Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #Teaching – My Preschooler, Then and Now by Jennie Fitzkee

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

In this second post from Jennie Fitzkee she shares the wonderful journey she has shared with one of her students and illustrates why she is so loved by her students.

My Preschooler, Then and Now by Jennie Fitzkee



I love all my students. Sometimes students ‘stick’ with me for a while, returning to visit and be a guest reader. Sometimes students stick around for a long time, visiting the classroom, and then including me in their events. Sometimes it is even deeper. That’s when students become friends.

Wesley was my preschooler. He had a difficult time saying goodbye to his mom and dad in the morning. His motto was “one o’clock”, knowing that was the time mom and dad would pick him up at school. He held up his pointer finger to reinforce one o’clock, and to give himself reassurance. I responded in kind, holding up my finger and saying, “Yes, one o’clock.”

Once the school year was underway, Wesley was an eager beaver. Young children are far more resilient than adults. They adjust and bounce back more quickly than we do. Wesley loved books and hands-on activities. Using hand tools was a favorite.

He loved singing, especially patriotic songs. He belted out “God Bless America” whenever I played it on the autoharp. The Big Book Atlas was always interesting to Wesley. When we learned about other countries and history, he was ‘there’. His preschool years were fun and formative. Wesley blossomed!

Years passed, yet Wesley visited the classroom. Often. He enjoyed returning to his roots. I always made a big fuss, and that made him smile, big time.

I was invited to one of his high school football games. Friday night lights. That was fun!

Wesley became a scholar student, and a Civil War buff. History and the military were important to him. He participated in reenactments, and studied history. In high school he knew more about history – ancient and recent – than I did. He was the teacher and I was the student.

I was honored to be invited to his Eagle Scout award ceremony. To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout is a long and hard journey, and few scouts make it. Did you know there is only one group where every member is an Eagle Scout? One. It’s the astronauts who first landed on the moon. Yes, every astronaut was an Eagle Scout.

Here’s the story that connects Wesley the preschooler to becoming an Eagle Scout:

It happened like this…

When Wesley was in my preschool class, his favorite toy was a large castle. He was obsessed with that castle. He begged his mom and dad to buy him one. He cried when they said, “No.” So, I often had the castle available for Wesley to play with. He never tired of this toy. Never.

Fast forward ten years. Every so often teachers do a major clean-out of our school’s attic. Yes, there was the castle stored away in a far corner. It was designated for the trash, as it was “well loved.”

“Wait! You can’t throw out that castle!”

“It’s broken in spots and has some sharp edges. It’s gotta go.”

“I’ll take it.”

And I did. It went to my basement. My grandchildren loved playing with it when they visited. In the back of my mind I was saving the castle for Wesley. It would make a perfect graduation present.

Four years passed, and I got the invitation to his graduation. The event was outdoors at the new football field, so bringing along this gigantic castle was not an option. As I pondered the best way to deliver the gift, I received an invitation to his Eagle Scout ceremony, at the local church. There would be a reception afterwards, downstairs in the church reception hall.

I could make this work!

My husband and I arrived early, and I slipped downstairs to put the castle in the kitchen. It was wrapped in a huge black trash bag, covered with bows and ribbons. Done!

When the ceremony was over we all headed downstairs for the reception. After many hugs and best wishes and congratulations, I said, “Wesley, I have something for you. Can you get your mom and dad?” He looked confused as I dragged out this large trash bag. It stirred much curiosity to those close by, so there was a group looking on as Wesley opened the bag.

“The castle! It’s the castle!!
I remember this. I loved this castle. How did you get it?”

And I told him the story of rescuing it from the attic years ago, and saving it for him. His mom cried. His dad thought surely this wasn’t THE one. Wesley couldn’t stop touching. He was beside himself. Of course we all had to relive the story of the castle when he was a preschooler.

It was wonderful.

When Wesley started in college, Hubby and I began a tradition of taking him out to dinner every summer. He talked… oh, how he talked. There was so much he had to think about, so many changes, so many new experiences. I was the listener and the supporter. The tables had turned, and once again I was much like his old preschool teacher.

Being a teacher means being a good listener.
Your students need someone to care and listen.
Yes, it’s that simple. Yes, it makes all the difference.

Wesley changed colleges, and for good reasons. I listened and supported him. Every summer had great experiences. This past summer he was a student at Oxford University, New College. What a wonderful experience! Wesley was excited to talk about his professors, what he had learned, and of course his experiences. It was a long (very long) and wonderful talk. There was so much to tell. I listened!

I look forward to our dinner every summer.


©Jennie Fitzkee 2022

My thanks to Jennie for inviting me to delve into her archives from last year and I know she would love to hear from you.

About Jennie Fitzikee

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.

Connect to Jennie – Blog: Jennie Fitzkee – Facebook: Jennie Fitzkee – @jlfatgc

How to feature in the series?

  • All I need you to do is give me permission to dive in to your archives and find two posts to share here on Smorgasbord. (
  • Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random of general interest across a number of subjects from the second six months of 2022. (it is helpful if you have a link to your archives in your sidebar by month)
  • As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
  • If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
  • As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
  • Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
  • Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
  • Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post especially if you are using the block editor
  • If I do share a post which contains mainly photographs I will share up to five and link back to the original post for people to view the rest.

N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.


49 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #Teaching – My Preschooler, Then and Now by Jennie Fitzkee

  1. What a beautiful story. Jennie is a legend for all her students. What an incredible thing to watch her students grow and flourish through the years and keep that bond keeping touch. I’ll say it again – the world needs more Jennies. ❤ xx

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I remember this one! The gift of the castle is my favorite part. Wesley had such a good start in life under Jennie’s continuing tutelage, I’m sure he will go on to do great things.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I also remembered this excellent post. It’s no accident when students like Wesley come back to spend time with a past treasured teacher. It’s their way of saying, “Look at me. I want to make you proud.” Well done to Jennie and Wesley for continuing their special connection.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My goodness, I enjoyed reading this post again. It’s one of my favorites. Thank you Sally, for sharing this. It’s a joy and an honor to be here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aww. This was such an inspiring post and indeed it shows how much more a teacher can be and the way they reach out and care about their pupils.
    I loved reading this.

    I’ve just returned from a cover/supply day in a school where I often drop in at times and the children love coming up to me asking.
    “When are you coming back to our class?”

    The class today was a challenging class but I just got on with it.
    The Teaching assistant commented how calm the class were today.
    “You are calm,” she said. sometimes I’m not inside but as every teacher knows you are there to keep the class calm and on track.
    Thanks for reminding me of the important role of a teacher. (And in my case tomorrow, a Nanny)
    We love playing, reading and talking to each other.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 20th – 26th March 2023 – De-Cluttering, New Releases Promotion, Big Band Era, Stevie Wonder, Podcast, Health, Reviews, Bloggers and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  7. What a beautiful and inspiring post. Teaching is a true vocation and a great teacher can make such a big difference in a child (and adult)’s life. All of Jennie’s students are so lucky! Thanks for sharing this post, Sally. Excellent!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love this post and could read it over and over. When teachers take the time to care about each student, they never forget it. And that castle, perfect for a history buff!

    Liked by 2 people

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