Not bad for a fat girl


And Just Like That, Things Can Change

What a week.

First, my sweet friend and former colleague passed away after three years of dealing with the demon known as cancer (and no, I won’t give it a capital C). My heart aches for her family, and for the many students whose lives she touched, who have experienced a significant loss, many for the first time. Our school family is hurting, especially her fifth grade son and his friends, and her kindergarten teammates, who love her very much.

I would have gone to her celebration of life, but I was dealing with a drama playing out closer to home. You see my sweetheart is in the hospital. Here’s the short version of the tale. You can’t tell him I told you. He’s a very private person.


Him: Feels like I’m sore from doing crunches. Me: You’re doing great exercising.


Him: This is a little annoying, but no big deal. I won’t say anything to anyone. Me: (nothing, because he’s said nothing)


Him: Off to work I go. I’m fine. Home from work I go. I don’t feel well. I’m going to lay down.  Me: You don’t look well. Want to go to Urgent Care?  Him: No.


2 am  Him: Can you stay home with me? I don’t think I can drive myself today.  Me: Of course. Do you want to go to the Emergency Room? Him: No.  Me: Let me call in and do sub plans.

7 am  Him: Let’s go over to the doctor’s office. They’re open but don’t pick up phones until 8.  Me: Ok.   Doctor’s office: You can be seen at 10:10.   Him: ok

10:25 am  Medical professional: Go to the ER. Me: biting tongue. Him: ok.

11:00 am Emergency Room intake begins

fast forward

6:30 pm Him: pain is at 8 of 10.  Surgeon: This should take about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. It depends on what we find.

7:00 pm Him: pain is unbearable. Me: I love you. I’ll see you after surgery.

10:00 pm Surgeon: It was bad. I called in a second surgeon to assist. He’s resting now. Really, it was bad. Me: thank you.hospital,_building.gif

He’s been working to recover since then, but there have been some issues that have cropped up along the way. He’s got a few hurdles to overcome, and it’s going to take time.

I’ve spent most of the past four days in the hospital with him, and I will again today. Gone are the days of restricted visitor’s hours. The health care team that works there is incredible. They are professional, hardworking, and so kind.

I’m going over there after I pay some bills. I worry about the bills, but right now that worry gets pushed to the back of my mind. I’m more concerned about his recovery. I’m also concerned and conflicted about work. Mine, not his.

My wonderful teammates made sure the sub had all she needed to teach on Thursday, then on Friday they wrote my lesson plans for me and gathered all the materials. There’s no school today, but what about tomorrow?

Should I go to school? Should I go to the hospital? Should I work now, while he’s hospitalized, knowing that he’ll need me more when he’s discharged? But what if he needs some other procedure? I want to be there.

I feel guilty about leaving my students, but I know they’ll be fine without me. Ultimately, I know he’ll be fine without me too. I feel needed yet superfluous in both situations. This is a tough one. Maybe I’ll let him make the call. Maybe.

I won’t give you the hug your loved ones thing. You already know that. I just needed to get this all out. If you’ve read it all, well, thank you.



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First Day of School Nerves

This happens every year. In fact I think I write about it every year, and I may even choose the same words. I’m not looking back, because I really don’t care if I repeat myself. It bears repeating. School is starting tomorrow and I’m a bundle of nerves.

I know it’s going to go well.keep-calm-and-act-like-you-know-what-youre-doing.jpg

I know the children are going to be terrific.

I know I’m planned and have my materials ready.

But what if…

What if everything that’s planned falls flat? What if the children won’t listen to me? What if they’re mean to each other? What if I forget how to teach? What if there’s a big storm tomorrow morning and it’s chaos? What if I mess up the schedule? What if I can’t remember any of their names? What if, what if, what if…

O.K. Big breath. Now that I’ve spewed out all of those highly unlikely scenarios (well, except for maybe mixing up the schedule a little and forgetting a name here or there) I actually feel better.

I won’t forget how to teach.

The children will be excited to be back in school and in the fourth grade for the first time.

They will be pleasant and work hard.

We’ll have a fun and productive day getting to know each other and learning how to be fourth graders.

It’s going to be a great year, I just know it. Still, I won’t sleep tonight, but that’s to be expected too.


A Visit to the Fisherman’s Dwarfs

Postcard1aThe other day the fourth graders took a test to show what they knew about various types of writing prompts and how to approach them. There was a multiple choice section, where they had to circle the type of prompt given: a) imaginative narrative; b) non-fiction narrative; c) expository; or d) persuasive. Then they had to underline the “clue” words in the prompt, such as “convince.”

We have been working on reading and evaluating various writing prompts, and most of the students did well on this task. Then they were to choose one of the prompts and create two organizers to assist them with writing.

Again, we’ve been working on this, and we’ve had lots of discussion about what should be included and why. The students have practiced each of the types of writing mentioned above several times this past school year. They ought to know what to do. In most cases, they do.

Correcting these tests was fairly gratifying, because the vast majority of the students did very well. The students with identified learning disabilities and the two who I am working hard to get services, did not do well at all. They just don’t have it yet. I wasn’t surprised. Those kids need many more exposures to concepts than most of their peers. They learn new concepts, just not as quickly as other kids. If we give up trying to teach them, they won’t get it because they won’t have had enough exposures to the concept.

As I said, though, most of the kids did well. They especially liked that they got to select their own prompt to develop. This one broke up the monotony of grading papers and made me smile.10987358_10205254580878121_8815476533235966703_n

What is she telling me? Lots. For starters, she has a wonderful family that not only took her on vacation but filled the time with lots of interesting things to do. It also tells me that those experiences made a difference. She remembers what she saw and did in San Francisco. This work also shows me that she needs some additional instruction on capitalization. She’s not sure when to use it appropriately. She does, however, know how to brainstorm and then select the topics she wishes to develop further.

The last thing it shows me, however, is the best one of all. She showed me that she has a misconception about Fisherman’s Wharf. She made my afternoon with her inclusion of “fisherman’s dwarfs.” Oh sweet girl, how will I break it to you? Or maybe I’ll let your parents do that. After all, they’re the ones that took you there.