A Teacher’s “Periodic Table” / 1. Ink

Full Title – Pondering the “Periodic Table of Teacher Elements”  that make up a teacher’s life

Naomi’s Photos

The spark for this series of posts was ignited by reading the book “The Periodic Table” by Primo Levi. That book is unique, fascinating and powerful. These posts do not even attempt to hold a candle to the book, which I highly recommend reading.

Nonetheless,  the idea of exploring elements that make up a teacher’s life took hold…

*Ink  – as in ink stains on my hands & clothes from the carbon paper I carried around in university when studying to be a teacher. The choice was between using carbon paper and letting copies of my notes circulate or me not having my notebook when I needed it.

*Ink – as in more ink stains from the mimeograph machine we used in school during my first years to make copies of worksheets. I can’t recall if those stains came out…

* Ink – as in the ink blots that appear on the Rorschach Cards that the young man I married 30 years ago (this week!) was studying back then.

* Ink – as in the ink pads for reusable stamps (proclaiming “WELL DONE” “GOOD JOB” “HAVE A NICE DAY”)  used when teaching elementary school, in a successful attempt to eliminate the endless “out-of-pocket” purchase of stickers.

* Ink – as in the ribbons of my parents’ old Olivetti typewriter which I used when needed because the school simply didn’t own an electric typewriter with an English keyboard.

* Ink – as in the change to whiteboard markers. Farewell to sneezing caused by chalkdust!

* Ink – as in the joy of opening a new package of colored pens. The color chosen to grade papers changes as the year progresses – when the ink runs out I move on to the next color…

* Ink – as in the number of pens I carry around in my purse (usually three). A teacher in the staff room invariably needs to borrow a pen for a moment, a student shows up for a test without a pen while another pen quietly resigns from its duties …

And finally:

* Ink – as in the notes-to-self on real paper, which I keep on my classroom desk. Despite using a lot of technology (educational, to-do lists, Evernote, reminders and more),  when I need to get something down quickly, especially at school , it’s got to be ink-on-paper.

What role has ink played in your teaching career?





8 thoughts on “A Teacher’s “Periodic Table” / 1. Ink”

  1. Hi Naomi,
    Once I wanted to teach the kids the word “obsessed”. I told them I was sort of obsessed with pens. I asked them to guess how many pens were in my bag. I thought there were probably at least 6 or 7. There were 17!!!! 😂
    Now I’m retired. I had my 4 oldest grandkids at my house for almost a week in the Summer to prepare a readers theater skit for their parents who all came for Shabbat. I decided it was time to part with some of the multitude of pens that I had in and on my desk, and (after I had thrown away the ones that had run out of ink) I told them they could each choose 6 to take home. They were thrilled and chose carefully. Then I looked at my pen basket. There was hardly a dent in my supply, so I said, “Ok, everyone can have 4 more!” They couldn’t believe it, but that was nothing compared to my astonishment at how many were still left!!! I am a true ink junkie! I guess I should start writing something! 😉
    Here’s wishing you a fabulous, fulfilling and ink-filled year!

  2. Loved both Naomi’s blog and Mitzi’s comment. INK, yes, I now understand I’ve been having a love affair with it as well.

  3. Happy anniversary Naomi! Love this idea 🙂
    Ink is important for me too – I have a paper diary (no Google Calendar for me) and I write in my journal every night, normally for 10-20 minutes. List-making is also always on paper. It helps me to organise my life.

    1. Sandy – so glad to hear that! Some thought that only “oldies” like myself felt that way about ink. Though I do use the Google calendar – carrying a paper diary everywhere (and I need my diary everywhere) was too heavy in my purse for me!
      I hope you enjoy the next elements as well.

  4. Loved the blog. I remember well the mimeograph machines and also those where we typed onto a wax stencil and ink fille the shapes we made to form letters on the page.

    Today I tend to use Frixon pens in different colors. I like being able to erase mistakes and redo them. I am sitting here over my breakfast coffee using blue and turquoise to do my Hebrew homework- making sentences with words like לומד and קורא etc and correcting as I go along. Ink has been an important element for me both as a teacher and a learner.

    1. Marjorie!
      So glad you could relate to the post and kudos for continuing your Hebrew studies!
      I hope you find the next posts relevant too!

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