Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What's In Your Desk Drawer? Day 13

Go Carnivores!

This is an antenna ball from Jack In The Box. Yep, it's fast food at it's finest, and one of the great marketing ideas: you put a goofy little doo-dad on the antenna of your car, which actually serves as an advertisement for the company.

The Classic Jack
Image by Ryoh A
[CC BY-NC 2.0]
Jack In The Box antenna balls were all the rage when I taught in California years and years ago. The classic Jack (the clown-face mascot of the company) was the most ubiquitous. You would find them on cars all over the place. The California weather was fairly kind to them, and they usually lasted a while. But you might find one missing an eye, or a smile, or looking a little dirty, showing it had been traveling the freeways for some time.

And then there were the specialty balls. Like the one I have pictured above; it was from a particular ad campaign in which Jack was sponsoring a fictional football team, the Carnivores. Cute, right?

This particular antenna ball never saw active duty on my car. Soon after I got it, we moved across the country. It ended up in a box that ended up in my new classroom. I remember I had it on the antenna of the boombox I kept in my classroom at that time. (Remember boomboxes? Wow...) Sometimes kids would ask about it, and then I had the chance to tell the story of the good old days in California, when I would enjoy a Sourdough Jack with curly fries...Mmmmmmm...

Somehow it ended up in my drawer at some point. I must have gotten sick of it on the antenna, or maybe when the boombox broke and became part of my "take-apart table" in my science class, I kept the ball out of nostalgia.

I wonder how many things we hang on to out of nostalgia? Are there physical objects in your classroom that you've kept, just because they have some claim on a part of your personal history, your development as a teacher? (I still have the stool that I had throughout my K-12 teaching experience sitting here in my office, even though I really don't need a stool in my office.)

Are there other things you've kept in your teaching practice out of nostalgia? Are there instructional practices you continue to use because they are comfortable for you, even though you have a suspicion it might be time to "clean house?" Are there curriculum units you can't seem to let go of, because you love teaching them so much...and even though the official school curriculum has changed, you keep teaching these, because they hold a place in your heart?

Nostalgia isn't a bad thing. Remembrances from the past are important--they are part of the story of who you are! But as I've been reflecting on all the bits of junk I have kept in my desk, it has me wondering about what other "bits of junk" I might be holding on my teaching practice too.


(This post is part of a series about the weird stuff teachers have in their desk drawers. You can read more about this project here, and I hope you'll share the stories of the weird stuff you have in your desk too!)

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