Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Around The Card Room, Take 13

The end of the school year can be hard on elementary school students. There are plenty of happy children on the final day of school who are ready for summer vacation and the challenges of a new grade level. However, there are also plenty who are sad and disregulated at the thought of having to learn a whole new set of rules and routines the next year. 

Others are sad for different reasons........

At the end of the 2004 school year, I had a student experience what he perceived to be the worst day of his school career. The reason? He found the perfect end of year gift for me and he forgot it at home. After an hour of crying, we tried calling mom and dad, but his parents both worked and could not leave to bring a gift to school. He spent the day in tears and kept telling me, "I got your gift from my grandma's neighbor. It's the best gift ever"

He was tight-lipped with the details about grandma's neighbor.  

Dad emailed me that afternoon and assured me they had found me the most incredible end of year gift, repeated the part about finding it at his grandmother's house, and that they would drop it off at school the next day while the teachers were having their end of year work days.  

I was not overly worried about the gift.  

End of year workdays are so boring. Lots of papers to file, cleaning, and everyone just wants to finish as quickly as possible to start summer break. I can do paperwork so long, but I eventually need a break. In the middle of the morning I walked through the office and saw a brown paper bag stuffed into my mailbox. 

It was crisp and had my name written on it in black marker.  

I pulled it out of my mailbox and I knew it was the gift from the student. Knowing it came from his grandma's neighbor, I figured it was a trinket of some sort or vegetables from their garden. Obviously neither, because I don't blog about vegetable gardens. When I picked up the bag and looked inside, I could it was a baseball, but I couldn't see the writing. 

I picked it up and turned it over..........

Nobody has ever given me a better end of year gift from their grandmother's neighbor.  


  1. Very nice. My wife is a teacher. Most of her gifts are coffee mugs.

  2. I think that this is one of your better stories so far. And I hope that kid was able to toughen up (probably not the best phrase to use, but I can't think of anything else) some, otherwise he probably had a very difficult time in high school.

    1. He's a former student whom I have not kept up with, but your comment made me wonder. Unique name. He's a structural engineer who specializes in bridge restoration. I bet that pays well. Not sure about his high school experience, but his adult version appears to be a winner.

  3. What a cool and memorable end of the year gift. As much as I Iove teaching at the middle school level way more than the elementary... there are a handful of things I do miss. One of them is having one class the entire year where you can really bond and get to know each kid. Another thing is that they're so much more innocent (well they used to be at least... it's been 15 years since I taught 5th and 6th grade). And finally... some of the gifts were super thoughtful and sentimental... like this baseball. I'll still receive the occasional handmade card... but most of the end of the year presents are a grad picture and maybe a gift card.

    P.S. Glad to hear that he ended up being a structural engineer. Bridge restoration sounds like an interesting and fun career.

    1. I am always grateful for anything that my students get me in the way of gifts, but they have become less personal over the course of my teaching career. I used to get baseball stuff or personalized knick-knacks for my house or classroom. Now, it's almost all gift cards if anything at all.


Hello, 2024.

A recent trip to Target yielded my first packs of 2024 Topps.  I kind of dig this year's design, so I was somewhat excited that they wer...