The Crossing Guard Chronicles: ‘Change Is The Only Constant’ *

When I first ‘met’ Steve, he wrote about his school crossing guard mornings, asking children questions at his corner, “Who is Pavarotti?” Really? I was floored. This was the kind of teaching I had always known to be the best – inspiring, fun, and stimulating.

Every morning at his corner he was ready with a new question. “What is the formula for converting Fahrenheit to Celcius?” “Why did Frosty the Snowman tell the kids not to cry?” His relationship with children became strong. His crossing corner became the Curbside Classroom.

If you want a big dose of inspiration, I recommend Steve’s blog posts as some of the best reads. There are plenty of great stories! He is retiring, as change is inevitable. He will be on the substitute list, so we may occasionally hear more from the Curbside Classroom.

With thanks for being one of the best teachers, inspiring children and fellow teachers alike. -Jennie-


* The credit for this quote goes to a Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who lived around 500 BC. He believed that permanence does not exist, everything is in a state of ‘change’.

Heraclitus was right, I believe. ‘Change’ is a force that moves us to modify our behavior, to adapt. We really have no choice.

The novel Covid-19 is an example of ‘change’ and how we have adapted to new circumstances with new patterns of behavior: the wearing of masks, social distancing, acquiring enough toilet paper for a family of 7 when there are only 2 of us, hoarding.

Schools are adapting to stay on mission, educating our youth, with different methods of teaching: in person, on-line, or a combination of both, a hybrid. The objective is the same but the delivery is different. Educators have a history of adapting, changing to the circumstances, and that’s a good thing.

Heraclitus and…

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About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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34 Responses to The Crossing Guard Chronicles: ‘Change Is The Only Constant’ *

  1. Ritu says:

    Always wonderful.posts!

  2. I’m sure the kids will miss him!

  3. beth says:

    such a wonderful person

  4. petespringerauthor says:

    You introduced me to Steve a year ago, Jennie. I sure hope we still occasionally get to hear his wisdom. Teachers find a way to teach wherever they are.

    • Jennie says:

      I’m glad you have read his posts, Pete. Yes, teachers will teach anywhere. He is one of the best! I have my fingers crossed that he’ll sub occasionally at the crossing.

  5. Thank you for remembering on Steve’s wonderful blog, Jennie! I hope the children will getting closer to the new crossing guard too. Michael

  6. Opher says:

    I know how highly you have spoken of him. Steve is special. He’ll be greatly missed. Change is all there is. Nothing gold can stay.

  7. I’m going to miss the Curbside Classroom, but I wish Steve all the best for his next stage of life’s adventure.

  8. srbottch says:

    Jennie, you’ve remembered more questions than I have remembered. I’ve heard from some parents who saw kids were wondering where I was. This is the challenge of the change which I addressed in my story, the challenge for the kids and me. School began last week and I miss the early mornings. Venus is brilliant in the sky and I would have mentioned it to them while asking, as I did every year. ‘Which direction are we crossing (and ‘forward’, while correct, was not the answer I wanted, although it did show she was thinking). As always, Jennie, you are generous with your praise and insincerely appreciate it. I’m so happy that, as a guy on street curb, I was able to please you, a consummate teaching pro, and show you that learning and smiles can happen anywhere. You’re the best, ‘Fred’!

    • Jennie says:

      How can I even begin to reply to this eloquent and heartfelt response? I remember Venus at the Curbside Classroom. Never forget that it was you who made me remember how teaching is everywhere, and how rich it can be. To be called ‘Fred’ is the highest complement (readers, look up The Fred Factor). Thank you, my friend. See you at the campsite or perhaps at the curbside.

      • srbottch says:

        Jennie, thank you very much. I’ve read this a hundred times and my head is as big as a basketball. But I just realized that I should have proofread my message to you at least once. If I had, then I would have notice the egregious ‘spell correct’ error. And you were kind enough not to point it out. I meant ‘sincerely’, not ‘insincerely’, but you knew that. We haven’t done anything yet (long story) and I haven’t driven my former sidewalk station. Taking a bit to accept that I’m not working there. Isn’t that crazy? Hope you had a great start to the new year. Do you have to be in the building 5 days? I need to cat h up on reading your posts. Have a great day, Jennie.

      • Jennie says:

        Thank you, Steve. Your words are ever kind. Of course I knew exactly what you meant, auto correct is not always a good friend. I understand, totally, what you haven’t done yet, and also why it’s taking a bit to accept not working there. No, it’s not crazy at all that you haven’t driven by. Please know my heart is with you. More than you know.

        Today started to feel positive and exciting at school. It is ‘day five’, and adjusting to the new guidelines of masks and social distancing has been hard. At last we feel like a family. I am reading aloud “Charlotte’s Web” once again.

      • srbottch says:

        Thanks, Jennie. And you could read that again and again and enjoy it every time, as you do. Remind me, how old are your students, those lucky enough to have you as their teacher?

        Have a great day!

      • Jennie says:

        They are typically old threes and four year olds. Thanks so much, Steve.

  9. I didn’t get that he was retiring! I thought he was doing shortened hours because school is a mess with scheduling now. It’s funny how you read things when you are under stress and not grasp the entire message. I loved reading Steve’s posts too because I learned with the kids. I have forgotten as much as I learned in my lifetime. I do wish him a happy and fulfilling retirement though. I’m a fan of retirement. 😉

    • Jennie says:

      I know what you mean about reading fast and not getting part of it. Yes, he emailed me a week or so ago to tell me he is retiring. The good news, besides the retirement, is that he will be on the sub list. So, he may get called in to be the crossing guard on occasion. I will dearly miss his stories, and I know the kids will miss him. Like you, I learned with the kids!

  10. Lovely choice to share, Jennie. Hugs on the wing.

  11. A beautiful and awesome read, Jennie and Steve sounds like a wonderful person. Too good.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Although I will miss his crossing quizzes, I look forward to his observations as he travels around New York State.

  13. He’ll be missed. What a wonderful person. Thanks for sharing, Jennie.

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