Education and teaching have always been near and dear to my heart. My mother was an elementary reading teacher and her love of teaching and reading greatly influenced me. I began teaching in 1990 at the same high school I graduated from in 1974. I have been a member of several different parent/teacher organizations and I am now a school board member in one county and a teacher in another. Last year I was asked to contribute some stories to a book called "Humor for a Teacher's Heart". Many of them were accepted and the book was published this year by Howard Publishing.
The following is just one of many true stories that happened during Teresa's years in the classroom.
School Crazy
By Teresa Bell Kindred

I don't know why I'm not totally crazy yet.  I should be.  Maybe I am crazy and nobody I know is sane enough to tell me I'm crazy.   The other day at work I heard a gentleman co-worker remark about how frustrated he was.  It seems he had gotten behind a tractor and he'd had to drive ten miles an hour all the way to work.  I bit my bottom lip and counted to ten, then twenty, when I couldn't contain it any longer I burst out,  "You think that's frustrating!  Try getting five kids up, dressed, fed and out the door by 7:30 .  I've done two loads of laundry, loaded the dishwasher, fixed five sack lunches and carpooled before you probably even brushed your teeth!"

One day my frustration level was particularly high.  We had been snowed in for three days and I was having mall withdrawal.   As I stormed through the house picking up toys I came across my daughters rhinestone crown.  She and a friend had been co-crowned "Little Princess" at their grade school fall festival. (They only had to raise three thousand dollars to win).  I put the crown on my head so I could carry more toys, and forgot about it.  Later that day I looked out and realized the sun had melted enough of the snow for me to get out.  I grabbed the car keys and ran.  I had been in the department store for thirty minutes before someone ask me why I had a crown on my head.  

Mornings are definitely the worst.  I've tried everything I know to make things run smoother so everyone will arrive on time at their designated areas.  Nothing works.  I tried fixing their lunches the night before.  They changed their mind about what kind of sandwich they wanted.

"Mom I don't want turkey.  I want peanut butter and jelly,"  son number one complains.

"No problem,"  I reply and get the bread out.

"I don't want wheat bread.  I want white,"  he mutters.

"No problem,"  I say as I get the white bread.

"Mom that's crunchy peanut butter.  It sticks in my braces.  I need the creamy," he instructs.

I take a deep breath.  "No problem."

"That's too much jelly,"  he whines.

Now we have a problem. 

"Listen mister,"  I say as I breath fire into his face and wave my jelly knife in the air.  "You can fix your own sandwich next time."   I still didn't feel as if I had revenge for the torture he  had put me through.  So I cast the curse of the evil mother upon him. "And further more when you grow up I hope you have a child just like you!"

I tried telling them to lay their clothes out on their beds so they can hop into them in the morning.  They don't want to wear  what they picked out at night.  It looks different in the light of day.  Plus they expect me to be Wanda the Weather Woman. 

"How cold is it outside Mom?"

"About forty degrees,"  I answer.

"Is it going to get colder or hotter today?"  my daughter mumbles from beneath a stack of covers where she has snuggled in for her winter hibernation. How am I supposed to know?  I fall asleep before the weather is on at night and I don't have time to watch it in the mornings. 

I thought maybe getting up earlier would help us get to school on time.  I got up an hour earlier but no one else did.  It was kind of nice.  The house was quiet.  I could read the paper  and eat my cereal without interruptions.  There was only one slight problem. I kept falling asleep and landing face down in my supper at night.  The night I passed out in my spaghetti convinced me I needed more sleep.

I don't think there is a solution to getting somewhere on time when you have a house full of kids.  In another twenty years  or so they'll all be grown and gone and then maybe I'll be on time for work.  I just hope my boss can wait that long.

Contact Teresa to have her speak to teachers, parent/teacher
organizations and administrators at your school.


By Teresa Bell Kindred

What is teaching like today? Who should do it? And who shouldn't? This Education World series features essays on teaching by teachers as they answer the question, "If you had it to do all over again, would you still become a teacher?"

Many years ago one of my high school students asked me the question, "Mrs. Kindred, why do you teach?" Without taking time to reflect, I answered, "Because someday I might say something that might make a difference in someone's life." Even though I was sincere, that wasn't a very good answer and my student didn't let it slide.

"Let me get this straight," he said, "You went to college for four years so you could come here every day because you have the hope that someday you might say something that will influence someone?" He shook his head as if I were crazy and walked away looking confused.

Actually, it was more than four years of college because Kentucky teachers are required to get their masters degree, but I didn't tell him that. I never have done well with spur of the moment retorts. I'm one of those people who look back and wish they had said something smart or witty, but in real life, I'm just not a quick thinker.

Even though that particular student might no longer wonder why I teach, there are days when I wonder. On those days, I remind myself of the real reasons I teach:

  • It's in my blood. My mother was my most influential teacher, and she was a 6th grade reading teacher until her death in 1990. She instilled in me a love of reading and the knowledge that education opens doors.
  • Teaching is a way to make a difference. If you throw a stone in a pond the ripples go on and on until they reach the shore. You can't have ripples without a "stone." Good teachers throw stones that make a positive difference, and that's what I strive to do.
  • I genuinely love teenagers. My friends who are elementary level teachers don't understand how I deal with the backtalk and the other problems that come with the onset of hormones. It takes patience, but all teaching requires patience.
  • I want to share with others what I know and what I have learned through the years. Life is full of ups and downs, and if I can help students avoid some potholes on the road of life, I want to do so. If they'll allow me to celebrate their victories with them, I want to do that too.

Teaching isn't for everyone, but I know I made the right career choice. You either love it or you don't -- and I do.

Some of Teresa's favorite quotes about teaching and education:
America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.
Evan Esar (1899 - 1995)
Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular
 education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be
 permanently maintained.
          James A. Garfield (1831 - 1881), July 12, 1880
The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good
Plutarch (46 AD - 120 AD), Morals


The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.
Diogenes Laertius
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are
 the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most
 patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot (1834 - 1926), The Happy Life, 1896
Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.
Chinese Proverb
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his 
 influence stops.
Henry Adams (1838 - 1918), The Education of Henry
For every person who wants to teach there are approximately thirty people who don't want to learn--much.
W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman, And Now All This 
(1932) introduction
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to 
 fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Chinese Proverb

Contact Teresa to have her speak to teachers, parent/teacher 
organizations and administrators at your school.

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