Toad and Me

“Our theories are really disguised autobiographies, often rooted in childhood.” The first sentence of Thomas Newkirk’s book, Minds Made for Stories. IMG_0009 IMG_0010The sticky notes are from the story The Garden in the children’s book, Frog and Toad Are Friends, which I was using as one of my texts today in a presentation teachers of 2nd and 3rd grade.  We were pushing ourselves to get more opinions from a book.  And as I voiced over, or “wrote in the air” my theory about who Toad really is, I had to laugh.  He reminds me so much of me.  And perhaps, each of those teachers who had brought a book with a favorite character found something of themselves as we made notes and did down drafts for our opinion letters.

I am, like Toad, always in a hurry for things to happen.  I want a whatever now.  You could say he is impatient, but I think that’s not quite it.  Over-eager?  Naive?  When he learns from Frog that his seeds are likely too scared to grow, from Toad’s loud voice telling them to “Grow NOW!” the OCD amount of care a sleepless Toad lavishes on the dormant seeds is extraordinary.

He sings to them, reads stories to them, poems even.

My side comment in the presentation this morning made me remember how when I was four I wanted to be an adult.  I asked if children were people, too?  I wanted high heels. I resented any baby talk, and corrected my mother’s grammar if she tried it.  I was in a big hurry to not be a child.

I see that over eagerness in me to expect instant progress from my students sometimes.

The point being, it’s all story, isn’t it? And now, having presented with 68 teachers, taught my LLI afternoon groups, launched the after school ELD writing class and written two grant reports for the leadership team, I’m just like Toad at the end.  The seeds sprout.  (I know, spoiler)  And Toad has to agree that gardening is very hard work indeed.  So is being a teacher leader.


5 responses to “Toad and Me”

  1. Yes I want it now yesterday would have been better. I can relate.


  2. Will check out that TED talk. Thanks.


  3. Crystal Brooks Avatar
    Crystal Brooks

    Love your post. It’s exhausting being a teacher leader and providing engaging learning for adults. I hope your teachers love Frog and Toad as much as you do.


  4. Tom Newkirk is one of my favorite pedagogy writers, and I love “Minds Made for Stories.” And within those stories we find metaphor, of course. Have you seen James Geary’s TED Talk “Metaphorically Speaking”?


  5. Oh. Toad. One of my favorites. I love the way you weave your the work you obviously love into a story and metaphor of a teacher’s life.

    Indeed we are Toads — eager for those roots to take hold and the buds to open– in the eyes and the minds of those in our care.

    Thank you for sharing Toad.


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