I have always been a proud supporter of public education. I started my teaching career in 1997 and I passionately believed that if we all continued to work together, we could make the world better for our children and teach them tolerance and acceptance. I believed that the best and most innovative learning environment was the result of a great teacher with a devotion to working with children. The best place for children to learn these things was, naturally, in a public school with a diverse environment. Then in 2002, the 107th Congress enacted the No Child Left Behind Act, and everything changed. In 2003, I had my first son, and took some time away from teaching. Going back into the classroom in 2008, I still had that passion. I was visibly enthusiastic about all the ways I could help my students learn. Then my son went into first grade and I started to worry. Continue reading
I know Kristen Schaal from her stalker role in Flight of the Conchords. She is also the voice of the character, Mabel, in my sons’ favorite show Gravity Falls. So, I figured I’d be in for some interesting, albeit awkward, comedy in her special on Comedy Central. Continue reading
In 1987, I wanted to be Baby in Dirty Dancing. My best friend, Esmeralda and I played mixed cassette tapes on the boom box in the garage and danced. I had permed strawberry blonde hair, freckles, rolled jeans, and I was going to be a dancer. Continue reading
Greeting card companies and the florist industry would never let us forget that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. In Minnesota, the group Minnesotans United for All Families will gather to celebrate Freedom to Marry Day at the Capital Hill in St. Paul. They support the belief that persons in same gender relationships should be allowed to be married. I can’t be there in person, but I’ll be there in spirit. My Aunt-in-Law, Pastor Anita C. Hill will be there. Yes, she is a woman, and a fully ordained pastor with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is also in a committed relationship with another woman. And, she is from Mississippi. Continue reading
Recently, a colleague in the teaching profession updated her Facebook status to say that her check was less this month due to increased taxes. Morale in the teaching profession is already low. Having a check be even smaller is just popping the blister on a burn. I’ve spent the last five years bringing home, at the MOST, $2022 each month, working 14 hours a day, and spending my own money on supplies. So, when I saw the preview for American Teacher on TV, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to watch it. When you are already burned out, seeing the pitiful state of education laid out in a film is like popping that blister and rubbing salt on it. Continue reading
My five-year-old, Hunter, got off the bus looking dejected and worn out. Always a source of unending energy and vigor, Hunter is only worn out when he is upset or sick. I asked him what was wrong, and he looked at me with teary blue eyes. “I got into trouble today.” I asked him what happened and he told me. He is persistent and confident. Hunter is not afraid of anything, and he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way when he wants to accomplish something. The story he told was that he didn’t finish his morning work, and he had to miss recess. Continue reading
You’re 34 weeks into your pregnancy, and you can’t tie your shoes. You haven’t seen your feet from a standing position in two months. You feel like your uterus is going to fall out any day now, and this kid inside you is training for soccer with your ribs. You haven’t been able to walk up the stairs without taking a break in five months. You wake up one day and find that your face looks like Jabba the Hutt’s. Your heart is racing and you have a headache rivaling your worst party-like-a-rockstar hangover. Pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy induced high blood pressure, is the culprit. You have a C-section, and all is well in the end. At least, you think it is.