Tag Archives: teacher

Sick with a cold

It’s actually probably a sinus infection. Now that my negative results are in I can call my doc for a telemedicine appointment and get an antibiotic. Since fevers and chills have been part of this I need the meds instead of just gallons of water and oranges and Theraflu.

I get one of these things 2-3 times a year most years. Looks like this year is no different. Except for the dread that goes through you when you feel like crap now because of covid.

I’m not working tomorrow. I’m so glad I don’t have covid, that my one week of real teaching week before last didn’t turn into a nightmare.

Our cases are hitting record levels again. We have more covid cases in the hospital than ever and hospitalizations and deaths lag positives so the next two weeks are going to be awful. We’re going to go through what my hometown is still going through now. I will never understand how we let this happen. How we let the angry President turn masks into a political statement.

How people followed him so fervently they accepted that his proven lies were real and that Dr. Fauci was lying. And then, when it was so clear COVID was real, people either continued parroting the lies OR they shrugged and said sucks so many people have to die.

We’re here now in this space of waiting with dread for what comes next for the nation. But two of the vaccines are going to be ready soon so help is coming.

I don’t have covid. I’m so, so thankful.

Do What You Can Do

“Do what you can do.”

When my principal said those words to me over a decade ago, I was so mad at him. He knew it too. He explained it wasn’t saying do bad work. It was saying do what you can do. Realistically.

This isn’t a year like the others.

It’s strangely easy to forget that.

But we can’t. Staying rested and finding a way to lessen anxiety as much as possible is essential. We must focus on health first because to do anything else is deadly.

Do what you can do is going to mean different things to different people. I’m going to work hard to not compare what it means for me to what it means for anyone else.

Do what you can do.

I’m telling myself I will hold these words close this year. When I can’t do, I will give myself grace. And I’m passing that on to my students also.

Year 27. Let’s do this.

Another Good Day

I’m going to quit posting about my good days, but I’m blogging my COVID experience, and since March there haven’t been many happy posts so….

Today started frustrating. I want fun interactive lessons for my virtual class kids so they don’t miss out so much on the discussion. Every kid will have the option to do the class with me in office hours or during conference time. But the nature of virtual is most kids do it when they can on that day.

We have to use programs that will embed in our Canvas. And, honestly, I don’t know a lot of what works for interactive lessons.

Enter Nearpod.

It took all day, a lot of trial and error and googling how to, but I have an intro first amendment lesson that is interactive and I hope interesting.

I have no idea what’s going on in the world except that the Stars are playing right now. And I’m okay with that.

So Wrong

A good friend in my hometown resigned today.

I am so, so sad.

How are we here? How are we in this place where people across the state and nation don’t take the virus seriously? Where they honestly think it’s politics?

Testing is way down. Probably because it was taking so long to get results. Our positive rate hasn’t changed though. Hospitalizations and deaths will go up. The virus is going to do what the virus does and we won’t do what we need to to get it under control.

So, so sad.

I Can’t Believe This

It’s a hoax.

It’s not real.

It’s just fear.

You can’t make me.

Masks don’t work.

No. I’m not doing that.

Cough…cough…cough.

No way! Freedom!

I want a haircut.

They’re faking the numbers.

There’s a cure.

I saw this video on YouTube.

Facebook keeps taking it down! Monsters!

Hydroxychloriquine.

Demon sperm?

Open the schools!

(Public health: holy crap no! Close the schools.)

Hahahaha hahahaha. Open the schools.

(Public health: we know how to control this. We can do it. But not if we open….)

We need normal. Kids need normal.

……………….

……………

……..

.

Guns are the problem

I tell myself I’d throw my body in front of a killer intent on shooting my students. I tell myself that every time there’s another school shooting. That means I tell myself this at least monthly and usually more often than that.

The last month more than one student died throwing themselves in front of killers with guns. And both of them have been lauded as heroes.

They are. They are heroes. But they are victims too. And I am so sick of reading people post about their heroism while defending the unending gun culture in this country.

These young people died because we have a problem we refuse to address.

Yes, it’s evil. Evil is everywhere. But we’re the country where gun violence is the second leading cause of death for young people. We’re the country where a school shooting has to have a bigger story to even make the national news. We’re the country where states decide to arm teachers in answer to the gun epidemic instead of addressing the real gun problems. Where prosecutors press charges on bartenders who serve mass shooters instead of fighting to change the gun laws.

Yes, the students who died this month throwing themselves in front of gun wielding killers are heroes. But they’re also tragic reminders that we are perfectly fine letting our children die in schools, in movie theaters, in shopping malls, at concerts, in churches, instead of saying no more.

Guns do kill people. They’ve killed an awful lot of kids since Columbine. And we’ve done nothing to try to fix that travesty.

Meditation Trial and Error: Tales From the Classroom

When I reach the end of my Calm session and the coach says “okay, now if you’re ready, open your eyes…” I’m never ready.

I have a giant class this semester smack dab in the middle of the day. The class that follows is not big, but they are loud and excited about life all the time.

I asked if they wanted to try breathing with the Calm app and they were all in.

So we sat in a circle and closed our eyes and focused on breathing.

About half the class broke after a minute. They couldn’t stop the laughter.

It does feel awkward to sit silently breathing the first few times you meditate. It’s just weird when we’re so used to constant bombardment from a million different directions. So I get it.

A few of us kept breathing, but the kids who laughed got busy working.

We’ve tried a few more times with the same level of success.

Then yesterday hit and the kids sat in a circle breathing, no laughter, no anything other than breath and peace. When I stopped they said “Nooooooo! That was like a minute.”

Nope. 2 minutes 48 seconds.

We made it to 4 minutes and started work.

Y’all, those four minutes were everything.

The stress of the day was gone for me AND for the class. They were so much more focused in their work. And they could not believe how much time had passed.

We don’t meditate every day, and it’s completely optional. The kids said they wished we would make it an everyday exercise.

Maybe we will.

I just really like this new leggings print.

Doubt Demons

I passed out doubt demons in class today. I started class showing off mine. His name is Freddy.

I told the kids I write novels and love words and help edit others’ work, and still there are times I sit at the computer and hate everything about everything. I hate the way the words look, they way they feel when I say them, the scene they’re part of. I hate the commas and periods and pronouns. I hate it all. And if I let it, that feeling will consume me and the work and it’s so bad I just want to trash it all and start something shiny and new and fun. Something I can LOVE. But with my doubt demon around, I can pick him up, put him on my finger and say, “Not today, Freddy. Not today.”

After I told my story, I broke out the demons and invited the kids to choose their own. No one had to, but if they wanted one, they could take one, name it and have it out at their workstations while they work the rest of the year.

I thought I’d been pretty open about my writing, but as I told my story today my kids sat there listening and nodding their heads and even saying “Yes!” at times. They’re halfway through the year and they’ve faced all the doubt struggles that come with interviewing and writing and designing and photo stories. They know their work is going to be published and it lasts forever and the pressure is real. Some of them write creatively outside our class. They understand doubt. But until today I don’t think it ever really connected that I know doubt too.

I hope the doubt demons help us all banish the negativity and embrace the reality that the doubt is just part of the process.

*I ordered my doubt demons at Archie McPhee.

I’m thankful to Angelique L’Amour who introduced me to Doubt Demons at last year’s DFW Writers Conference. If you get a chance, definitely take her classes!

What I’m Loving: Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead, LCHF, Finals!, Saginaw Night Writers, Quest nacho cheese flavored chips

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Books I’ve Loved This Year: Atomic Habits, Dumplin’

Teenagers, Teenagers

Spent today with teenagers who chose to give up their Saturday to compete in UIL Academics.

People trash talk teenagers all the time. But you know what? Young people make me happy.

They believe absolutely that they can do almost anything unless that belief has been sucked out of them. They will defend their beliefs with research and a well thought out argument. They are kind and caring and considerate, and they often reach out when they see someone hurting or alone. Even if they don’t know that someone.

They are smart! When I was in school we had to take math. Not Algebra. Math. And science? Physical Science and Biology. Social studies and English weren’t even required four years. Sure, some kids did more. But you didn’t have to to graduate. These kids take tons of tough classes and still work and juggle busy electives AND give up their weekends for UIL.

People talk about teen attitudes, and yeah, they can roll their eyes so far into the backs of their heads I wonder about their health. But you know what? Go hang out on twitter for more than five minutes. You’ll see they’re just in training.

Teenagers are great. Glad I got to spend my Saturday with a few.

Lessons

Be kind.

Help others.

Event + Response = Outcome

Everyone is just as busy as you are. We all have the same 24 hours.

When you’re feeling down, do for others. It will make you feel better.

When making a parent phone call, put yourself in that parent’s position and ask yourself what you would want to hear.

You can’t take words back.

Don’t speak in anger.

The universe listens and responds.

The Serenity Prayer is real.

The Golden Rule is real.

Say yes more.

Learn to say no.

You do you.

Written goals are better.

Dream big.

Make your own fun.

Perfection is impossible.

Deadlines are deadlines.

A clean desk is possible.

A messy desk isn’t a moral failure.

Ask.

Listen.

Love.