Who needs a paper hug?


Image: Allison McDonald~NoTimeForFlashcards.com

Yesterday was a big day for some and uneventful for others. Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day. Depending on your current situation, you might have repeated those words differently than others may have. Your tone may have been filled with excitement, discontent, sadness, or fondness. Whatever your feelings are now, most people smile when they reflect on their childhood Valentine’s Day.

Remember when you were a kid in school. Valentine’s Day was one of the favorites. The room mother would contact all of the parents and organize a party with a lot of sweet treats. You would probably spend all day making crafts with red, pink, and white construction paper. One of those papers was probably folded in half and stapled on two sides, leaving an opening at the top. The homemade envelope would also have your name written boldy on the front; or maybe it was an old tissue or shoebox that you decorated.  Whatever you used, by the end of the day, it would be full of store bought valentine cards with your classmate’s name written on them.

The “To” section was always personalized, so you knew that it was meant just for you!  Let’s me honest though, filling out the cards could be a stressful task. There were always those cards with “special messages” that were reserved for your friends or the person that you liked. And then there were the generic cards that said Happy Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, there never seemed to be enough of those. So, you had to prioritize, by giving the generic cards to those lowest on your totem pole. I’d like to think that it was only the girls that had this problem, but I specifically remember a Valentine’s Day when my son spent a little extra time filling out his own cards one year. So, I am going to predict that everyone had the same dilemma. I do know that almost every girl I knew (including me) would later go home and look at the cards again.  She wanted to see if someone’s card message was code for how much someone liked her.  Come to think of it, adult women still do things like that.  Females love to break a code!

Nowadays, however, classroom parties are either not permitted, or extremely limited. Every school may not be like that, but the ones that my colleagues or I are familiar with are. So, I will speak from my experience. Room mother? What’s that? Treats? Did you check all of the students’ food allergies? Are they homemade? We probably can’t accept them because we don’t know how you cooked or prepared them. Crafts all day? When will you teach? The next big assessment (to collect more data) is in two weeks. Sweets all day? The kids will be too hyper.

Don’t be too discouraged though.  There are still some teachers, including myself, that manage to cut out about an hour for the annual Valentine Exchange. It may not be long, but to many of the students, this is the only amount of time that they know. It’s the adults that seem to make a bigger issue out it.

No matter the time allowed, It is still fun for me to see my students get excited when they give and receive their cards or candy. I must say that the candy valentines sure do take away the stress of who gets which message. Most of the time, the “To” section isn’t even filled out. It doesn’t matter to them though. A break from schoolwork is celebration enough. Over the years, I have also learned that a printed pink Homework Pass from the teacher is far more welcome than any card or candy that I would give them.

So, whatever kind of day you had this year, take a moment to reflect on your best school Valentine’s Day memory. Hopefully, it put a smile on your face.


  1. This reminded me of a Valentine day when I was either in the third or fourth grade at Grant School in Colton.
    It is unusual, because I’ve never forgotten one of the Valentines I received from a girl in my class.
    To this day I don’t remember who it was but I’ll never forget what she wrote.

    “There are tulips in the garden and tulips in the park, but tulips I like best are the two lips in the dark “.

    Isn’t it something that all these years I’ve never forgotten that little poem? HMmmm Wonder who she was ??

    Should’ve saved it !!! Cute right ??

    • Oh wow. That is an interesting poem for an elementary student. I probably wouldn’t have forgotten it either. I’m glad that this post brought some good memories for you.

  2. I also was one of those girls who looked for the special messagess to see who really liked me!

  3. I love your “homework pass’ valentine idea!

    I like that you are a teacher that still remembers what it is like to be a student (and acts on it).

    • Thank you. I do try to find some fun in learning. 🙂
      It’s always amusing to me to see how long it takes a student to use the pass (that expires in June). Some students use it the next day, while others save theirs until needed.

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