January 2007 Archives

Are slumps normal? I care about my students, I’m dedicated to my job and I think I’m somewhat competent at what I do. But as the days drag on, as the slush turns to ice, then back to slush again, I’m beginning to sense a loss of energy and enthusiasm. Some folks swear it’s because of “The Long Night” out here— it’s dark when you go to work in the morning and dark when you finally leave to go home. Other suggest it’s just post-holiday, mid-year stress. I don’t know what it is. ...

You can’t buy sympathy, my mother always said, and it’s probably the hardest thing to teach. My mother, a nurse, would say this proudly as my brother and I would bring home lackluster grades, but would wheel the grandmas and grandpas around the halls of the nursing home after school as we waited for her to finish her shift. Our grades weren’t stellar, but at least we were quick to hug the elderly folks with dementia and even faster to call out BINGO numbers during afternoon games. Unfortunately, sympathy, kindness and peace don’t always fit neatly ...

Don't get me wrong. I like Baby Einstein. The way my boyfriend's baby nephews gaze at the TV screen when those farm animals bobble about to Old McDonald mesmerizes me. And early childhood educational programming is a lucrative industry I wouldn't mind tapping into one of these days. But in the meantime, as my good friend and fellow teacher Joan Lee asked me after the State of the Union address... "Why the hell did Baby Einstein get more play than FAILING PUBLIC SCHOOLS?" Questions? Comments? Tips on how I too can take part in this multi-million dollar enterprising spirit of ...

I had a blog entry ready from a couple months ago about one of my students with mental retardation and physical disabilities. This is how it was going to start: I have a 14-year-old cowboy in my classroom who cannot add. He cannot remember the alphabet. And he most definitely cannot read. But even with a disabled hand and a limp, “Elmer,” who has mental retardation, can cut bales of hay. He can tell you which direction the sun rises. He can feed the horses, figure out which sheep are missing and make dinner in the microwave. Sure, there is ...

I called my mom after it happened last September. And she almost cried. Remember those eight years of piano lessons, I asked. Of course she did. Did she remember those eight miserable years of piano lessons where she had to drag me kicking and screaming to the piano teacher? Those years of piano where it seemed like she was paying $60 an hour to argue with me for five? Of course; how could any of us forget? Somehow over the past semester, more than a decade since that last triumphant piano lesson when I was 13, it all became worth ...

Isn't it amazing how the quality of one's winter vacation inversely correlates with the amount of work completed? It's Saturday night in Washington, D.C. I return to New Mexico tomorrow. My two week vacation is over. And here I am, desperately planning my third quarter agenda, writing lesson plans, piecing together math homework and wondering if I should procrastinate by writing a quick blog entry....


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