Archive for May, 2010


Posted: May 26, 2010 in Learning...
Tags: , , ,

I woke this morning to a bitter, rancid smell. As I walked to the bathroom, the smell stuck to me. It stuck so close that I began to wonder if I smelled. I even smelled both of my forearms two times (I thought it might be my skin… that’s why I didn’t smell the pits).  I couldn’t tell, so I decided to just lay back down for a while. When my husband woke, he pinned it right away.

“Well, the dog crapped.”

“How do you know?”

“Don’t you smell it?”

Ah. So THAT was the smell. My mind must have been in a pretty deep morning fog to think that it was me… I can’t be held responsible for that.

I walked out into the living room and, indeed, the great dane had suffered a few bouts of not only explosive diarrhea, but also mucousy vomit. It reeked. I gagged just walking into the hall… nevermind cleaning up the dog, cleaning up the kennel and cleaning up the room. (Although my husband, the hero, did most of the work with the kennel.) When I took Harriet (the great dane) outside, she also had blood in her stools. Needless to say I was worried. My husband decided to stay home with her for the day to watch for any more blood.

But I had to get to school.

So I got ready and drove to school. A little late, but far before my first class. I was feeling pretty down about the whole situation. I was bummed and still grossed out by the mess that I woke up to and I also was worried and felt bad for Harriet. Really worried.

I tried to keep it on the inside, but finally during second hour, a student (not one of mine, but he visits sometimes) asked how I was. I answered, “Fine”, and asked him the same. “Fine” was his answer as well. Then, for whatever reason, I let it out. I told him that I woke up to a sick dog with lots of diarrhea and vomit this morning and it kind of made for a hard morning.

He nodded and then told me quietly that his bad day started last night. His foster parents were fighting again and the mom was threatening to leave. The foster dad’s answer to that was to accuse her of cheating. The student said he didn’t want to listen anymore, so he just went to bed. This morning he woke up and missed the bus, so he needed to walk the 2.5 miles to school.

That put it all in perspective for me. I felt bad for feeling bad. My day was “crappy”, but my life isn’t hard. I’m really pretty lucky. This student reminded me of the burdens that so many of our students silently carry to school every day. Would I be able to focus and persevere every day in a situation like that? I believe that people are strong and will (almost) always “make it work”, but I still sympathize  and wish for a better, easier life for each and every one of them.

After he told me his story, I told him I was sorry, and then smiled and said, “Hey. I bet it can only get better for both of us from this point on, today, right?” He smiled and agreed.


Does Superman exist?

Posted: May 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

“You can’t relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle. ”
Timothy Dalton 

So have you all heard about this new documentary that is coming soon to a theater near you? It’s called Waiting for “Superman”.

I look forward to seeing it. I also, however, fear the story that will be told. (Maybe it’s Michelle Rhee saying that our educational system is crap.)  I hope that it is not one-sided and more heavy on idealistic rhetoric than proven strategies that can extrapolate across all areas. Don’t get me wrong. I love idealistic rhetoric. It inspires me. But when it’s being used to create an “informed” public to work against the system instead of working together to improve it, I have a problem. I hope that won’t be the case.

I’m no superman. I do what I can, when I can, to make the educational process more meaningful for students; get more kids to buy-in, stay-in, and keep-it-in.  I have a lot of fun and really, really, enjoy why I get to go to school every day.  On good days, much of what we work through has recordable positive effects in students’ educational programs. We all do. We all struggle and succeed, struggle and succeed. I hope the struggles are honored as much as the successes.