Showing posts from April, 2015

To Be Enthusiastic....#sol15

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was one of the nominees to attend the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Retreat (HOBY).  Several of us were nominated and we were interviewed by our principal and teachers.  I remember nervously waiting outside the conference room for my interview, pretty shocked that I was a candidate.  7 students were nominated and I remember the others bantering about who they thought would ultimately be selected.  No one thought it would be me.  I think I was the most surprised when it was announced that I was selected to attend the HOBY Leadership Retreat at Marymount College.   At 15, I was not someone who left home often, never did the sleep away camp thing and didn't really go to sleepovers either.  This was a weekend away at a college with complete strangers.  I was petrified but also exhilarated that I had been selected and that my high school teachers saw so much leadership potential in me.  Even then, I tried to learn the lesson that Eleanor

Scenes from the Bus Stop and Beyond #sol

That's me on the left.  In the quite tight and short shorts (seriously, Mom, what WERE you thinking?), the only one not looking at the camera.  Instead, I'm beaming at my big sister,in her crisp maroon and gray plaid uniform, second from the right.  She was going off to school with all the "big kids" from the neighborhood, and man, did I want to go, too.   When you are the younger sister, you are always waiting for your turn, watching your older sister get to do it all before you.  Always a step behind.  When you are the younger sister and your older sister is naturally gifted, can put together a puzzle of the United States in under a minute at age 6, can name all the capitals of all the states, is good at drawing and fits into all the cute clothes you are too big to squish can be rather hard.  When she wins trophies and contests and full scholarships, you can see your work is cut out for you.  When she qualifies for the gifted program and you

If You Want to Be a Teacher...

Tomorrow is "Poem In Your Pocket" Day at our school! This is the poem I am putting in my pocket.  It is an excerpt from Random Thoughts: The Humanity of Teaching by Louis Schmier.  My favorite lines: "If you want to be a teacher, you have to be inspired and inspire." "If you want to be a teacher, you have to fall in love each day." If You Want to Be a Teacher By Louis Schmier If you want to be a teacher, you first have to learn how to play hopscotch And hide-and-seek, Learn how to watch a snail crawl, blow bubbles, Read Yertle the Turtle . If you want to be a teacher, listen to a distant train, Wiggle your toes in the mud and let it ooze through them, Stomp in rain puddles, And be humbled by the majesty of a mountain. If you want to be a teacher, you have to be inspired and inspire. If you want to be a teacher, you have to bring joy into everything, Watch in awe a sunset or sunrise, Ride on a swing, And respect even a

Metamorphosis & Transformation

Driving home from school, I asked my 4 year old son Alex about the caterpillars in his classroom.   "Are they butterflies yet? Did they go into their cocoon?" I ask. "Nope, still caterpillars.  It's going to take days and days," Alex says as he looks out his window.  And it got me thinking about caterpillars and butterflies, bare tree branches one day that are blooming buds the next, mothers 9 months pregnant one moment and holding a real live crying baby minutes later.   Miracles. Transformations.   Time.  Hope.  Faith. I've always loved the song "The Rose" and the image at the end, where the seed is under the snow, invisible to all. In the midst of a frigid and bleak winter, it is near impossible to envision that a rose is there, just waiting to bloom.  Spring brings renewal and transformation- plain and dare I say creepy looking caterpillars become spectacular butterflies. Amazing! Buried seeds blossom into exquisite blooming flowers

"Relaxing" Spring Break? #sol

It's Spring Break.  You would think I would feel relaxed, easy-breezy, soaking in the days without the usual hustle and bustle routine.  I'm NOT.  I am more stressed than if I was at work.  It's like working creates blinders where I can only see what is in front of me: the essential things that need to get done that day in preparation for the next. I'm too busy to notice the desk drawers cluttered with mystery papers, the closet in the office about to burst with a mish-mosh of school supplies, the toy rooms with crayons, markers, stickers, games, books, and little toy figures tossed all over the place.  The car with the crumbs in it.  The bathroom closet in disarray. The drawers filled with winter clothes that need to be put away in favor of lighter spring outfits, and the shopping that needs to get done since I was a size smaller last spring.  But now that off from work, all I notice is all I have to do and the frustration of not being able to get to any of it. With a

When Laws Are Unfair

"I think they're both kind of wrong," one of my brightest students says as we discuss the the book Sit Down: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney.  She goes on to explain that the people are wrong for shouting things and throwing things at the kids who are simply sitting at the lunch counter, waiting to be served, but the kids are wrong, she feels, because they are breaking a law.  Hmmm. I remember the stages of moral development and my third graders are squarely in that stage where you follow the rules because authority says to do that.  But I need to help them see, now more than ever, that unfair, mean, restrictive rules should be challenged. Like Rosa Parks did.  Like Ruby Bridges did. Like Susan B. Anthony and the suffragettes did.  Like the Opt-Out movement to stop the over-reliance on high-stakes testing, the ranking and punishment of teachers and schools based on faulty science, the efforts to privatize and put prof