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Valentine's Day from a Retired Teacher's Perspective

One of the perks of being a retired teacher, from my own experience, is that I don't have to plan or preside over a Valentine's Day party with kindergarteners or preschoolers. I'm not saying that I didn't like class parties but it's just that this particular one was for me the most challenging. To set the stage that I hope will help you understand my perspective let's start with the day before. I provided my students with a white paper sack (with handle), paper doilies, colored hearts, hearts to color. hearts to cut out, stickers and glitter. They go home sticky, sparkly and very excited about the party the next day.

On Valentine's Day, everyone arrives with their boxes or baggies of little Valentine cards. It will be cold and possibly rainy or snowing so it's an inside-recess-day and the PE teacher/coach is gone for the day with the Junior High girls' and boys' basketball teams, so the class is all mine to keep all day. I try to collect all the students' cards before they start dropping them in the sacks that were made yesterday and since it's their first Valentine's Day school party, they don't realize that it might matter which card goes in which sack.

Then I discover that there are a few students that don't have their cards and are about to start crying, saying that their mom is going to bring them. I console each one, hoping that the student is correct about that. I have had students not have valentines and no one brought them any, so I have boxes stored away just for this circumstance.

After all that excitement, I have to remind them that the party doesn't begin until after last recess. I have fun, learning activities planned but I try to keep our day as normal as possible. It's a lot of work. I know I am successful when last recess comes around, parents start to arrive with refreshments (and Valentine cards), and the students are amazed that it's party time.

For the last three Valentine's Days (including this one), I have sat at my desk at the church, working on church business, maybe answering the phone in a quiet office. Although I don't miss the chaos of the day, I do miss hearing their little voices telling each other "Thank you" for the Valentine card. I really never quite understood why they would get so excited about these cards with cartoon characters and silly sayings. It usually didn't matter if we had party games to play or the yummy refreshments, they were happy to spend the rest of the school day laughing while looking at their cards and at each other's cards.

1 Corinthians 13:1 says, "If I speak in the tongues of humans and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." Through all the noise and chaos of the day, I could hear love in their voices That's the part I miss the most!



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