn’t surprise me at all, it’s just something I lose sight of once in awhile, working with people who are so focused on social skills, school skills, etc.  Not that I don’t think those skills are important, because of course they are extremely important.  I just happen to think that you can teach them in the context of information and exploration and curiosity.

I have a notion to take What Your Preschooler Needs To Know to work, put it in the Book Center, and just see what they get interested in!

The other thing I did while I was out and about was get a few groceries.  I have thought this many times…Would it be rude if I say I want to bag my own groceries?  🙂  I always have more bags than I would have needed if I would have done it myself.  And if I go to Hy-Vee, they don’t do a bad job.  They are trained well, I remember!  They just don’t do it quite like I would.  I came home today and had a bunch of swiss chard, which is this leafy-lettuce-type stuff, with a bunch of bananas sitting on top of it.  Now the bananas really won’t hurt the swiss chard, so it’s not a big deal.  But the bananas are definitely heavier and more solid than the swiss chard, so doesn’t it make sense to put the swiss chard on top of the bananas?  I also had one paper bag with a half-gallon glass jar of milk in it.  And that is all.  I was able to stick the milk in the side of another bag, next to canned goods, frozen veggies, and toothpaste.  So instead of three paper bags, I came home with only two.

But is that rude?  Do they feel like I’m saying they don’t know how to bag?  I remember being trained to bag at Hy-Vee, it’s not fun at all.  Would I have felt offended if a customer re-packed what I had bagged?  Would I have felt offended if a customer had bagged her own groceries?  I can’t remember.  Probably not, because I was good at customer service, and the challenge of good customer service is to be friendly and cheerful no matter what the customer throws at you.  (Figuratively.  If they literally throw something at you, I think it’s well within your rights to call your manager!)  Besides which, a customer who was cheerful and friendly about what they wanted you to do differently was a joy.  It was my job to serve the customer, and them letting me know what they wanted, in a cheerful way, was exactly what I needed to do my job well.

Having that experience in my past, I really notice good customer service when I see it.  When another customer is really difficult, I’m watching the way the store employee is responding, and sometimes I just want to go take over and say, don’t worry about it, it feels awful to be treated this way when you can’t help but take it personally, but you can handle it!  I have much more sympathy for the store employee than the customer, usually.  And then there are other times when I am much more critical towards the store employee than other people, also.  Others might say, that customer should not have done that.  But I say, no, they shouldn’t have, but the store employee could have easily handled it if they had done such-and-such.  Or if an employee handles it really well, other people might say that the customer got what he wanted and will come take advantage again.  But good customer service means making that interaction a positive one if at all possible, so that the customer will come back and shop in your store again.  Even if you lose a little here, you will gain the customer’s business in the future.  And I should wear a sign that says “Don’t be afraid of me!” every time I approach a customer service counter.  Because even if the store was in the wrong, I will never be rude or irritated about it towards a customer service employee.  I know that they will do their best for me, the customer, whether I am rude or not, and if I am not, it just makes their day a little better.  They get enough of rude!

Okay, that’s probably enough random rambling for one day!  Wherever you are, I truly hope you are enjoying spring today, because I sure am!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Doris
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 09:42:50

    You could design a whole curriculum around Lincoln, the Civil War, and the Penny: math, history,reading,music, art, and so much more. Just think what one penny can do!


  2. Mom
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 09:07:24

    You did design a curriculum, just for your students!


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