SOL 22: my apologies to all the parents

I have been in education for 23 years. In that time, whenever I was a classroom teacher, we always did a science unit in March about machines: levers, pulleys, ramps, and the like. This way the students could put that new knowledge to good use. I assigned an optional project creating leprechaun traps. I assigned it a good 2+ weeks in advance. In writing, they would develop explanative paragraphs detailing how the trap worked. In literacy we read stories of Irish folklore and leprechauns. The kids had a blast with it. Reminders were sent the week before the traps were due. Then the kids brought them in on March 16 so we could set them up before we left. We always left directions for the night custodian about how to man the traps. The kids were so excited.

I can still see the letter to parents pulled from Mailbox. I copied it onto green paper.

Other old timers—you know what I’m talking about.
this was the actual issue with the leprechaun trap letter to parentscirca 1999

Imagine my surprise every year when this optional project was almost always ignored. I was so disappointed. So I started turning it into a classroom group project so the kids didn’t feel the disappointment, too.

This it the first year I’ve had a child old enough to design her first school leprechaun trap. And I need to say something.

I’m so sorry to parents throughout the Chicagoland area from 1999 to 2015. 
I didn’t know.
I take it all back.
I understand now.
I was young and childless.
I was still a child myself.
I get it now.

This leprechaun trap is some bullshit. Glitter, paint, craft sticks and shoeboxes? Pipe cleaners, gold paper, toothpicks and so much damn tape. WHAT WAS I THINKING? This is awful. She wants to do it all by herself but it’s just so messy. And we don’t even allow glitter in this house. McKenna even said that. She cried a little because how can you have a trap with no glitter? Son of a motherless goat! I guess we have to use some freaking glitter.

We did it. and I hope to never have to do it again.

McKenna explaining and demonstrating the trap for all her people
I am writing for the 15th annual Slice of Life challenge presented by Two Writing Teachers.


  1. So many projects…and lessons
    Learned. 1. Worst is doing outside of classtime with a partner. 2. Dad was always in charge of projects. 3. Write a note to teacher abt “no glitter” what’s a good substitute or just go with it and when you find some on the floor in 6 months you can smile at the sweet memories of a project well done. 4.This is just the beginning. The latest pulleys/machinery/?physics for 11grade is going to analyze the rides at Great America…and WE DONT DO ROLLER COASTERS in this house. Hand me some glitter please.


  2. I’m dying! This is just too wonderful. Too glittery good not be funny. Not so much Mc, but the realization of what a shit-show you must have made in those parents homes. I’m guilty of it too. Not leprechaun traps but other sticky projects. Great slice! Love the pics.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My son got hooked on leprechaun traps from his kindergarten teacher, and he’s still into making them and he’s in 5th grade this year! Now that I’m a parent with school-age kids, I feel like I owe all the parents of former students an apology about homework in general. Great slice–I like the way you meshed your past actions as a teacher with your present situation as a parent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahaha!!! “This leprechaun trap is some bullshit.” I laughed so hard at this! Yes, I hate leprechaun traps!! I blame my daughter’s preschool teacher. Thankfully my older son never got into it, but my daughter sure does. It’s not even so much the building of it that I hate, although I don’t really like it and I passed it off to my husband this year. But I feel it makes it harder to keep them believing in Santa, the Easter bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. It’s easier for other kids to say it’s fake. It’s easier for your kid to figure out its fake. I just don’t like having another magical thing to deal with.

    Buuuut, of course we have one this year. Ugh.


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