My main job is teaching, not quilting, and I love when I can bring my quilting ability into my classroom. I teach British literature, and often my students get lost in the 2,000 or so years of timeline. Years ago I made a bunch of demotivational posters about the British monarchy to help my students know “where we are in time”. Those little posters have sparked many conversations, and they are definitely one of my best teaching tools.
However…there are 60 of them, and putting them up and down from my classroom walls repeatedly as I’ve changed rooms/schools has taken a toll. A while back I’d considered making a wall hanging instead of putting up the individual posters. I knew it would be an undertaking, though. When I found out I was moving from my trailer classroom (where there wasn’t enough room for them) to an indoor classroom, I decided it was finally time to undertake this project I’d been sitting on for several years.
I printed the posters onto fabric, and then I color-coded the historical periods/families.
Red: Stuart (Bright red embedded for Interregnum)
Purple: Saxe Coburg Gotha
Light Purple: Windsor
The last two are both purple because it’s the same family branch…just a name rebrand thanks to WWI.
I used fabric I already had on hand, some pretty green, yellow, and black shirting flannel. Between the front and the flannel backing and the huge size, the wall hanging was getting heavy, so I decided to leave out the usual batting and quilting.
In the end, I’m loving how it turned out! I can’t wait for my co-workers and students to see it.
The name “Empty Bobbins” comes from those times when you’re in the middle of a project and your bobbin runs out. You have to pause what you’re doing and reload. While you do that, you have a moment to just sit and reflect. This is a collection of musings and reflections on life’s moments. Some are quilting related, and some are not. This one comes from seeing all of the back-to-school pictures.
As I’ve said before, in my other life I’m a high school literature teacher. One question or reaction I get a lot when folks find this out is one of exasperation. Something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh! I don’t know how you do it. I would lose my mind!” And while, yes, some days I’m not sure how I do it either, most of my days are pretty fun. I’m pretty sure I smile and laugh more during my average work day than most. I love my students, and they are super cool to watch as they grow and make their post-high school plans. It’s exciting to think that I could be teaching someone who could one day save my life as a nurse or become another teacher or be a loving role model to his/her own family.
But the general public seems to forget this a lot. And this bias is embedded in our culture something fierce! Even my second-grader has made derisive comments about teenagers. They’re painted as lazy, entitled, and naïve. But the honest truth is this – they’re working so hard!
They’re one of the most informed groups of people that I know, and they check multiple news sources as a matter of habit now. They’re active, involved, and are going to change the world the second they get a chance. They don’t go home and sit and play video games every day. They work jobs, lead clubs, perform community service, and have so many extra-curricular activities that I can barely keep them straight.
Example: one of my AP Literature students was enrolled in all high level academic classes, orchestra, honors groups, and played lacrosse. And then when I thought she couldn’t do anything else during the day, I walked in to the local coffee house and saw her tutoring a younger student! And she isn’t alone. I see them coaching and leading with a fervor that is unmatched.
One year, my school had a band director quit suddenly, and a student stepped up and led the classes in band. He taught, conducted, and empowered his fellow students in a way that was humbling.
So yes, they like taking selfies. They do like their phones. But let’s give them credit where it’s due. Those selfies are fairly innocent, and those phones do a whole lot more than play games. They get news updates, class messages, and are coordinating groups on those phones.
The teenagers that I know, across all levels of diversity, are inspiring. Sure, some aren’t much for school, but even those students have their own agenda and plans, and I am awed by their abilities.
So when folks ask me how I do it. How do I put up with teenagers at a high school? The joke is on them. Those kids are amazing, inspiring, and it’s an honor to be a part of their lives. My only worry is how I will do justice to their goals when the time comes for me to play my part.
So here’s to a new school year, a new set a students who will inspire me, push me, and make me smile. May I be worthy of them. And may we all realize the gifts they have to give us.
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