Still so much to learn

My first class of fifth graders are graduating high school this week. As I went on a walk today, I was thinking about them. With everything that is happening in our country, I’m thinking of my students of color more and more. I’m thinking of their families. I’m thinking of my Black coworkers. I doubt my texts are enough. I worry about my students; how are they doing emotionally with everything that is happening?

With everything that’s been going on, I’ve been reflecting a lot.

As I watch the news or videos on social media of protestors and think of George Floyd and his family, I think of the students past and present. I think of the Black mothers and fathers that I’ve had conversations with. I think of the moments I’ve had uncomfortable conversations with ten and eleven-year-olds about race, racism, stereotypes and prejudice.

What have I done to educate and learn myself? I didn’t know much with my first class of fifth graders seven years ago. I learned a lot from them- what to do and more importantly, what not to do. From that year, I realized I had so much to learn.

From all of the experiences I’ve had teaching in Indianapolis, I’ve learned a few things. I learned that I’m a white woman and I have implicit biases. I will never understand what life is like as a black person because I have white privilege. I need to have meaningful and tough conversations with students, coworkers and people of color. I need to check my biases. I don’t know what I don’t know so I need to educate myself more. It makes me sad to see the boarded up windows, scorch marks, and spray paint around the city I love, but I can’t imagine the sadness (or anger or frustration or other feeling) a Black person experiences when their relative, friend, or fellow Black person is killed. I can have empathy for that person and their family. I can have empathy and support for those who are protesting. I can try to understand- by listening, asking questions, researching, voting.

Now I realize, I have so much more to learn. We are all humans. But there is a history of systemic oppression, micro aggressions, inequities, and racism that cannot be denied. I will continue to learn as an anti-racist teacher about racial equity and find learning materials with BIPOC.  There’s a lot of work to be done. My students and society deserve it.

A New Routine


I roll over, peeling my eyelids open. The green lights show 6:10. Ugh… no thank you. Turn that alarm off NOW. I find the small button by feel as my eyelids have already closed.


REALLY? AGAIN? I try to roll over, but find the large lump of my cat’s body in the way. I stretch my arm out instead and reach for the snooze button. I realize it’s the second alarm for my husband. I poke my husband in the shoulder and tell him the time.

As he gets up, I stretch out, reaching my arms and feet as far away from one another as I can. I find my glasses and stand up, stretching for the ceiling.

Yesterday I was so excited to wake up. Today I’m feeling the late-night reading adventure I just had to finish. It’s okay, because I have a short commute with home learning and I’m learning my way through all this.

But first, coffee. I head downstairs, fill the water reserve in the maker, put fresh coffee in the filter, and push the “start” button. As it brews, I make myself breakfast. The same thing as yesterday and my normal “school morning breakfast”– Danon Light & Fit Greek Vanilla yogurt with a snack-size serving of granola mixed in.

After breakfast and a cup of coffee, it’s time for me to get ready for the day and “school.”

I know I”m not physically going to school, and these first few days of the week are working on recording videos to support paper packets, yet I still feel the need to dress the part. I’m just as excited as I was yesterday to put on my work clothes. It’s been a few weeks, most of which have been spent in jeans, t-shirts, and workout gear. Today I pick a flower blouse and gray khakis. I blow-dry my hair, put on make-up, and even find my black flats. I leave my school ID hanging on the lanyard with my keys.

It feels somewhat normal. I guess it’s a new normal. But the start of this new routine feels right. It still feels slightly weird and I worry, but I can control what I wear and that helps make me feel hopeful in this new routine.

SOL Challenge Reflection #SOL20 Day 31

March Slice of Life Story Challenge

31 days

24 hours in each day

60 minutes in each hour

60 seconds in each minute

Each second in the last month filled with


Living in the moment

Moments of life to write about

Sharing my life for the

First time as a slicer

Connecting and learning with other slicers

Near and far




It has been a pleasure to participate in this challenge. There were two times I posted late, but I wrote. Sometimes I felt in the groove and knew exactly what I wanted to write, while others days I stared at my computer screen unsure where to begin. This month has felt long because of all of the changes in this new normal of working from home and social distancing. I also tried new things this month. I found fun in playing around with my writing and changing and revising it in different ways. I was inspired by all the other slicers sharing their lives. I appreciate all the comments and I look forward to writing more.

Thank you for reading. Be well.



Readying my New Classroom #SOL20 Day 30

It’s time I told myself.

School starts back up next week. Or the new version of home learning is supposed to begin.

We’ve been away from school since March 12. When I packed up my items that Thursday afternoon, I took all that I would need to grade and do in case we were closed. I thought that was just for the week before Spring Break and the two weeks of Spring Break. That was before our governor closed schools until May 1, at least as of now.

I’ve spent the last week just doing hobbies and self care types of things. Catching up on reading, checking in with friends and family, and getting as much exercise as I could.

Today I started the day like other mornings. Push the button on the coffee grinder, dump grounds into the filter, place filter into the coffeemaker, fill the water reservoir, make sure the carafe is empty, press “Start brew.” Go to the cabinet and pick out a mug for the day.

I gazed out at the backyard and realized. It’s Monday and I must get ready for the new teaching from home routine. So in order to know what to do, I made a list. Looking through the list, I knew I couldn’t do it all today, so what were the things I could accomplish?

My “new classroom” will be in our guest bedroom and cleaning and organizing the space has been on my to-do list since at least Winter Break. The closet is the catch-all. It stores our linens, but then it also has the random decorations, gift wrapping and bags, a spare vacuum (do we really need 2?), tote bags filled with conference materials and other PD books, and who knows what else?!

I started with dumping the dead plants. I kept some alive longer than expected, but others slowly shriveled up and died. When I have Zoom meetings with students or coworkers, do I really want them to spot the brown and decaying plants in the background? Why am I even keeping them?

Then I tackled the tote bags. I found old cards and notes from former students and parents and SURPRISE! A STARBUCKS GIFT CARD! A conference nametag, a few calendars from last year, and many, many pens and markers in the next bag. The third bag contains spare notebooks (some with notes, some brand new) and a few professional textbooks I’d been meaning to read, but got tucked away and forgotten. The last bag is my “I need to come back to this and really decide what papers to keep and what to purge.” With this new format of teaching, I’m not sure what I will need. I’ll tackle that later this week after things are rearranged.

Craft supplies came next. I organized the paint into an extra plastic container. I put my sewing materials together. I added “finish pillows and yarn art” to my to-do list. As I found more odds & ends in the tote bag pockets, I put them in a pile on the guest bed and then I realize I need more organizational holders for my colored pencils, markers, and drawing pens.

After the craft supplies, I look around and realize if I dig in more, I will be at it all night. So instead I add more to my to-do list for tomorrow to finish “arranging” my new classroom. It strangely feels similar to when I get ready in the summer for a new school year. I feel hopeful through this process and am excited about making this new classroom in my home.

Sunday Gratitude #SOL20 Day 29

The last few weeks have been troubling. Yet each morning I begin by writing three things I’m grateful for. I’ve been keeping this gratitude journal since January, but the last few weeks have been tremendously good to start each day reflecting on.

As I went on a walk with my husband this afternoon, I noticed all the signs of spring and green grass. I had the time to take in my surroundings and reflect on my gratitude.

  • My health- I’ve taken this for granted and recently realized how fortunate I am to be able to exercise like I have worked hard for as well as staying healthy while this virus spreads.
  • My home- I’m grateful that we have a warm, safe space we can relax and live. I’m also grateful that we live in a home with multiple rooms to give one another space for work, hobbies and relaxation.
  • Technology- I’ve learned how useful video calling/conferencing is during these times. I have been able to “see” family and friends from different cities and states.
  • Writing & other hobbies- this time to pause has given me a lot of time to dedicate to writing and crafting. It’s given me a lot of time to de-stress and relax.
  • Connections with students & families- I started this month with time to share with parents at spring conferences. My students hosted a Family Movie Night at our school and I was able to share students’ amazing work at the arts night. Once school closed down, I was able to talk with parents and students. I’m looking forward to reconnecting after Spring Break.
  • Nature- I’ve had a lot time to enjoy the arrival of spring. I’m even grateful for days when there’s rain and knowing the rain and storms benefit plants. The buds on the trees are beautiful and a visual reminder of the seasonal cycles and rebirth.

As this challenge winds down, I’m sad that I won’t have the daily accountability and connections. I’m thankful I’ve been doing this and grateful for each moment filled with joy.

Creative hang out #SOL20 Day 28

When I agreed to “hang out” virtually with you, I knew it was going to be fun, but I never imagined how good it would be for both our souls.

It all started with a text.

You immediately responded. Not sure about the tech, but once the kids go to bed, let’s have a wine date night.

I test out calling you while your kids are still up and we can see each other for few seconds before it drops. I’m worried, but excited.

8:30 pm…. I’m waiting anxiously. I tell my husband the plan and he decides to enjoy his whiskey elsewhere.

Finally…you send a text picture showing your bottle and glass with a “Ready to go!”

We connect and it feels like we’re sitting on the same couch.

The seconds whizzed by. The minutes flew by. Then the hours. Yes, hours… our wine night really became like a night we get together.

We talk about all the changes. You share about what’s happening with work and preparing to fill in at your city’s ICU. We discuss home learning and laugh about your husband now working as a substitute teacher on his days off from being a first responder. We catch up on family news.

We laugh. We swear. We cry a little. We take a few breaks to refill glasses or take a restroom break.

I see my husband wave as he heads up the stairs for bed. I look at the time. How does time fly so quickly? I shrug, and continue to laugh and catch up with you.

I wake up this morning (after going to bed in the early morning hours) and smile. We may have aged, grown up a little bit, but when we talk on the phone, it’s like we’re 12 and together again.


Working together #SOL20 Day 27

I rub the post-nap sleep from my eyes. I notice the cat curled up at the foot of bed. I slide off the bed while the cat doesn’t bat an eye or move. I pet her to make sure she’s alive because I can’t resist… her fur is so soft. A small sigh escapes from her, but still she doesn’t move.

As I walk down the stairs, I hear the faint whirl of some power tool coming from our garage. John must be out working in the “shop.” With this extra time to work from home, he also has time to work on projects. He can spend hours in the garage he’s transformed into a mobile workshop.

I meander out the back door and open the garage service door.

He looks up from his saw horse table. “Hey,” I say, “Whatcha working on?”

“I’m starting on the bar for the office,” he replies.

I walk over and stand by the sawhorse table. He’s trying to screw a base frame together. I hold the pieces straight as he drills the screw into the pocket screw holes.

We finish the frame. Then it’s time for one of my favorite parts! GLUE!

I don’t really know why I have an obsession with wood glue. John asked me why it was my favorite and I told him because it’s quiet and I think the glue makes me think of school and putting glue on my hands as a kid. I don’t really know how to fully explain it without it being weird. I think it’s partially because I miss school.

Time seems to fly by in the shop. While John is doing work that really only requires 1 person, I keep him company, but I also keep myself entertained. I somehow reconnect to my childhood imagination when the “shop is open” aka woodworking is happening in our garage.

2 pieces of spare plywood become my “crutches.” John arches an eyebrow at me. “They’re my crutches,” I tell him. He rolls his eyes and moves back to measuring. “Well they’re almost as tall as me,” I reply. Then an idea comes to me… “I’m Board Woman,” and walk with the boards attached to my sides like a robot. Another shake of the head.

I’m a dork, but quarantine day I don’t even know what number it is and I’ve got to keep myself entertained or at least enjoying the moment. I find another piece of hardwood that’s very slim- maybe two inches wide at the most and about four or four and half feet long. Ooh… it’s too perfect. Quickly it becomes my staff. I spin it around and around. Then strike, swatting the staff down, like I’m a ninja warrior. Meanwhile, John’s back is to me, unaware.

I spot a smaller piece of hardwood on the floor, tangled in the extension cord. I pick it up. Noticing the weight and balance, I quickly decide there’s a phoenix feather inside and it’s perfect for my wand.

Before I can cast a spell, John is asking for me my help with more plywood for the sides and dividers of the bar for the office.

Back to reality and work time… I smile thinking to myself how I should get back to being a helper and focusing, especially since the table saw will be turned on soon.

Our time working together may be spent more with John working and me just taking note and helping here and there. However, it also provides a time that we’re doing a project together. We’re working on a piece that will be assembled by both of us and on display in our home. I’m excited for the final product. I know I’m helping him cut labor time down, and doing a hobby together can be a fun learning experience.

Connecting Through the Years #SOL20 Day 26

We met one hot August evening,

In the land of green,

known as Ireland.

It was my first time in a country,

not my own.

A country filled with magical promises and possibilities,

a semester studying abroad,

a semester filled with unknown and excitement,

a time I would learn and grow up a lot.

I met you all at a dinner,

I only remember how cheesy it seemed but,

soon we were bonding and getting along.

The next thing I knew,

we decided to take a cruise,

on a bus bound for the coast.

We hiked through farmers’ fields,

landing on a hill.

Sleeping on a thin tarp,

on some man’s land,

only a thing you probably do when you’re young,

and don’t know any better.

It seemed so fun and adventurous at the time,

we all agree now how ridiculous it was,

and how we’re too old now.

The months together seemed to fly by,

months filled with laughter,

months filled with learning experiences,

you only get as young adults living in a a foreign country away from your family.

The years have passed,

we graduated,

moved to new cities and states,

reconnecting at weddings or through email threads,

yet we’ve stayed connected.

Tonight we connected once again,

social distancing from different states,

connecting through our screens.

Laughing and drinking as if we’re 21 again,

reminiscing and planning future post-pandemic get-togethers,

while sharing our pets on screen,

and sharing how we’re keeping our sanity.

Time continues just like our friendship.

It’s magical like the place we met.

Worries #SOL20 Day 24

I’ve been writing more this month than past months. The Slice of Life story challenge has been a great way to challenge myself and connect with others during a month that has felt like 5 months with all the change and uncertainty.

I found myself feeling uncertain today. Perhaps it was due to the lack of sleep. The last I looked at the alarm clock was 12:04 AM. But then I continued to wake up what felt like every hour or two. I awoke at 4:30 AM. I tossed to my right side away from the clock. I listened to my husband’s breaths, deep and long. I heard the fan whirl, providing white noise more than cool air flow. The cat laid curled on her bed, every so often a small snort or sigh escaped from her. I sighed out of frustration.

I rolled onto my stomach. I squeezed my eyes tighter, knowing the clock time would only bother me more.

I tried to breath in and out, slowly. Every time my mind wandered to a worry, I attempted to reassure myself “It’ll be okay.”

But the worries crept in. My stomach ached… maybe from hunger, maybe from anxiety. I found myself curled on my side once again. Blankets pulled up to my chin, legs curled up, arms crossed, almost in the fetal position.

I find myself worried that I have Covid-19. I haven’t displayed any symptoms, but there’s the warning symptoms can show up 14 days after being exposed to the virus. While I know I’ve washed my hands and stayed in, I realize there are people or surfaces they’ve touched that I’ve come in contact with in the last 12 days since school has closed. This virus has changed so much in my life in the last month.

The news and coverage all over social media isn’t helping either. I watch and begin to worry. Is that a tickle I have in my throat? Is my chest feeling differently? Do I have a fever?

Only time will tell, but I hope my worries will go away soon.

Dog Dreams #SOL20 Day 23

Scrolling through website after website,

picture after picture,

Searching for the best,

furry friend,

you will give the sloppiest of kisses,

you will whack me with your tail wags oblivious,

just happy to be home.

You will bark at the mailman, the neighbors, even the birds,

you will be our protector,

our buddy,

our comedian.

You will win over the cat,

your charm will slowly wear down her defenses,

until finally one day,

she curls up beside you,

and will clean you to show her acceptance of you.

Until that day comes,

I can only dream of the dog nose in my face,

of the whimpers to go play ball,

of the nudges for more pets and belly rubs,

I can only dream of the annoyance of more hair,

the slobber soaking into my lap,

and the chewed up toys or other miscellaneous items too torn to identify.

I can only dream of the warm snuggles and love from

my future furry friend.