Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Check Your Ego at the Door

One of my secret pleasures is watching fixing shows like Restaurant Impossible and Kitchen Nightmares.  It makes going out to eat questionable but I do love seeing the process move from stubborn denial to grateful acceptance.  

male with white hair and white chef coat, Gordon Ramsey

Last night, my husband and I watched an old Kitchen Nightmares episode where an owner was convinced her food was spectacular, she did a great job running the business and the employees were the cause of her failure.  While we watched Gordon Ramsey work his magic (brow-beat her into submission), I started thinking about the teachers I know and the future teachers I work with now in my role as a Field Supervisor. Once a teacher, always a teacher - everything is about learning. I realized that the biggest problem all these restaurant owners have is the inability to check their ego at the door.  They are so caught up in what they do brilliantly that they are closed to any idea of changing what they do to make things better.  And that is exactly what holds back teachers, too.

Albert Einstein sitting

When we first begin learning something new, we willingly ask for advice, read up on new ideas, and accept critiques.  But once we have learned, even a little bit, we start to shut down.  You don't need to teach me how to handle behavior.  I've got this.  I don't need to learn how to make my projects more inclusive and more engaging.  I already know how to create projects. The children love what I do and love coming to class. I'm fine.

Old man's face

By not checking our egos at the door, we are creating a sameness.  We allow our classroom to work for just the "average" student, because the rest will come along in their own time.  We accept that "that kid" will always just mess up group work and class lessons, because that's what they do.  We encourage a baseline of instructional activities that may or may not include engaging activities, may or may not teach all our children, may or may not allow for adjustments as needed.  Because there is no need.  We have it covered.

Paper dolls all gray

So this is a plea to all my educator friends, to all my student interns, to all my administrator connections.  Please, check your ego at the door.  Allow yourself to be open to learning and growing.  Never be afraid to tell yourself and others that, although you know how to handle behavior, there might be some new ideas that will help you teach students how to handle their own behavior.  Live with the idea that, although you planned projects for years, there might be new ways to connect with other classes for a project or new ideas to reach every single child in your class during the project.

I clearly remember when I went to Responsive Classroom training.  I was a veteran teacher already.  I had worked in some of the most difficult inner city schools, knew how to create a "family" so the children would want to behave, and really never had too many issues (except for "that kid").  But I wanted to go to the training because I visited a district where they implemented the whole RC program and I was impressed.  So off I went.

It was difficult for me to check my ego.  I wanted to prove I really didn't need this.  Just give me the games and the posters.  I'll do the rest.  But, slowly throughout the week of training, I began to see things differently.  Maybe "that kid" had much more I could work with than struggles with behavior.  Maybe the group project could work better if I taught the children how to work together very explicitly first.  Maybe I could make all my students feel special and wanted each and every day - even just by starting the day shaking hands and saying good morning to each child.

Two hands in a hand shake

The very first year working with RC changed my classroom completely. My students were more excited to be in school.  They were more responsible and independent learners.  They advocated for their learning.  Behaviors were almost completely eliminated.  I, the veteran teacher, the expert, could actually learn to change and, in the changing, make things better.  Later I learned more about Universal Design for Learning and CAST, which just lent itself perfectly to my RC classroom. 

Now that I am retired, I can look back on my career in the classroom differently.  I changed grades quite often, moving around in elementary school and even leaving the classroom and working with gifted students and teaching science to all the elementary students.  I looped with my class three times, which effectively eliminates duplicating projects, since the children already did said project with me.  I created new lessons, units, activities, projects every single year.  And I loved it.  I loved discovering new tools.  I loved working with new teachers, in and out of my school.  I loved going to conferences and coming back with new ideas. 

Cartoon head with top of skull open and gears coming out

I love learning.  I still do. I have become a pretty active pickleball player in my retirement.  I never even saw the game played before.  I am on a 14 day streak in DuoLingo.  I will learn Spanish.  I will learn Spanish.  I have started cooking.  (For those that don't know, I never cook.  My husband is a great chef so why should I take that away from him. LOL)  Now I make soups and casseroles.  Still can't handle a meal because the timing throws me but I can make something that is easy to heat up later.  

Cartoon pickle with paddle and ball

By keeping the learning going, I am forced to keep my ego in check.  How will you keep the learning going in your classroom?  Go to a conference?  Read a new book?  Follow someone new online?  Be brave.  Be a learner.  Check your ego at the door and go ask for help.  You never know what will come of it.

figure of human with a large question mark behind it

Sunday, September 18, 2022

UDL and Purpose

More and more educators today are learning about Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  Whole districts and whole states are taking up the cause, demanding teachers incorporate UDL strategies into their lesson plans, training teachers in the use of UDL tools, and hoping this translates into greater learning for children.

But many educators seems to be missing the whole point of UDL.  Adding fidget toys, flexible seating, and colored paper does not make a UDL friendly classroom.  Handing tools over to the one struggling student does not make a UDL friendly classroom. Adding technology to your lesson does not make a UDL friendly classroom.

Colorful selection of Fidget Toys

So what does make a UDL friendly classroom? 

My goal as an educator was always to help each and every one of my students be a lifelong learner.  In order to do this, I needed to make learning accessible and engaging for all of them.  And this is where UDL comes in.

An apple sits on books next to text

The website is a font of knowledge in this area.  On their website, they state: "The goal of UDL is to support learners to become "expert learners" who are, each in their own way, purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal driven. UDL aims to change the design of the environment rather than to change the learner."

Change the environment rather than the learner.  Wow.  That is powerful. While this doesn't mean we stop remediating and reteaching, it does mean we rethink the classroom environment for all students.

What does this look like in the classroom?  I wrote about this in an earlier blog that you can see here. Today, I want to talk about purpose.

Every single thing you do in the classroom should be done for a purpose.  

You want a carpet in the room?  Why?  So children can crowd around you while you read outloud?  Then be sure to put a chair at the top of the carpet and books all around.  You want a carpet so children can come to the floor to work while you are teaching a lesson?  Then put your carpet in front of the board and have clipboards available for hard surface writing.  You want a carpet because it looks colorful.  Get rid of the carpet.

Children in elementary school sit on a carpet designed with blocks of colors
Little Johnny clicks his pen all day, driving you crazy.  You decide to give him a quiet fidget toy.  Good idea.  But what about Little Samir, who doesn't drive you crazy.  He just wiggles in his chair all day, folds his papers back and forth, and struggles to pay attention to lesson.  Guess what? He could also use a fidget toy.  But you only gave one to Johnny. Make the tools available to all your students.  Spend some time teaching them what all the tools are for and trying them out. 

Remember, your goal is to help the children become expert learners, on their own!!! How will Samir know a fidget toy will calm him down if he never tries one?  How will Stacey know a fidget toy will distract her if she never tries one?

Young girl holds fidget toy in front of her face

I think a lot about cell phones in classrooms today.  I will readily admit that I really only worked with elementary children so it wasn't too much of a distraction in my classroom.  But...guess what?  I have a cell phone!  Every adult I know has a cell phone.  And many of the adults I know get very distracted by their cell phones throughout the day.  Me included.  I have learned that, when I am working on something important, I have to put my phone away.  And if I want my husband to really listen to me, I ask him to put his phone away before I start to talk. So I use what I know and apply it to the classroom.

Young woman looking distractedly at cellphone while holding a book

At the beginning of the year, help your students learn how to learn with a cellphone.  Teach a lesson while they have unlimited use of their phones.  Then give them a quick (ungraded) test on the lesson.  

Did they learn what you wanted them to learn?  Great!  Let them use cellphones.  Did some of them learn?  Those children can use cellphones.  Did all of them miss points?  Discuss this.  Why did they miss those points?  What was distracting them from learning?  How can this be managed?  Now you start to create rules for individual students.  Or rather, they start to create rules for their own learning.

Students using cellphones successfully while working

I remember one year I had a BYOD policy in class.  One child brought in his cellphone.  I was sceptical but went along with it and just monitored what was happening.  Turns out he knew he could focus better on a tiny screen than while looking at our big screen.  He could write better while finger tapping his keyboard than he could while using his whole hand on a keyboard.  So he got to use his cellphone in class.  He also learned that playing videos or games was distracting so the rule for him was no videos or gaming during lessons.  He followed the rule because he was responsible for his learning and I gave him the opportunity to try to learn while playing a game.  It didn't work.

Create an environment with many, many tools around the room.  Have those tools accessible for the children at all times.  Teach them how and when to use the tools.  Then let go.  Let children get up in the middle of the lesson to get a tool to use.  Let them request assistance in the middle of the lesson.  Then provide what they are asking for.  Remember that your goal is to create lifelong learners.  So help them learn HOW to learn.  Then let them soar!

Young girl holds toy plane above her head

Friday, September 9, 2022

Learning - Becoming "Woke" in America

When I was younger, Columbus Day was a big deal. The reason, most importantly to my young self, was we had a day off of school.  And, in school, we "studied" Christopher Columbus.  He was a great explorer who braved unknown waters and lands, met and greeted new people, shared materials with the "savages" he met and even helped to "civilize" them.  How proud I was to be an American, living in this great country, discovered by this great man.

American Flag waving

I never thought any differently about this.  I loved the parades, loved the day off, and believed every word I was taught.  And then I went to college.

In my last year of college, in one of my very last classes, I took a course on teaching in an inner-city school system.  The professor opened my eyes to more than just a different way of growing up in America.  He introduced me to a book I read with shock: Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen.  

Cover of the book Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen

It was this book that introduced me to Columbus as a brute who did not even make it to the United States.  I learned about the smallpox blankets he passed out to the Native Americans.  I learned that the people he met were already "civilized" and not in need of his support.  I learned about babies taken from their parents and parents taken back to Europe as slaves.  Basically, I learned Columbus is not a man to be celebrated but one to be taught about so it never happens again.

Picture of Columbus with a quote

And then I started teaching.  My first few years, Columbus Day was ignored.  We had a day off but I never mentioned why, other than calling the day Columbus Day.  I avoided the issue completely.

Once I started teaching second grade in my fifth year of teaching, I had to figure out a way to deal with this.  Second grade centers around holidays.  Each holiday is taught, bulletin boards are created, books are read.  And all the books about Columbus painted him as a great explorer, leading us to this New World, saving us from the savages. So when the books were sent to my room, I put them in my Columbus basket but didn't read any of them.  We colored a picture, that I sent home, and still, I ignored the situation.

Columbus coloring page

I had to figure out how to handle the topic, while keeping the peace with my administrators and my parents.  So I taught about the "savages" instead.  I taught my students about the wonderful accomplishments of the Taino people, who they were, and where they live today.  Eventually I got the book Encounter by Jane Yolen.  This book helped me tell the story of Columbus with a very different viewpoint.

Cover of the book Encounter by Jane Yolen

"Why," my students asked, "do we have a holiday celebrating this man if he was so bad?" Ah, the ultimate question.  And, as I grew as an educator, and, especially once I moved to upper grades, I explained more.  I explained clearly who was, and is, still harmed by exploration.  I explained why history and history books tell it to us so differently, who is telling the story, and whose story is not being told at all.  I explained that as we know better, we do better.

I became a better teacher for learning more about this holiday.  And I believe my students became more understanding learners.  We all woke up.  

Today, in America, we are afraid to be "woke".  This is a bad thing.  In fact, it is so bad that certain governors of certain states have made teaching this type of history against the law.  So back we go, to a time when Columbus was a great man to be revered.  But I cannot go back.  And I hope, with all my heart, that my students remember what I taught them and find they cannot go back either. 

Governor DeSantis at a podium that says Stop Woke Act
So this year, when you come upon Columbus Day, read the chapter in Lies My Teacher Told Me about it.  And see how you will change.  (And then go on to Thanksgiving.  Your lessons will need major overhauls.  Don't hate me for it!

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Why I Became a Teacher

A common question among educators, usually used as an ice breaker, is this: Which teacher made you want to become a teacher and why? Typically that answer leads to stories about amazing teachers who were encouraging and exciting.  The person who gives the answer often even still keeps in touch with that educator.  Everyone listening smiles, nods, and walks away with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

A chalkboard with writing

When I am asked that same question, the answer isn't quite as easy to answer.  I didn't become a teacher because of that one special teacher I had.  I became a teacher because of the bad teachers I had (and some good).  I swore I would create a classroom where no child would have to go through what I did in school.  So here are some lessons I learned from all those teachers.

Sad boy sitting at desk with shadow of teacher behind him

Lesson One: When a child returns to class, from a pull-out or an illness, welcome them back in and help them reacclimate to the situation.

This one comes right from nursery school.  I went to a cooperative nursery school.  We had two teachers, one of whom was Miss Helen.  Miss Helen was my pull-out teacher.  She worked with me each day on reading.  I wasn't a remedial reader.  I was an advanced reader.  So, each day, while the rest of the children did ... I don't know what they did...I went into a small room with Miss Helen and we read books.  I loved working with her and felt proud to be a reader.  

But, when we were done, I was returned to the general classroom confused and lost.  Miss Helen just dropped me off at the door and left.  And the classroom teacher ignored me walking in.  So, at 3 and 4 years old, I was left to figure things out for myself.  It made me feel uncomfortable and not a part of the class.

Please, educators, help children come back into your classroom.  It takes just a minute or two, but is invaluable for the child.

Cartoon children playing with toys

Lesson Two: Welcome EVERY child into your classroom!

After nursery school, I went to public school.  I was put into kindergarten, where the teacher decided very quickly that I didn't belong there.  After what I assume was testing and meetings with my parents and other staff, it was decided that I should skip kindergarten and move right into first grade. 

In October, I was moved into Ms. Onsrude's class. She was an older, near retirement, teacher who made it very clear from the onset that she did not believe I belonged in her classroom.  I was, as she told the class often, "just a baby." She said it when I got an answer wrong.  She said it when I was caught "playing" with my imaginary friends. She said it when I was tired and wanted to rest after recess.  She allowed the other children to bully me, just the way she did.

Please, please, please accept every child into your classroom.  We all have children we struggle to love, the ones who are never absent, the ones who wreak havoc wherever they go.  They need to be accepted too. Fake it, but make them feel wanted and loved.

Phone with image of baby

Lesson Three: Make a Community in Your Classroom

Second grade brought me into Ms. Pinkiss' class.  She was my favorite teacher.  She was a hippy - long, red hair, long flowing skirts, love and peace all over.  She created a community.  I wasn't aware enough at aged 6 to figure out how she did that.  But I came into her room with many of my first grade classmates.  I was bullied all through first grade so these children just kept things going.  Ms. Pinkiss wouldn't allow it.  

I don't know what she did to stop it but I felt special and loved in her room.  And I know the rest of the children did as well. We had dance parties with Partridge Family records, accomplishment parties when we all finished a unit and did well, and we cheered each other on during games.  She created an amazing community that year.

Create a community. Make every child feel part of the community and take time to make it inclusive, kind, and fun.

Partridge Family album

Lesson Four: Laugh, laugh, laugh.

For fourth grade I had Miss Balkind.  She was a tough teacher.  Didn't accept any crap from anyone.  But every day, she laughed.  She laughed when we did something great.  She laughed when we messed up.  She laughed when we dropped all our books. She laughed when we got a compliment from another teacher.  She just spent her day laughing.  She had so much fun in the classroom that we laughed right along with her.  It didn't matter that she pushed and pushed and pushed us to do our best. We were having fun learning. And we learned to laugh at ourselves (ok, I'm still working on that).

Find the joy in the classroom. Laugh often and bring the children into the laughter.

Man rolling on floor laughing

Lesson Five: Each child should make at least a year's progress in a year's time.

Grade five was Mr. Capenegro.  I can't tell you much about him as a teacher.  I don't know if the other children liked him.  I only know that, at the beginning of the year, he told my parents that I already knew the fifth grade curriculum so it was okay with him if I sat in the back of the room and read all year.  

I can't tell you why my parents accepted that.  That's another story for another time.  What I can tell you is that I loved sitting and reading all day, every day.  But I learned absolutely nothing from the teacher that year.  I didn't do class projects with the others, unless I wanted to.  I didn't pay attention during lessons, unless I wanted to.  I didn't do homework, unless I wanted to. 

It was from this class, more than any other, that I started to develop my understanding of how to work with an advanced child. 

Never have a child in your class become the assistant teacher.  It is not their job to check everyone's work simply because they finished first.  Never let a child skip an assignment because they already know the material.  Challenge them with new ideas based off of what they already know. Give them a different, equally fun and engaging, assignment. Expect them to make progress, too.

Girl at school desk with lightbulb going off by her head

Lesson Six: Expect the most from your students.

Finally, high school. Mr. Boloker was my English teacher.  I first encountered him in 10th grade.  I loved his class, participated in the discussions, and got pushed in my thinking.  

But what he did that most impressed me was to give me a failing grade on my first paper. It was a report we were assigned for homework about a book we read in class.  I had participated in all the class discussions, read and loved the book, and went home to do the assignment.  But I did the assignment the way I had learned to do all my assignments - quickly and at the last minute.  Get it done fast.  I always got A's so why try harder?  Mr. Boloker knew better.  Maybe he read my file.  Maybe he learned more about me from class discussions.  But what he knew was the paper I wrote was less than I was capable of doing. 

So he failed me.  And told me to try again. He told me he expected the brilliance in my writing that he heard from my voice in class. 

I was pissed! No A?! "I'll show him!" I thought. So I went home and really worked on that paper.  I included quotes from the book.  I made connections to other stories we had read.  I dug deep and wrote my very first well-written essay.  I got an A, took as many classes as I could with him, and continued to work to my full potential.

Learn who your students are and what they are capable of doing.  Then expect that brilliance every single time!

Book report paper with F- on it

Why did you become a teacher?  What did you learn from your teachers about how to teach?

Scrabble pieces that read TEACH


Friday, August 19, 2022

On Being Jewish in America

I grew up in a middle class neighborhood on Long Island in New York. This neighborhood had a nice mix of people with different religions. Quite a few of us were Jewish, traveling to Hebrew School together during the week, meeting up at the Synagogue on Friday nights and Saturdays for services. We were the only family that kept a Kosher home, but it wasn't a big deal. My mom still hosted big dinner parties, I still ate over my friend's homes, and I didn't really think much about being Jewish. It was just what we did.
Jewish family sitting around a dinner table

Once I started public school, things began to change. The school district was mostly Christian and it ran that way. The school was always decorated for the Christian holidays. Chorus songs around the holidays were all about Christmas, with Rock of Ages thrown it as an afterthought. Jewish holidays were not school holidays so we missed school on the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), brought matzah sandwiches for lunch during Passover, and never did any after school activities on a Friday night or those Hebrew School days.
Close Up of Christmas Tree on a Teacher's Desk
Close up of Christmas tree on teacher's desk

Children started to see us differently. We ate strange foods, missed school for strange reasons, missed activities everyone else went to. Teachers were no help. I have a very clear memory of us complaining in Hebrew School that a major test was being given in high school math on Yom Kippur and we couldn't miss the test. The rabbi stepped in and wrote a letter to the school about the issue. The test was moved to the next day, which meant no studying the day before the test (reading and writing is not allowed on Yom Kippur) so it was still a struggle to do well on the test. The teacher actually told the class he was sorry the date had to be changed but he had to accommodate me. That made me very unpopular.
Difficult math test with pencil and calculator

In my teen years, I started to move away from Judaism. I heard things in Synagogue I didn't quite believe in and, when I asked questions, I was basically shut down. So a few years after I completed my bat mitzvah, I stopped going. Judaism, like any other religion I looked into, just wasn't for me. I saw religion as a way to separate humans instead of connecting us and I wouldn't be a part of that.
Hand separates one stick figure from a group of stick figures

But leaving Judaism didn't mean I was no longer Jewish. Being Jewish is a race, a heritage, a culture. (I'm not getting into that here.  Do some research if you are curious.) I would be part of that forever. And here I am, almost six decades into life, still looking at what that means.

Man standing talking to woman in wheelchair

Let's start with looks. I was endowed with the typical Jewish nose. I was teased about it in school and hated everything about it. Not one model in any magazine, not one leading actress in the movies or on television had this nose. Barbra Streisand was an anomaly and not usually called beautiful. Large noses were not considered beautiful. See the comic below for proof. When I was 16, my grandmother offered to help me get rid of it. I jumped at the chance and made myself not look Jewish.

I think about that now. My daughter had the same nose and, when she said she was uncomfortable with it, I had her nose done, too. Anything to make things easier. But now I think it was a mistake for both me and her. Or was it? We have, in our society, been changing our ideas about beauty. Skin color can be more than just white. Hair can be curly, even frizzy. Even disabilities are deemed beautiful. But we still don't see Jewish noses as beautiful. Why is that?

What about percentages? In the world today, about 0.2% of the population is Jewish. Most of those live in Israel and the United States. In the United States, most of the Jewish population lives in New York, California, Florida, and New Jersey. I didn't understand why this mattered until recently. When I first graduated college, my husband and I moved to Dallas, Texas. They were hiring hundreds of teachers and I needed a job. I lasted one year. The prejudice was incredible. Blacks against whites, Christians against Jews. My students, my precious nine year old students, who loved me and loved my class, asked me quite seriously, after I took off school for the High Holy Days, where my horns were. I didn't know what they were talking about. When I asked, they told me their religion teacher told them Jews have horns because they are devils. I told them to have the religion teacher call me. She never did.
Statue of Moses with horns

I moved back to New York and, eventually, got hired in Herricks, where I remained until I retired. When I started in Herricks, we decorated the building for Christmas and Easter. I spoke up. The principal listened and we added some Jewish decorations. I spoke up again, along with some parents and other teachers, and we finally stopped decorating for the holidays. My school was a safe, comfortable place to be Jewish. Even though we were still the minority, there were more of us there than anywhere I had ever been, except for Synagogue.

Today, I live in North Carolina. Before I moved, I looked up Synagogues in the area. I haven't joined but just knowing they are here makes me feel a bit more comfortable. Because I don't look Jewish, people don't know, unless they ask. But I have never felt like more of a minority. Every hospital is church affiliated. This means all the doctors have religious signs in their offices, all the forms ask if your faith is strong or if you need help, and everyone blesses me everywhere I go. (I never answer religious questions on medical forms. It's totally unrelated to my health.) Even many of the stores and restaurants have large hangings of Jesus or crosses. There are more churches here than I've ever seen before.
Doctor in scrubs holding a cross

Now, none of this would really matter to me except for what's happening in the news today. Each headline is linked to the original article.

Here is a headline: (JTA) — Bruce Reinhart, the federal judge in Florida who signed the warrant allowing the FBI to raid former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property on Tuesday, has been hit with a wave of antisemitic threats online.

This one came in while I sit and type this blog:Ron DeSantis Called out by Jewish Leaders Over Doug Mastriano Rally

As I read about how Trump took pages from Nazi Germany, it is hard to wrap my head around the fact that antisemitism is on the rise. And I am living in a place where I am a true minority. Will it get worse or better? Should I be worried? I don't know. But the more I hear about it, the more Jewish I feel. And the more scared I get. Just my two cents.
Sad emoji

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Another Update

I've been very remiss in writing and submitting blogs.  I think, each day, about a topic I'd like to write about but the time to do so never seems to happen.  Each time I sit at the computer, I fall down rabbit holes.  What latest news is out there?  What new shows and movies should I watch?  What's happening on Facebook?How's the stock market doing these days?  What weather catastrophes are on the horizon?  And, before I know it, an hour has gone by and nothing has been done on my blog.  So I am just going to start again. Here we go:

Hurricane Cloud
Hurricane Cloud over Earth

I have decided that this blog will evolve with me.  It started as an educational blog; a way for me to let the world know what I was doing in my classroom, to ask for advice, to give advice, to connect with everyone.  But I'm not in the classroom anymore so I don't have great projects to share or burning questions to be answered.  What I do have is curiosity and concern about the world and the country today.  So I will make my blog a daily (weekly? monthly?) report about whatever is on my mind at that moment. 

Drawing of retired woman sitting at desk
Older Woman Sitting at Computer

Sometimes the blog will be about education because, ultimately, that is my calling and my brain takes me there all the time.  In fact, just yesterday, while I was weeding in my yard (one of my most hated chores), I found so many fascinating things I would have loved to share with my class. I found a tiny eggshell, a HUGE earthworm, weeds with shallow roots and deep roots (wonder why they are so different), water flowing through the woods heading into my pond, honey bees all over my wildflowers, etc.  I would love to have my class here to just explore nature.

Cartoon lady pulling weeds
Angry Woman Pulling Weeds

Sometimes the blog will be about politics because the world is crazy and scary and I have way too much time to watch the news! And, I beg you all, if I write about politics, don't trash me if you don't agree.  Just calmly and kindly tell me WHY you disagree.  Start a conversation.  Don't shut one down.

Sign Language Hands Say Be Kind

Sometimes the blog will be about my job as Field Supervisor at Western Carolina University.  I supervise interns prior to their graduation as teachers.  It's my way of keeping myself in the game.

Sometimes the blog will be about things I have learned in life.  As I age, I find myself reviewing my life with new eyes.  That brings me to new learning so I will write about it.

Reflection of City in Eyeglasses

Whatever I blog about, I welcome conversation so please feel free to comment, reach out, etc.  But be kind.  We need more empathy and kindness in the world.  And I seriously cannot take any more anger and meanness.  

I look forward to connecting again!

Five People Holding Puzzle Pieces to Connect