Whacking Erasers

In elementary school, one of the classroom chores was cleaning the chalkboard erasers. More appropriately, beating the chalk out of the erasers. Usually at the last recess of the day, one or two people were assigned to take the erasers outside and beat them together to remove the chalk dust.

We had two types of erasers, the black felt erasers with two white stripes and the long erasers that were like hard foam rubber with a material covering. These were for big mistakes or to clean large areas of the chalkboard. They also made a neat sound when whacking two big erasers together.

This wonderful chore was often reserved for classroom misbehavior, so I got to be a regular eraser beater. It is also notable to point out, that hitting erasers against the school building and leaving white chalk marks is not advisable. It leads to a bucket of water, scrubbing, and further missed recesses.

White boards, smart boards, and laptops in schools have all but eliminated the chalkboard. Kids don’t have the pleasure of creating clouds of white dust, producing the distinct sounds of eraser clapping, or to be left with white residue on fingers and  pants.

It feels like this year has been like whacking erasers. Feels a bit like we’re being punished for something. We’ve been quarantined in our homes, banished to basements and spare bedrooms. Parents have been forced into balancing home-schooling and work demands. Many have lost their jobs or businesses. People trying to cope with funerals, weddings, and various celebrations, while being forced to stay apart. All this separation feels like we’ve lost another recess.

Then the race demonstrations have led to good conversations alongside of inflaming deep-seated tensions. Cities taking hits who were already hurting. Political posturing with polarizing stances.

It all makes me want to whack rubber erasers as loudly as I can. I’d just like to hide behind a cloud of dust or maybe erase as much of this year as possible.

When this is over, we’ll need to clean some chalk off the buildings. It’s going to take some long hard scrubbing to get us back to some sense of normalcy. I don’t think any of us are going to get through this year without some marks on our clothes and residue on our hands. We’re going to carry this with us a while.



One thought on “Whacking Erasers

  1. Thank you, I needed that little flash of the past eraser clapping to lift my spirits as I try to clean chalkboard marker off a 50+ year old chalkboard. I got it! But, then had to season the chalkboard! Got it! Now I have green chalk all over me, the floor, my new washing machine, (my chalkboard is in the “laundry room” or what we call a “mud room”), and of course, my eraser. After clapping it with my hand, bad idea, and a damp paper towel, perhaps a good idea… I decided to search how to clean it properly when I came across your post. Yes, I too was a frequent member of the eraser clapping club at last recess. It was that or taking all the empty milk cartons from all the classrooms on our floor to the “Big Garbage Can”! That’s what this last year has felt like too. Wheeling that goofy silver cart, with the one wobbly wheel, down the hall passed all the open classroom doors for everyone to witness your shame. Well, we all have shame in our lives. It’s how we deal with it that makes us who we are. We can admit our faults and try to avoid the same mistakes, to learn from them. Then strive to teach others not to make the same mistakes but teach them the proper way to deal with difficult situations. Like stupid erasers and pandemics! Ugh! is it 2023 yet? Wake me up then. LoL! We will make it through together with laughter and love. Hang in there everyone! Thanks again for the memories and the laughs.

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