The Crossing Guard Chronicles: The ‘One Minute Teacher’

If you had one minute a day to spend with kids, what would you do with it, the one minute?

It’s not much time to make a positive impact, is it? Or, is it? Certainly, you’d start with some ‘greetings and salutations’*. That’s a positive. But what would you do with the other fifty-five seconds, or so?

Would you draw attention to the dawning of a new day with all its trimmings: a late full December moon hiding behind tall pines; the ‘morning star’, planet Venus, sparkling like a diamond until it surrenders to daylight; birds signaling réveille with chirping and tweeting? There is much to enjoy and learn by looking and listening, and we do that at the ‘Curbside Classroom’, even for just a minute

Maybe you’d tell them about a day in history, or a famous person? Try the remarkable story of Teddy Roosevelt’s brush with a would-be assassin in 1912. We did. Kids were amazed. Could you pique their interest in science with a story about a scientist? Or technology, if you talked about inventions?

Would you feel confident enough, yourself, to sing to teenagers about the beautiful morning, and mention Oklahoma and Broadway in the same breath? How about telling a joke? A brain teaser? Something to get them thinking and wondering.

A minute a day isn’t much time to discuss homonyms, homographs and homophones. But you’d try, wouldn’t you, because you have a snippet of time to do it. And one, or two, or ten youngsters are expecting something from you because you have KLOT, ‘knowledge learned over time’, and a lifetime of wisdom to share.

Could you make them laugh before the minute passes? Imagine the challenge and the fun that you could have with just one minute a day with a pack of kids.

As a school crossing guard, I have that one minute every day while we wait for the signal light that stops traffic before crossing, a pied piper, of sorts, in bright yellow with a precious minute to share something positive.

We cover a lot. The kids listen and respond. Affable would be a good adjective to describe them. Oh, yes, we mention adjectives and adverbs, synonyms and antonyms.

We unabashedly take a poll on who can whistle, and then we whistle. Braces can impede whistling, we learn. But they don’t impede smiling.

A minute is not much time but over time, it adds up and at the end of a school year, the kids have had a positive experience at the ‘Curbside Classroom’. You can do a lot with a minute!

But you start by learning their names!

Steve. (

January 2020

ps. tomorrow’s topic, ‘take’ vs ‘bring’

*Charlotte’s Web (E.B.White)

All my stories, including more ‘Crossing Guard Chronicles’ are available on my blog site, ‘S’amusing’ on

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Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

52 thoughts on “The Crossing Guard Chronicles: The ‘One Minute Teacher’”

  1. KLOT is one I’m going to keep as well. Love that. If you can make those kids laugh in that one minute, you are genius! Most of my knowledge has wandered off, only to appear at random so I admire you still have enough stored to keep those kids entranced with learning. You are doing a good thing here.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You can never go wrong asking kids about what is new. Learning their faces and names is a good start, Steve. I used to study my yearbook from the year before so I could address my students by name the first time they walked into my classroom. Most of them would say, “Wait, how do you already know my name?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anne, today we discussed the difference between ‘bring’ and ‘take’. In the afternoon crossing, as the kids were approaching me, I ask, ‘what are you BRINGING me’. A girl answered, ‘our love’. I didn’t quite know what to say. Maybe you’re right! Regardless, thank you for the nice comment.


  3. Children want to be engaged and challenged especially in a fun and jovial way. You accomplish that each and every day. There is always something new in this world but it is so important they understand history as well. You do a great job of marrying the two. Have a good day, Steve.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Where do I begin? Your eloquent words dig deep, down to the core of what matters most. I’m a big believer that it’s the little things that matter most. I know that to be true, only through accidental discovery of those one-minute moments that became monumental. You know that, too, and you share it in the best of ways. What a pleasure to read this post, Steve. Thank you. I want to hang out at the CC. I must reblog this tomorrow morning, as it is far too important not to spread this message. KLOT!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, it does seem odd, but the crossing guards report to the PD as they do in the surrounding towns. But, interestingly, they take direction from the s hook district when it comes to allocating duty times. The PD issues uniforms, patches and even a badge. Of course. I can’t arrest a kid 😂.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on A Teacher's Reflections and commented:
    Steve the Crossing Guard imparts his words of wisdom, how even one minute of time is a precious moment in teaching. He knows just how to make a difference, an impact, with only a minute. This post is awesome! From the Curbside Classroom, and the man with KLOT (knowledge learned over time), read on!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We must be cut from the same cloth, Bette, because I do that very same thing on beautiful mornings. But, in mornings like today when it was 14F, I reminded the kids how cold it was in The winter of ‘77 and ‘78 when I quartered with Gen. Washington and my fellow soldiers at Valley Forge, PA. By the way, that was 1777 & ‘78 😉. Thanks for your fantastic comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I just came in from the cold and saw your note. Now that warmed me better than a hot chocolate. Very nice sentiments and I thank you. We have a good time at my crossing. You have a minute, might as well make good use of it. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have taken numerous photos from my spot, both facing east, as in the subject photo, and directly behind me, facing west, a neighbor’s property. I would love for you to see them. Thank you for commenting on the post. We have some interesting mornings talking about different things, including the beauty around us. Yesterday, and next week, I’m going to talk a little (remember, it’s only a minute) about G Washington and the winter at Valley Forge during the Amer Rev. Just some tidbits.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, I have a couple of days to do a little research and prepare for the kids. When I give them a ‘tidbit’, I try to end it with a suggestion to look up more, themselves, or ask an open ended question to see if any of them would find some answers. I’m thrilled when one or two come up to me in the afternoon crossing with more talking points and/or answers. I’m fortunate that I work in an very good school district.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You are doing an amazing job that a lot of teachers don’t accomplish in a whole day. I spent approx. 16 years as a substitute with special needs children in a variety of capacities. I enjoyed not having to spend my days writing reports and attending meetings, no matter how “useful” they are supposed to be. For me, they never were. But in the moments I got to spend with each child, we accomplished so much together. It was a wonderful experience, and one I will likely never see again. I would not trade that for all the money I might have made as a “permanent.” I got to do so many things to resolve issues the children had, just using my own senses and relating to the children directly as you are doing here. Congratulations and I bet everyone of those children will remember you through all the years while they may not remember hardly any of their “teachers.” Keep up the great work! You give me great hope for the education system.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anne, it seems that businesses across all spectrums waste resources with too many meetings and reports. I can make up my own ‘lesson plans’ and execute as I see fit, generally ‘off the cuff’. We have fun and, if nothing else is accomplished, they walk away with smiles. And that’s a positive start to the day. Thanks for commenting.


  7. KLOT. Love it! I don’t work with children now, but I have been blessed with the ability to engage both young and old alike. My kids have always referred to me as “the fun grandma”. I make friends everywhere I go and always have a gem to share.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. My wife used to tell me not to talk so much when we would go someplace, “people don’t want to hear what you have to say”, to which I would reply, “oh, yes, I think they do”, while ignoring her admonition, in moderation, of course…😂

      Liked by 1 person

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