So. Asthma. Got that anvil dropped on my chest about 4 years ago. Out of nowhere. From running 5K races to not being able to power walk a block without having to stop to try to catch my breath, in a mild panic at the sound of-not wheezing, mind you- the gurgling in my lungs. My usual at-school workout 25-30 trips up and down the fire escape (pictured), doing curls/flys on every step with 5 pound weights? Became a one-up, one-down, do some stationary curls for a minute or two (hoping that people would just think I was doing interval training and hoping that sweat was a good camouflage for tears of frustration) before repeating the whole thing a few times. The worst were the nights, when I’d be dreaming that I was drowning, only to wake up and find out that I was. I spent quite a few nights trying to sleep upright to combat that particular terror.
So. Diabetes. Got that jab to the pancreas about 6 months ago (July 30, 2015 to be exact). It was also deduced that I’d been hosting the blood sugar monster for several years without diagnosis or treatment. With medication and a very low carb way of eating, I’m learning to keep the blood sugar in check. Of course, the other necessary ingredient in treatment is exercise. Refer to above paragraph to see how that was going for me.
So I climbed the fire escape. Up and down, catching breath in between each trip, still trying hard to look like an ultra-cool interval athlete. Ha. Freakishly strong arm and leg muscles, but cardiovascular strengthening? Nope.
I am planning to post on a regular basis this year (though I’ve been posting pretty regularly every 4-6 months; let me amend this to: I plan to post on a regular, more frequent basis this year). While there still may be a lack of rhyme/reason to post themes, there will be several areas about which I’ll want to write, get your opinions, or ask for your advice:
Education. The political side, or the classroom side. I teach Elementary age children of poverty, and have for my entire 32-year career. I am currently serving as the Music Teacher and Gifted Ed teacher at my school.
Philosophy/Politics. I am a left-leaning, born-too-late-to-be-a-real-hippie liberal, so my posts will reflect that.
I’m going to share more about some chronic health issues that have hit me like a sledgehammer over the last few years-Diabetes (the newest) and Asthma being the two that have hit me hardest. I will share how I’m dealing, and probably ask for a lot of advice (with the DISCLAIMER!I am not a doctor, and I know that you are not, so anything we share with each other will NOT be construed for, or be intended to replace, advice from actual medical professionals). Neither one of this conditions is actually under control, so you may hear a tinge of frustration as I write about them.
Cats. Of course.
And my kid. Of course.
So the 2016 Journey begins. Hope you’ll hang with me and maybe we’ll have some great discussions and learn some good stuff on the way.
The height of vanity, isn’t it, to reblog myself?
I was revamping my blog, going through posts and cleaning them up, when I got to this one that I wrote SIX years ago. It wasn’t terrorists that fueled the mean then, it was the fear of a drop in property value, which, wow. But it points to a different truth-do we just look for a reason to not welcome those in dire straits, because we might-gasp-have to sacrifice something in order to do so? I stand, during this Syrian refugee debate, in the same spot as I did with Haitian refugees six year ago.
“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”
Boggled. That is my mind right now–befuddled and boggled.
I read the comments section (I know, the last thing ANYONE sane should do is read the comments) that follows an online article about Haitian refugees being flown into the states, both adults to come stay with family members already here, and children and babies here to be taken in and adopted by Americans.
I’m not going to add any power to those comments by quoting them. You know the drill: a bunch of powerless ignorants who think if they spew enough garbage, someone will finally validate their existence. Hate and bigotry are their drugs of choice. It blows my mind to read such drivel.
Basically, the sentiment is that we should NOT be taking in our human brothers and…
I posted this 2 years ago and decided to toss it back to the top of the page in the hopes that it might change even a few hearts and prompt the owners of said hearts to think before they commit verbal abuse. A girl can hope. If it makes sense to you, feel free to share.
“I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.” -Mother Teresa
I am no big hero.
I would NEVER have called all Bush supporters a bunch of conservative morons. Why? Because not all conservatives are morons. Because it’s prejudicial and irrational. Because, no matter how I felt about W, the people who loved him simply disagreed with me. That doesn’t make them morons; it makes them human-there are as many opinions and philosophies as there are humans.
To paint any group with a broad brush is so unfair, so wrong, and though apparently I’m a Universal Unitarian according to the latest circulating survey and maybe not the resident expert, it is SO not Christian. And it’s pretty hate-filled as well, and I do disagree with hate. I suspect that those spewing the “liberal morons” meanstream
This post. Not my work, but it’s what I would have said, though maybe not as eloquently. Read and share if you would-if you know/are a teacher, parent, or student, you know how vital it is to return to the REAL priorities in education…and in life.
I posted this piece on my Facebook page as well. The truth and civility with which it was written are stunning. I encourage you to read every word, even when it feels a little uncomfortable, even when you recognize that there might be things that need to change in your paradigm, the worldview you were raised to find acceptable, and/or your own behavior.
Thanks to Everyday Feminism and Anni Liu for the amazing essay.
Click the link below to read this eye-opening piece.
This letter, from my friend and colleague Jenny, should be read by teachers and parents alike. After you read it, share it with a teacher, an administrator, your local School Board, and your legislators. These heartfelt words can help keep the tide turning away from profiteering and back toward what’s best for children.
As I walk the halls and parking lots of our schools I hear your cautious voices, your pleas to make sense of political madness, and your cries to create an educational system that makes sense again. I can see your tired eyes and your worry lines. I know that you are balancing the needs of my children, the demands of rigor, and the pressures of high stakes testing and accountability. I know you feel like you cannot do everything. I know that too often you feel you are failing someone – and most days, you are sad to admit, that it is children whom you fail the most. I see and hear your daily struggles between what is right for children and what is asked of you. And so I am writing to tell each of you to stop. Stop playing a game you will never win and start standing up for children.
(Disclaimer 1: Opinions are my own, though I suspect –okay, I know–many teachers and parents agree, and in no way are intended to represent the opinions or stances of my employers and other related entities)
This week, I have carried a crying child out of a classroom. I have rubbed a brave and sobbing boy’s back. I have led a pre-meltdown boy out of the classroom. I have seen chairs thrown, little girls crying under tables, and pencil tips broken in the hopes of Just. Making. It. Stop. It is only Wednesday and my third day of proctoring the week-long standardized test being given to the Primary students where I work. The class I’m working with? KINDERGARTEN. If these kids weren’t under the nurturing care of the dedicated staff at my school (an oasis in the inner city), all of us doing our best to just get them through this, I don’t know what this week would be like for them.
(this post dedicated to Rosina McVicker, Phyllis Ayoob, Karin Monday, Wendy Geller, Susan Clary, and the people of Our Companions Animal Sanctuary, and Siglinda at The Goathouse Refuge)
I’m starting my “Malevolence-Free Monday” with a thank-you note to the angels-on-earth who devote their hearts, homes, and wallets to Animal Rescue. In the attached video, there’s a line from Annette King-Tucker’s poem (credit below): “I know of no creature unworthy of my time.” That’s the Rescuer, in a nutshell. If every heart on our planet felt this way-and I don’t mean saying it, or posting a cute meme about it, but living it and exemplifying it with action? There would be no war, no hate, no bigotry, no superiority-dances being done by the jib-jab-looking talking heads on televison. Yes, the pundits would be out of business but you know, people not dying because of their skin color, orientation/identification, or beliefs, so okay. But I digress.
I am honored to know some rescue people. They are as diverse a group (as far as political views, socio-eco status, religious views or lack thereof, etc.) as you’ll ever find. They love and respect each other. They don’t waste their time with hard-hearted thoughts about each other because of their philosophical or political leanings. Why? Because at the core of their open and loving hearts lies the truth from Ms. King-Tucker’s poem: “I know of no creature unworthy of my time.” That’s not just a belief to a Rescuer-it has become a part of their DNA. These are, on so many levels, the most evolved humans on earth. I know this to be true. I also know that they are some of the most un-sung heroes; fortunately for us and for millions of animals, they don’t do any of it for glory or thanks. But they deserve some human gratitude. Which, I’ll grant you, is nothing compared to the grateful smile of a Pit Bull who was once used as a bait dog and is now looking at you from his side of the couch, waiting for you to throw the ball again-but hopefully, Rescue people, you’ll read this and share it with other like-hearted heroes. I want you to know how much I appreciate you:
This post from another blog uses a beautiful example of how some of our most bright, creative, and yes, “career ready” kids are being thrown under the standardized testing culture bus. I wonder how the execs at Pearson and other test-making/test prep companies who are making billions hand-over-fist can sleep at night.
(This is not MY resignation letter. It is a touching post that I’m re-blogging on my page.-Robin)
I have sweet, incredible, intelligent children sitting in my classroom who are giving up on their lives already. They feel that they only have failure in their futures because they’ve been told they aren’t good enough by a standardized test; they’ve been told that they can’t be successful because they aren’t jumping through the right hoops on their educational paths.
One of the most distressing characteristics of education reformers is that they are hyper-focused on how students perform, but they ignore how students learn. Nowhere is this misplaced emphasis more apparent, and more damaging, than in kindergarten.
A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined.
The time spent in child-selected activity dropped by more than one-third. Direct instruction and testing increased. Moreover, more teachers reported holding all children to the same standard.
How can teachers hold all children to the same standards when they are not all the same? They learn differently, mature at different stages – they just are not all the same especially at the…
I’ve often wondered about what’s going on in the heads of people who want to shame women for doing 1) as Matt wrote, doing what God intended them to do, and 2) doing what the same people will shame women for if they DON’T do it. Breasts are not ‘nasty.’ No body part is shameful, nor are their (God-created, remember?) functions. Click the link below for a fantastic blog post.
Call me stubborn, but I refuse to quit! T.R.U.E. G.R.I.T. is the foundation to success in learning and life! Exploring the dynamics of a successful classroom and how grit is a vital characteristic for student achievement