Coffee cups are a cool marker of time spent in the classroom. That's one of the favorite gifts of students to a teacher. That and chocolate, which I can't complain about.
But I have a couple of coffee cups (and a coffee maker) that I especially treasure.
One was given to me by a little old Mexican immigrant woman who ran a daycare out of her house. She was the sweetest little lady, and I made her cry. She gave me a coffee mug because it was Christmas and I had taught her to write a fluid essay using proper grammar. I say that actually, she just took the tools I gave her and she ran with it, but I'll take it.
She handed me the mug, told me how much I meant to her, and her tears began to flow. And so did mine. She only had one eye. Her hands were arthritic, and she was deeply and honestly compassionate. She was a woman I would have loved to have taking care of my son. I wonder often what she did with her education...where is she now? Does she still have her daycare, or has she moved on to other things?
I have the PEACE coffee cup given to me by the group of seniors who were so much fun. We had coffee club every day of winter, and it worked to get them focused. At least, it seemed to. It did get them off the energy drinks. One girl would polish off four Red Bulls before 1st period was even over. I threatened to call her mom if she didn't lay off the juice. She and Charles bought me the coffee maker to celebrate our morning of community.
I HAD one that said, "I have a black belt...and argyle socks" that the kids loved. That group was full of kids destined to be lawyers. The mug disappeared.
And then the one I bought the year I had seniors who made me dread my day. It says, "The answer: G-R-A-D-U-A-T-I-O-N" and the inside lip says, "How do you spell RELIEF?" I was not connected to that group. We made each others' lives miserable. They fought just as hard not to do the work as I fought to get them to do the work. I couldn't wait for May. I couldn't wait for January. January meant the spring would fly.
I have the white mug with the pink Oriental design that a student left behind, the yellow happy face another purposely left for me, and the brown and pink ceramic mug given to me by a graduate as her graduation present to me.
And I have the travel mug with the pictures of two girls who were best friends all along the way. I let them use my computer their junior year and was treated to a lovely image of the two as my screensaver. And then they carried that over their senior year when I didn't have them in class. At the semester break, they came back with a present for me. A travel mug with images of the two of them from their freshman year through. They even added a sticker that said, "Laugh until the mascara runs" which made me laugh and became a unique inside joke for the three of us.
All of them have meaning, and all of them are lovely, each in their own way. Or silly, or serious, or large, or small...much like each of my students. They all have their own personalities, and when I leave this classroom for the last time, I ponder whether the coffee mugs will go, or whether they will stay. Like my students, some go, some stick around to make sure I know they care.
Wanted: a good set of sentences to grab you from the depths of the internet. I keep trying to catch your eye.