Wednesday, September 10, 2014
There was a time when I walked through the day in a daze.
There was a time when I couldn't and wouldn't schedule anything on that day.
There was a time when I read vignettes from the 576-page Portraits of Grief book.
There was a time when I stared at the photographs of all the first responders who died that day.
There was a time when I tried to make sense of it all.
And so as we approach the 13th Anniversary of 9/11, I realize that life has crossed over into this day bringing bits and pieces of normalcy where none existed before. There are errands to run, appointments to keep, work to do.
And yet, 13 years later, I still have not forgotten you--each and every one who perished on that day. I still hear you like ghosts whispering in the wind.
I will always remember you.
I will never forget.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Despite entering my second year of teaching retirement, I can't get rid of that sinking feeling this time of year.
You know that time of year…
The time of year when knots the size of baseballs seem to grow in your stomach (and you know it's not from that cheese enchilada)…
The time of year when beads of sweat form above your brow (and you know it's not from the 90+ degree heat)…
The time of year when you start to hyperventilate as you drive down the road (and you know it's not because you zipped by that nice little police car parked along side the road)…
It's because you passed through a school zone, it's mid-August, and for teachers, their summers will be officially over.
After 27 years of teaching, I have a rather Pavlovian response to this sort of thing that I can't seem to shake. Summer has always been my favorite time of year. To see it wilt away, just saddens me.
But with the end of summer also comes the beginning of a new school year which always brings a rush of hope and promise. A do-over of sorts. From new bright yellow #2 Ticonderoga pencils to new school clothes to a perfect clean slate–not just for students, but for teachers as well. It's your chance to try for the gajillionth time to open the door of possibilities.
It's right there just open it.
What lies beyond is the magic they call teaching.
Best wishes to all my teacher friends as they start a new year!
Sunday, May 18, 2014
I am thankful.
Very, very thankful.
And not only am I very, very thankful, I am fearless.
For the first time in a gajillion years, this is the first May I don't have to worry about being "IT!" (And that, my friends, is merely by default since I am retired.)
As you all know, this time of year brings out news reports of the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it when some yearbook debacle erupts after the delivery of spring yearbooks. It's becoming more and more an annual tradition exacerbated by social media that plasters such failings and fuels the controversy.
It didn't take long before the first yearbook debacle made its way to the evening newscasts (and we're only mid-way through the month).
So far, the winner goes to Yukon High School in our neighboring state of Oklahoma in what the news media has dubbed a "yearbook fiasco." School officials are scrambling to have 1,100 yearbooks returned to remove an "unflattering" photo of a female student. One student told reporters, "You could just see up her skirt, but you couldn't see anything."
Great. Just Great.
To all my former colleagues who have already had their books delivered, let us be thankful that this mess is north of the Red River, and let me join you in harmony and solidarity as we all shout:
"NOT IT! NOT IT! NOT IT!"
Saturday, April 19, 2014
I recently attended The Dallas Morning News' 23rd Annual High School Journalism Day & Competition. I along with my buddy, retired publications adviser extraordinare Mary Pulliam had been working with the folks over at The Dallas Morning News with their event and we even facilitated a session for advisers.
It was a win-win for everyone involved, but most importantly the kiddos who attended were the real winners. They got to meet staffers at The Dallas Morning News, participate in a contest that exposed their talents to professional journalists, and, of course, there was a pretty nifty catered lunch thrown in as well.
But as successful as the day was, it wasn't without a certain level of disappointment. Absent from the day's events was the school I formerly taught at along with a number of other schools who used to attend but opted out. Schools like my former school that used to win awards every year.
I don't know why these schools decided not to come. I'm sure they were busy. For many teachers, it was the end of the six weeks, so perhaps they were behind on grading. Perhaps their advisers were still struggling with finalizing their spring yearbooks or a looming newspaper deadline. Perhaps their principals wouldn't let them come.
But perhaps they should have juggled their schedules and made the time to come. Or at least, had their kiddos send in their contest entries.
Because in the end, what they really opted out of was what was best for their kiddos. And I don't think that is what teaching is all about.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
It's Sunday night and I've finally sat down to blog away.
I've turned on HGTV's "Beachfront Bargains" for fun. While I'm fairly certain that my life will never be blessed with a beachfront bargain must less a beachfront, I am semi-comforted by the fact that I am not running around crazed trying to juggle yearbook deadlines, newspaper deadlines and end-of-the six weeks grades.
Ok… so it's not a semi-comfort. Rather, it's a full-fledged "NOT IT"-ecstatic-full-throttle-extravaganza celebration here.
My publications adviser friends are not so lucky. Take a brief glimpse into their world:
One changed her profile to this…
Another felt obligated to let their yearbook company know that they were working on those pages (as if they needed to) on the weekend.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Part of my problem is that by the time I actually sit down in front of my computer, my moment of brilliance has long since passed (of course, that assumes it was there to begin with), and I can't quite seem to formulate what in the Sam Hill I wanted to blather about.
Now I am reduced to grasping at snippets of memories of all the things I wanted to say. I wanted to give you three snippets, but I could only remember two…
Snippet #2… Goals & Expectations… We expect our students to have goals, and clearly we have expectations for them. Now that I've launched my (ad)venture in real estate, I, too, am supposed to have goals, and my office manager has expectations. So I zipped out to the nearest office supply store with my $10 off coupon and purchased two white boards, an assortment of dry erase markers and some nifty bulletin board squares--All so I could list my goals.
With only five months left to achieve my goals, my whiteboard screamed at me mocking me in black, red, blue & green ink all my shortcomings. Now I can see clearly why so many of our kiddos either fail to make goals or settle for mediocre ones. It's easier to wipe the board clean and come up with an easier, more do-able list. After all, isn't that the point of dry erase markers? To make life easier and allow more do-overs.
But I'm not that girl.
And life isn't easy.
And you often don't get do-overs.
I had to give myself my own YMCA Yoda speech: "Do, or do not. There is no try."
Saturday, November 9, 2013
For someone who has retired and is supposed to have free time, I find myself recognizing this truism…
I'm so busy now I don't know how I ever found time to work before.
Of course, part of that could be launching my new (ad)venture in real estate.
But I don't think so. Somehow I have managed to fill in all the spaces between the hour hands with stuff to do. Lots of stuff to do. Main difference is that, for the most part, it's all stuff I like or want to do except I never, ever seem to find enough time to devote to writing. So before that gets away from me, I have three important things I wanted to share… So we'll call this post Show &Tell…
Show & Tell #1…My blogging buddy & teacher friend John Pearson is a contestant on the Jeopardy Teachers Tournament. (Some of you may know him as Mister Teacher).
How cool is that? The tournament begins Monday (that's Nov. 11). You can check out the times and station by clicking here. His episode airs on Thursday. So let's all support John and give it a watch.
Show & Tell #2…For the most part, pretty much all my training in my latest (ad)venture has been pretty good unlike the beating one normally takes in teacher professional development days.
In fact, these real estate people take their professional training pretty seriously. They lock the doors when it's time to begin. So, if you aren't there on time, you are out of luck. You actually have to pay attention or the monitor will come by and tell you to. In the last one I attended, they fined you if your cell phone went off because it's supposed to be turned off or silenced. See what I mean. No shenanigans. No siree, Missy.
But, most importantly, they take their food and snackage seriously. One session I attended had a catered lunch with turkey pesto, chicken salad and crab cake sandwiches, goat cheese empanadas, wild rice salad, fresh fruit salad and sweet potato chips. We also had a morning snack and an afternoon snack. Snacks ranged from ice cream to a variety of delicious popcorn to fresh fruit.
All of that was a very good thing since the instruction (for the first time since I've been doing this) was sub-par. (And by sub-par, let me just say it took 25 minutes to highlight one item. Really. Yes. Really. I would have rather poked my eye out with a pencil.) At least the food and snackage was enough compensate for it.
Which brings me to two other truisms…
#1… If you're a bad teacher, you shouldn't teach. Anyone. At any place. At any time. For any reason. And I mean period (and not an Obama period either).
#2… If for some reason, you must have a bad teacher, then the food and snackage needs to be of high enough quality to compensate for the bad teacher. Raise your hand if you agree. Thought so.
Show & Tell #3…
|Howard the Shelter Cat with his favorite Marine Corp blanket|
And while I believe everyone should thank veterans all the time, at least remember those who safeguard our freedoms on this special day. While I appreciate all veterans, Howard the Shelter Cat and I are particularly fond of Marines.