All Things Must Pass, Mr. Tanner

That’s Samson in the picture above. A shot of him teaching first grade. I’ve got better pictures where he is standing in front of the class. Exuding wisdom. But I didn’t want to post images of other children on the internet. Seems unethical.

Samson’s teacher shared these pictures with us. She wrote to us that Samson had, once again, done an exceptional job teaching first grade.

What was my son doing teaching first grade? Other than following in the footsteps of his parents?

Great question. Here’s what:


Samson’s first grade teacher gives students “Monte Money” as a reward for good behavior. It’s a play on her last name. I won’t put her full last name here. Respect for privacy and whatnot.

Students can use Monte Money on all sorts of prizes. Stuffed animals. Candy. Pencils. All the sorts of things one would expect to find in a first grade classroom. What’s the most expensive item in the Monte shop? Children can spend their money to be teacher of the day. To teach the class. That’s how Samson found himself teaching first grade.

Samson taught his class a few months ago as well. It was math. According to his teacher, he’s pretty good at teaching. Samson is comfortable in front of class. Loud and focused. In fact, the school principal came by when Samson was teaching a few months ago. She was shocked. Samson commanded the attention of his peers. I’m sure Samson made his teacher look good that day. She had a first grader in charge. And it was working! What a masterful educator.

Samson is teaching literacy in the picture above. Like his old man. He led a session on phonemic awareness. Then he did a read aloud. The pictures I’m not posting are adorable. In one, he’s in front of the class reading a book. In another, his hands are up in the air as he’s leading them through a lesson. Probably something to do with phonics.

Samson teaching literacy? A chip off the old block.


Samson and Solomon have been playing school for years. They love to pretend to be teachers. And they’re so serious about it! They teach reading and math. (They love reading and math.) They take the kids outside for recess. They dress professionally and wear badges. It’s all very academic. And very serious. Like school often is.

I’m anxious about pulling Solomon and Samson out of their elementary school in State College. They are thriving. I’m sure schools in Iowa City are great. But the school they are in now has been so good to them. For them. It’s sad to be leaving.

People are improvisational. They’ll adapt and adjust. And I think the move will be good for them in the long run. For all of us. But my mind is heavy with the promise of change in the next couple of months. My body and spirit too.

I’m listening to Jim James as I’m finishing my blog this morning. It popped up on Spotify. I usually listen to music when I write. Jim James’ cover of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass just came on. It’s a beautiful version of the song. Go listen if you’ve never heard it. In fact, here’s a link. You’re welcome.

All things must pass. Very true. And I’m looking forward to what comes next, even as I’m enjoying the idea of Samson teaching first grade literacy. And math. There’s worse things to be than a teacher. And there’s few nobler professions, in my humble opinion.

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