Back to School Virtually…As a Retired Teacher

Covid-19 virus has brought me out of retirement and back to the world of education…virtually, that is.  I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on in the New York Times, in teacher/union magazines, and online to find out what’s happening in education and how teachers are coping with the monumental changes taking place in schools everywhere, virtually or otherwise. I’m simultaneously horrified by what’s happening in terms of teaching and learning during Covid-19 and awed by the ability of most teachers to carry on despite all the new demands placed on them.

To get a more reality-based point of view on the above, I participated in a virtual workshop hosted this past Saturday by the Long Island Writing Project (a local chapter of the National Writing Project started in Berkley, CA in the 60s). The topic was “Writing the Moments,” … an effort to get teachers to document in writing the monumental changes  occurring in education as they and their students struggle to adapt to remote and in-person teaching and learning. The presenter offered several options for documentation including notebook entries and using such online programs as Padlet to minimize the writing output from teachers pressed for time.

Teachers spoke of the toll it sometimes takes on them to teach online for three or four hours straight, unlike in-person teaching which allows them to walk around the room, take short breaks, observe students working at their desks, lean over students to help them and so on. Several described odd combinations of co-teaching a subject online, while a second teacher is simultaneously teaching students the same material in the same classroom. A shared complaint is tech glitches that interrupt the flow altogether, forcing teachers to stop in mid-lesson and run up three flights of stairs to a colleague who is more tech savvy. One of my former colleagues told me she retired from teaching because she couldn’t imagine being videotaped while teaching all day, every day, which is the option she was assigned.

There were several expressions of genuine frustration about how best to engage students in their new learning configurations. More than ever teachers are sharing approaches with colleagues that are and are not working for them on their own time and on weekends.  Their school days are jam packed with inservice training, planning with co-teachers and struggling to maintain contact with students and parents. It’s not going to surprise anyone that younger teachers who are more tech competent are feeling more in control of their teaching than those who are older, non-digital natives, struggling with computers, computer programs and the myriad applications of them currently in use. As an “older” teacher I spent my final five years of teaching acquiring these new tech skills while also adapting to the national Learning Standards. (From what I understand from reading articles about current teaching, the Standards have pretty much taken a back seat.) It was a pretty tall order for someone on the cusp of retiring!

But there I was…from 1 to 3  p.m. on a Saturday, with two trainers, and six teachers (including myself)  spending  precious time meeting online to discuss common concerns and ways to address them. I am sure it wasn’t the measly 1/2 professional credit that convinced any of us to give up a beautiful Saturday afternoon. It was, instead, the same old story. Being a dedicated teacher requires many more hours per week than just showing up to a screen or to a classroom of actual children for seven hours a day. It means putting in the time and effort to be the best teacher possible, no matter the circumstances.

A Special Teacher Teaches Special Kids Online

I’ve been thinking a lot about teachers lately as I try to imagine what it’s been like to become an online teacher practically overnight, which is the case for most teachers in the United States since late March. I am retired and so grateful I haven’t had to cope with this sudden switch in the mode of delivery of instruction but I am curious about those who are still in the trenches every day.  A young teacher I happen to know from his friendship with my daughter during their teenage years has become a teacher… par excellence …to a class of 10th and 11th grade autistic students in a public school in Queens.  Since March he has been teaching his students online and loves doing so…and they love him! My daughter suggested I sit in on his class one day; she was going to be his guest speaker. 

I sat in front of my computer screen at the appointed time, and quite punctually one after another of Mr. G’s students popped up in the Zoom gallery, most of them were visible; only a few were “off camera.” Then Mr. G. appeared: a large friendly face with a beard, twinkling eyes and a super big smile. I could already imagine how happy his students must be to see his face every day on their screens.

Mr. G welcomed each and every student by name…there were ten of them and they acknowledged his greeting. It was immediately apparent that some of the students were very expressive and articulate while others could barely say his name. In the case of one student  only the top of his head was visible for most of the class until Mr. G. asked him to show us his face which he did. Mr. G told us that almost all his students show up for his class almost 100% of the time!  This is definitely not the case with many of the teachers I’ve spoken to who are missing students or have students who appear only occasionally on screen.  I can only deduce that Mr. G is very popular with his students and their helpers/parents who are making an effort to get these kids online every day.

The topic the class was studying was “Careers and Skills.” This is not a class that is academically in sync with a typical high school curriculum. The purpose of this class is to maximize the potential of the students and to help them regulate themselves in order to have meaningful and successful social interactions.  

My daughter introduced herself as someone who plays the violin and who works in a violin shop. After each student introduced him/herself the teacher led them into asking my daughter questions about her job. It was clear that Mr. G had spent a lot of time preparing these kids to ask relevant and syntactically and grammatically correct questions. He would interject, for example, if a student used the word “Where” instead of “When,” or if the statement was not worded as a question he would help the student reframe the statement to become a question.

There was a lively back and forth exchange between the students and my daughter.  The teacher used  a spinning wheel (borrowed from an app) each time he chose a student to ask a question.  The wheel would spin, the arrow would point to a student’s name (pre-selected by Mr. G) and confetti would suddenly appear along with cheering sound effects to encourage the student to respond.  A simple device, yes.  Effective?  Very.  

Mr. G very carefully took the time to help each student achieve the goal of asking a meaningful question, praising each one who completed the task. “Tasks” was one of the words the students were learning in this unit on careers, so the also made frequent reference  to the tasks that would be required for such a career or job. 

As a former English as a New Language teacher, I couldn’t help but think there are many similarities to teaching students with autism and those who are learning English. Simplicity is required before moving to more complex ideas.  Repetition is necessary. Mr. G attempted to present the tasks in as many ways as possible to reinforce the learning that was taking place.  Not all students spoke clearly and articulately so Mr. G made sure to model the correct pronunciation and enunciation of each word or phrase. Patience is absolutely essential for teaching such students.  Mr. G exuded lots of it. 

The class time came to a close.  Mr. G asked each student to say something they learned or liked about the day’s lesson. Then he summarized what had taken place. with input from my daughter.  All the students thanked my daughter and one by one clicked off their computers. 

I learned that online teaching might, in fact, be an ideal way to teach many students with special needs. It can help them be very focused because they are so concentrated on the screen and not distracted by other things which can be the case so often in a school setting. The instruction can be very personalized as I saw Mr. G adapt his remarks to to each of his student’s attempts.  They also have a “free time and snacks” break between three daily lessons of about an hour each making the pace of the day very comfortable for both the teachers and students.

Would I have been able to make this transition to online teaching had I still been teaching during the pandemic? Would I be as good at it as Mr. G?  How long did it take him to gain control over this mode of teaching?  I know he really enjoys it because he has told my daughter so.  Could this be sustained for an entire year? Probably not. Eventually everyone might become bored or alienated without some contact.  But I suspect that for some students, and also teachers, this mode of teaching and learning might be ideal.  I would certainly give Mr. G and his students and A+ for their efforts.  


Teachers Are Frontline Workers Too

Driving up the hill past the sign planted by our neighborhood civic association, I realized that although it was a well deserved tribute to front line workers during these Covid-19 times,  there was no mention of teachers. This made me both sad and upset.  Please give me a few minutes of your time to tell you why.

As a retired teacher I know all about the gripes and criticisms leveled at teachers. I mostly think of those rants as disguised resentment for those “cushy hours” and long summer vacations that teachers get. I never let them bother me because I know firsthand how hard teachers work every day under normal circumstances.  

But today’s circumstances are far from normal. Yesterday  I dialed into a zoom event hosted by one of the co-directors of The Long Island Writing Project, a group of teachers that provided a lot of writing instruction and support during my teaching years.  One of the markers of  teachers is that we are in it for life so we continue to learn whenever we have an opportunity to do so. I learned so much during that hour about the teachers who are currently in the trenches. Many are juggling personal lives with school-age kids of their own while trying to learn and adjust to a new mode of teaching and cranking out daily lessons for their students scattered hither and yonder.

I heard and saw teachers talk about sitting at kitchen and dining room tables in their homes with their own kids surrounding them, each family member simultaneously looking at their individual screens while following a lesson or teaching one. Many teachers’ homes have been converted into semi-classrooms with furniture rearranged for minimum disruption to daily life while offering some kind of quasi-school structure for the homebound learners.

All of the teachers talked about the very quick shift they were forced to make from being  classroom teachers to acquiring technology skills on the fly. Remote learning and teaching is a field of study unto itself. I know that because in the late 70s and 80s I helped to produce some on-air programs at the State University at Stony Brook for graduate students. Having to acquire the skills to effectively deliver digital lessons to their students within such a condensed period of time without any support is a tribute to how resilient and dedicated most teachers are.

Most parents (at least those communicating online) seem to be very grateful to their children’s teachers for their efforts. Many teachers are going above and beyond delivering academics to also supporting their students’ mental health. Teachers with low-income students have it doubly hard trying to keep track of their flock who do not have a strong support structure at home yet are the students who need them the most.

This is a work in progress, folks. Fortunately most teachers are lifelong learners and will keep at it until they get it right. Meanwhile they bravely plow forward usually with only each other for support. The online group meeting I attended  made me very proud to be part of a tribe called Teachers. Let’s show them some love, too.

Clearing My Head

There are some annoying and discouraging things happening in my life. Sometimes I amazed that at my age I can still be so upset about some things that people do that cause me pain. Let. It. Go. I tell myself and can feel the tension starting to release. Still agitated. Then I go to the beach.

I needed solitude, the wind, a large sky, the sound of the water lapping the shore and the sight of the winter ducks bobbing in the waves. Fortunately it is only a ten minute drive for me to the shore of the Long Island Sound.

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It was just what the doctor ordered. As I walked onto the beach I loved the contact of my sneakers with the wet sand and pebbles underfoot and the slight angle of the spit of land I was walking on.

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It was a little harder to walk on the pebbles and sand than at the park, but the challenge was what I needed to work out my angst and my knotted muscles.It was almost low tide so there were a lot of wet pebbles and shells to walk on.

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As I stepped forward I picked up my head and noticed what a beautiful S-shaped curve the beach made today. Every time I walk here this sand spit is shaped and reshaped by wind and water.

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Along the way I picked up a few objects as I often do. Although I am overly familiar with what the tide usually deposits along this shore, I nonetheless felt the need to scoop up a few nicely scallop-edged oyster shells (for which these waters were once famous), as well as a couple of pieces of beach glass which are a rare find these days. The tactile contact with these gifts from the sea helped to calm me.

Now and then I paused just to gaze at the seascape and take it all in. I needed those deep inhalations of sea air to clear my body of my personal toxic fumes. There was just enough of a breeze to feel the cleansing action of my breathing.

Overhead sea gulls were plentiful and very busy snapping at shellfish and dropping them from above in an effort to break open their shells. The sea gulls were quite noisy today providing a constant background of squawking and squealing which I found quite soothing in its familiarity.

Then suddenly, in the curve of the shore, I noticed them: a group of Brant floating at the shore’s edge. It hasn’t been a typical winter, warmer than usual as is the case mostly everywhere, so the usual winter ducks haven’t always been around. But the Brant were here today and they were close enough that I got to hear their honking sounds.

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I walked a bit further and turned back. The sun, wind, sand and water had done their job. My raw edges were softened a bit and I was able to sit and read for a while in the fading sunlight.

Bring Back Bildung: Thoughts About the Future of Education

*Bildung refers to the German tradition of self-cultivation, wherein philosophy and education are linked in a manner that refers to a process of both personal and cultural maturation. Wikipedia

On Valentine’s Day 2020, a New York Times writer and a forward-thinking bright student at Starbucks gave me new hope for the future of education.  I share their gifts with all of you!

My husband and I were having an afternoon of complete self-indulgence on his unexpected day off for Lincoln’s Birthday this past week. (Unlike many institutions, his college celebrates both Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays on two separate days.) After doing some banking chores we wandered into our local Starbucks, a place we rarely frequent. As I waited for my husband to place our order, I sat at one of the window seats. Two seats away an attractive young man was reading a slim book by John Dewey, Art as Experience (1934). As he read he took notes on his laptop while wearing the earplugs requisite for all students nowadays.

When he paused for a break, I struck up a conversation with him. “Is that book by John Dewey, the education philosopher?” I asked him. “Yes,” he eagerly replied. “Are you an art student?” I asked. “No, but this is part of the reading for a course I’m taking for my graduate studies at Columbia University.”

That got the conversation rolling and I soon learned that this bright student who exuded confidence was a former alpine skier who had attended boarding school during his high-school training years, then attended Boston College. He is now enrolled at Columbia in their newly revived Philosophy and Education Program to pursue a Master’s and eventually a PhD In order to become a professor/administrator at a small liberal arts college.

I can’t remember when I’ve had such a delightful and uplifting conversation about education. He explained to my husband and me that his undergrad years at Boston had led him to believe in the importance of the Liberal Arts as part of the curriculum. Nowadays, he explained, so many students are pursuing technical degrees, computer degrees, science degrees, but without a liberal arts component which he now believes is essential to becoming productive and well-rounded in any career. His current status as a student  in the Philosophy and Education Program at Columbia is helping him to focus on his personal reasons for wanting to teach as well as learning how to integrate the various worlds of teaching and learning that exist separately on college campuses. We soon parted but I spent hours thinking about him and our conversation. He kept repeating the phrase, “I want to become part of the conversation about….” This academic metaphor for saying he is anxious to get into his field of work made me smile because it is so hopeful.

Today (February 14), I came across an editorial by David Brooks in the New York Times Op-Ed section entitled “This Is How Scandinavia Got Great.” Mr. Brooks spoke about how it is the “generous welfare states” that most people admire in the Scandinavian countries. But for him, it goes deeper than that. He firmly believes that “What really launched the Nordic nations was generations of phenomenal educational policy.”

As the Nordic countries began to experience the arrival of immigrants in the late nineteenth century, Mr. Brook explains, they soon realized that if they were to going to continue to “prosper” as nations they needed to create “folk schools” for the least educated among them based on the concept of ‘bildung.’ A German word for a philosophy of education, Mr. Brook explains that “It means the complete moral, emotional, intellectual and civic transformation of the person starting from a very young age.” A simpler definition is “self-cultivation.” He further explains that it was believed that “if people were going to be able to handle and contribute to an emerging industrial society, they would need more complex inner lives.” To go through the various stages of life that we all pass through with some degree of security and optimism, they would need to be taught how they fit into the larger picture. This would help people realize that making a contribution to the stability of their nation will result in a better chance at their own future wellbeing. In other words, they would learn to develop personal responsibility as well as responsibility toward others.

This makes total sense to me as I think about how divided our country has become. People can’t have “complex inner lives” when they are forced to struggle for their existence. Until we build a safety net for all people that will allow them to thrive and think about the “greater good,” we will continue to experience the deep divisions we are now experiencing that threaten the security of all our lives and our individual sense of wellbeing.

Bringing the concept of bildung “back into the conversation” seems like a good idea to me. Weaving it into the curriculum from an early age seems to offer the best chance we have at producing well rounded, responsible citizens who have learned to care about one another, not just how to create the latest, income generating “app.” We have so much to relearn.


Winter Wellness

We are winter souls. My daughter and I spend a lot of time together and share a lot of thoughts and feelings. I absolutely love silvery winter sunsets. She loves sitting by a roaring fire in our fireplace. One of our favorite shared feelings is our “love of winter.” We don’t like crowds or crowded spaces, so we rejoice when winter arrives and fewer people are out and about. One of our favorite places to be in winter is walking in our park.

Apparently, there are others who share our feelings because they are also in the park on some of the coldest winter days. We call them our winter peeps. We are always glad to see them as the park can be almost empty of human presence in winter.   We share our secret: That the park is “all ours” on those days.

But we do have company in the park besides the occasional human faces. There are certain birds that arrive in the pond that we see only in winter. For the past several years we’ve had four ring-necked ducks arrive in the pond around December/January. This year there’s another, making a total of five. And they all seem to be males! We can’t figure that out, but we do enjoy their presence

An occasional loon has shown up over the years, sometimes a group of buffleheads and mergansers, and this year a single gadwall. This could all change in a week or two with the arrival of some new ducks, but so far, birdwise, it’s been an uneventful winter.

Last week we walked along the shoreline of our nearby beach in search of my daughter’s favorite winter ducks: Oldsquaw, otherwise known as the long-tailed duck. The name Oldsquaw delights us because it is so descriptive of their noisy squabbling as they bob up and down, barely visible. the waves. They usually show up on a windy, cold day and you can usually hear them before you see them.  We were lucky enough to find a bunch, too far off shore to see very well even though our binoculars.  It’s always worth braving the elements to catch sight of them and hear their noisy chatter.

Today I read a wonderful article online about the psychological benefits of immersion in nature: Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health


A growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. Now, policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers are increasingly considering the human need for nature in how they plan and operate.   

In this study the author indicates that two hours of nature immersion weekly are essential for a person to have a sense of “well being.” I strongly urge you to read the article, put on your warmest jacket, hat, scarf and gloves, and long-underwear if necessary, and take a winter walk. Become a “winter soul.” You won’t regret it.

Lessons for 2020: How to Fight Back Against Ecological Grief

It’s a new year. Hell…it’s a new decade!!! I took a long break from this writing community… but now I’m back. I’ve spent a year and a half deeply involved in a civic action group I co-founded. It was a tough baptism, but I’ve learned a lot. An article in yesterday”s NY Times Sunday Review section by Emma Marris, Stop Freaking Out About the Climate, inspired me to reconnect today because it affirmed the lessons I have learned in the past year and a half and wish to share with you in the first days of this new decade.

As most of you already know, a third of Australia is burning up; thousands of families there are displaced and millions of unique animals are dying each day. People across the world are coping with floods, storms, droughts, earthquakes and other natural catastrophes undoubtedly due to climate change that are forcing them to flee their homes and sometimes their countries of origin. So what’s an ordinary person supposed to do to avoid despair? My daughter tells me the newly coined phrase for this feeling is “ecological grief.”

The above-mentioned NY Times article affirmed what I have spent the past year and a half learning and today want to share with those of you who might also be experiencing ecological grief. Here are the recommended steps from the article and my “take” on them.

Step 1: Ditch the Shame
“As long as we are “competing for the title of ‘greener than thou’ or are paralyzed by shame, we aren’t fighting the powerful companies and governments that are the real problem, and that’s exactly the way they like it.” (NY Times)
I dumped my own feeling of powerlessness in the face of our degrading environment when I co-founded our civics group, a very small cadre of like-minded friends and relatives who decided to join forces to oppose the decisions being made by our local government that were harmful to our town’s ecological health. We have had a few successes, several setbacks and even a defeat or two, but we have developed a following in out town and our efficacy has grown proportionate to our growing numbers.

Step 2: Focus on systems, not yourself
Our small group of passionate citizens bonded over the potential demise of a small business in our town to be replaced with high-rent apartments and boutique shops. To make matters worse the new construction was to be poised atop a crucial wetlands area. To fight this battle we had to dig deep. We searched the local archives and found documents that in fact prohibited anyone from building on this property. This discovery opened a can of worms that has led to the unveiling of the political “systems” at work in our town that demand our constant vigilance. We succeeded in stopping the project.

Step 3: Join an effective group
We became our own effective group through a lot of hard work and inviting others to participate. There are other groups in town that have banded together at different times for different causes and together we are learning that the more we work together and share information, the more effective we become when it comes to voting for or against an issue. We recently banded together to stop a zoning change that would have allowed continued overdevelopment; the town is now considering our input.

Step 4: Define your role
This is an important one. “Take care not to overdo it at first and risk burning out.” After our first year I was nearly ready to quit. And so were the others. We had to talk it out and decide what we could realistically continue to do. Each of us plays a role in our group that we feel comfortable with. “Set a sustainable level of involvement for yourself and keep it up.” I knew I could not continue to be part of a struggle that consumed my energy and attention 24/7. “As a bonus, working with a group will increase the richness and diversity of your personal relationships, and may well temper your climate anxiety and depression.” I now take breaks when I need them, allowing me to have the energy to step up to the plate when I am needed. I have made some great, lasting friendships. Right now we are all awaiting the results of our latest pushback against zoning changes in our town. While waiting, we took the opportunity to get together during the holidays and celebrate our successes.

Step 5: Know what you are fighting for, not just what you are fighting against.
“As we fight it is important for our mental health and motivation to have an image in mind of our goal: a realistically good future.” This is so important. I keep remembering how pristine my local environment was during my childhood. The beaches were never closed; the seafood and shellfish were plentiful and safe to eat; the air was fresh and our drinking water was safe. Life was not perfect; even then we lived with the pollution of cars and parents who smoked. My personal goal is to help restore the healthy conditions of my youth, for as many people as possible, in the area where I live. If enough people do the same in their neighborhoods, there’s hope for all of us.

It’s good to be back in this writing community. This decade really matters; I’m counting on you!


This Is the Story of a Newborn in a Bar!

I suddenly realized that I haven’t blogged in several few weeks. It’s completely unlike me to do that since I’ve been blogging regularly for about four years. But here’s the thing…I have a new grandchild! So this post was actually written a week or two ago, but here goes…

Wynona Jane is about three weeks old now but had a difficult entry to this world. Her Mom and Dad went to great lengths to create her and she will most likely be my one and only grandchild. So, of course, I adore her.

She lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn so I don’t get to see her very often. In fact, this weekend will be only my second visit with her. When she was in the hospital I didn’t get to see her or hold her because she was briefly in the NICU so I don’t count that as a visit…just a viewing. She’s home and fine now and keeping her parents awake all night.

I started a “grandma journal” in which I plan to write about fun things to share with her. My first and so far only entry was about our first official visit with her two weekends ago when we all took a walk with her in her stroller around the notorious Gowanus Canal neighborhood. Formerly one of the most toxic supersites in the country, the neighborhood is now undergoing the rampant cleanup and development that is happening in many cities. I told Wynona the story of how we visited a local restaurant for Easter dinner and as soon as we arrived she started crying.

My daughter-in-law became nervous and was thinking about leaving the restaurant when my son said: “I’ll take care of her.” He scooped her up into his arms and brought her to the bar area so we could order our dinners. When I next looked up, he was sitting at the bar with her in one arm, feeding her, while sipping a martini and chatting with the bartender!

I hope Wynona will enjoy this first family story. I no longer have any doubts that this child is in good hands!


Helping English Language Learners Discover Their ‘Voices’ Through Authentic Experiences

Acquiring a ‘voice’ in a new language is essential for English as a New Language (ENL) learners; without one they don’t exist. Our job as their teachers is to make sure that doesn’t happen by giving them every possible opportunity to cultivate, celebrate and use their new voices inside and outside our classrooms.

What about our ‘new arrivals’ who don’t yet have a voice, but urgently need one? How can classroom teachers best help them to discover their unique voices?

Shift the Instructional Focus to
Facilitating Self Expression

When I first began teaching ENL learners, I attempted to make my students feel more comfortable by learning a few words in their native language; by assigning them a ‘buddy’ who could help translate when necessary; by supporting and celebrating each step of their language acquisition process with appropriate lessons. My instructional goal was to facilitate language learning, assimilation to our culture and progress in our curriculum.

But is this how we learn our first language? Think about when you were a baby and your parents and siblings modeled first one word at a time, then short phrases, then longer phrases and questions. They encouraged every attempt at speech you made, and instead of correcting you, they modeled the correct word or phrase repeatedly. There was constant interaction and encouragement. It should not be surprising, therefore, that ENL students of all ages learn English best through authentic, interactive experiences.

Provide Authentic Opportunities for Developing ‘Voices’

Without regular, incrementally challenging opportunities to express themselves in a supportive environment, ENL students lose confidence, and ultimately their unique voice. Here are some examples of how to encourage your ENL students to build confidence:

      •  Encourage and support their participation in sports events and all other school events and clubs. ENL students often feel like outsiders and lack confidence to join new groups.
      •  Support their efforts to write and illustrate journals, poems and books to share how they experience the world by providing them with ‘mentor texts’ they can imitate. For ENL students, imitation is not a crutch; it is a tool.
      •  Encourage them to ‘step up” their language expression. For example, I am presently coaching a group of ENL high school students, (with ‘developing and expanding’ English language skills), to recite some lines from Walt Whitman that they have rewritten at an upcoming Whitman Bicentennial Festival. Speaking in public is tremendously challenging For ENL students, but results in a huge sense of achievement and belonging.


Caution: Entering the Grandma Zone!

Is it really Tuesday already? Time seems to be moving at warp speed. The long awaited birth of my first (and probably only) grandchild is finally happening, about ten days early. Some blood test results indicated the need for inducing labor to avoid complications. The baby was declared “full term” by the doctor, so it’s on to the various magic tricks that obstetricians now use to bring a baby into the world.

We last heard at 10 pm last night that our daughter-in-law was having small contractions. Woke up at 8:30 am but still no news. Finally heard from my son at 10:30 am that the delivery is not happening as quickly as hoped, so they are now doing some of those “tricks” I mentioned earlier. Let’s hope it all works…soon!

My mind is periodically flooding with images of birthing rooms, hospitals, nurseries, doctors and everything that goes into bringing a new baby into this world nowadays. I keep thinking about women who don’t have help with these matters and who must suffer more. How terrified they must be when there are complications.

I’m keeping it brief today because there’s too much else competing in my mind for attention. By the way, we don’t know the sex, by choice. Stay tuned!

Wonderful Ways to Love A Grandchild
Grandchildren are God’s helpmates
in charge of softening our hearts
and opening our eyes and ears’
to the simple sights and sounds
that bring us joy.
Grandparents are in charge of
gentle loving and forgiveness,
for persevering and strengthening
the heart connection in your family.
– By Judy Ford