I love old slate chalkboards. I bought my first one for $100; I found it in the classifieds. When I went to pick it up, the gentleman selling the chalkboard took us up to his attic and grunted and groaned as he carried it down. I thought he must be sort of weak–until my friend and I tried to load it in the station wagon. It weighed a ton! My dad bolted that chalkboard on the schoolroom wall in my house, and when the school moved and the room became a living room, we left the chalkboard there and kept a quote or verse chalked on it.
I bought five more slate boards at an auction. They had been taken out of an old public school building. My grandmother had attended that school and wrote on those exact chalkboards when she was a little girl. The boards had no frames but cost me only $1 a piece. They had been through a fire and took a ton of scrubbing, but two are currently screwed onto my classroom walls. Now my chalk writes over my grandma’s shadows.
White boards get nasty looking after one day of writing them full. Expo markers wear out in no time. But chalkboards last forever.
I have been an English teacher for 12 years. Sometimes I teach struggling readers. Sometimes I teach gifted writers. Sometimes I have lots of ideas. Sometimes I run dry. Right now I am on a year-long sabbatical. I plan to take 33 English credits at Millersville University and earn my bachelor of arts in English. This blog is a collection of the treasures I am mining to take back to my students–and my old slate chalkboards.
P.S. Concerning the photo on the header, that’s my grandma. She loved slate chalkboards, too.