Monday, August 7, 2017


Earlier today I thought to myself, "I haven't DISCOVERed anything new lately."  I've felt lost, not sure of who I am anymore.

But this afternoon, as I devour an ARC of Ruth's new book (AMAZING, BTW), I was motivated to write, and in thinking about writing and telling stories, I looked back at our summer. And I DISCOVERed something...

I've called this summer the "Old Dudes' Concert Tour 2017". My husband and I have seen Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, Paul McCartney and Jerry Jeff Walker in concert this summer. And you know what they all have in common? They are in their 70's and still rocking. I'm not kidding. All played for two and a half to three hours--no opening acts, no intermissions, no holding back.  They have not given up their passions, their interests, their lives just because of their age.

So who am I to think I have nothing left to give, nothing left to share?

And then a phone call happened. The new teacher who is going to be teaching many of my old classes called with a few questions. And it felt so good to talk to her, to answer her questions.  So maybe I won't be in the classroom, maybe I won't have a hundred kids to take care of, but I can mentor those who ask, those who want it and still be happy.

And I can write.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

It Finally Hit Me

It hit.

I'm not going to be starting school this month. 

For the first time in 55 years, I don't need

  • new school clothes
  • a book bag
  • new shoes
  • cool pens
  • notebooks
  • chocolate and peanut butter for my desk drawer
  • a schedule
I don't need to
  • plan my last Sunday's at the lake
  • work on my sleep schedule
  • make bulletin boards
  • arrange my room
  • think about the first five days
  • make lesson plans
  • update anything

I went to school and met with the teacher who is going to be teaching my Creative Writing classes. MY Creative Writing classes. 

But not anymore. 

Throughout last year, I created binders for all the classes I taught and made day by day plans. Added all the directions, handouts, etc that I used. I knew that I wouldn't be back and wanted to leave a guide as to what I did. Trust me. I know that each new teacher will make these classes their own, but at least they have a place to start planning.

Today, I met with the new Creative Writing teacher. 
And I shared all I had. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chloe Writes:

You know how I complain about Mom during March....she's always on the computer writing this silly blog or reading other people's silly blogs instead of spending time with me?  Well, can it please be March again????

Ever since school got out, she's done nothing. I mean nothing. I can't wait for the days when she takes her bag of sticks and leaves the trailer! And at home, she just lays around watching TV.  Says she has nothing to do.

Well, that's kind of an exaggeration--she does lots of stuff. She cleans, she works in the yard (I've been helping!), she's been throwing LOTS of stuff away (I've been hiding my toys so they don't disappear!). But she sure hasn't been writing. And I'll let you in on a little secret---she needs to write. Sometimes she's kind of grumpy.  She's not grumpy in March when she writes every day.

So, anyway...

I've been trying to give her some writing ideas. I do lots of cute things every day (well, plus, I'm just cute). I chase rabbits, I dance around the squirrel tree, I'd learn new tricks if she'd teach me.  We've been to the lake, she and dad go places without me. There must be something she can write about.

We talked the other day, and she tells me she's working on it. And she has been on the computer the last couple of days, so maybe, just maybe, she's figuring something out.

I sure hope so!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

How Did I Do It?

I look back at old posts and wonder how I did it. How did I have so much to say and where did those words come from?  I wrote about silly, normal days. I wrote about little details in my day. And now, those simple posts seem as if they were written by someone else. And I couldn't possibly write about those things again---could I?

I'm just going to keep writing. Putting words into this blog. Whatever comes to my mind. I told students this often---JUST WRITE. Write whatever's in your head. Even if it sounds stupid. Even if you think no one will like it or read it. Don't worry about word choice, or spelling, or grammar. Get the words down. You can always go back.

So, I'm getting the words down. In desperation.


I know they will come.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Just Write


Just put some words on to the blank screen.



But the words haven't been there.

I really and truly planned on filling up my blog with words about teaching, my students, retirement.


The words aren't there. At times, I feel bereft.  Empty.  I don't know who I am.

Oh. I hide it. I laugh. I joke. I play.

But just underneath the surface,

Tears form, unwanted, at the oddest times, and I think of the kids I will miss.

My babies.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Not-So-Inspiring Post

I was going to write a really super sappy blog post about teaching, how much I love it and the students I teach. I was going to create this beautiful ode to teaching that would inspire everyone and share my love of this career I chose.

And then my 3rd hour College Prep Lit class walked in the door.

And I was reminded that teaching is not always perfect and inspiring. Sometimes it resembles a Welcome Back, Kotter episode....

In the space of ten minutes today, I:

  • Listened to complaints about how hot my room is and explained they could sit in the hall and work
  • Repeated the directions for the day 19 times (Once for each student. Because you know it only counts if you say it directly to them)
  • Explained 19 times that the assignment for the day was also on Schoology---our LMS (This is besides the fact that I also handed out a a calendar with the work for each day)
  • Reminded one he needs this class to graduate and to get to work
  • Again, listened to complaints about the heat. Again, suggested the hallway
  • Explained that the work for this assignment needed to be worthy of the 20 points (a point for each word, right?)
  • Regretted telling a student she could use the "B" word in her letter when describing a character. That opened the door for negotiations with the others. 
  • Again, reminded senior he needed to get some work done
  • More complaints about the heat
  • Told students I was rewriting my blog post. 
  • Explained that John Travolta was hot--- in 1975---when I was 18.  They just shook their heads and had no clue who I was talking about until a bright girl in the corner reminded us he was in the movie Old Dogs.
Finally, class ended. 15 of 19 turned in their work. 
Here comes 4th hour...

"Geez. It's like a sauna in here."

The lesson? Some days--heck, most days--are more like Kotter than any of us want to admit. This group I have 3rd hour are smart, they discuss and argue and back themselves up with facts. Most of them read a lot. 

And somedays, they like to push my buttons. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

My Last Lecture

"How exactly, do you catalogue your childhood dreams?"   Randy Pausch

In 2008, Randy Pausch, along with Jeffrey Zaslow, wrote a little book entitled The Last Lecture. It's a book that has stayed with me for a long time. In fact, I'm rereading it right now. Although it's an extension of a lecture he presented at Carnegie-Mellon, I really look at it as his love letter to his kids. You see, at the time he gave the lecture and wrote the book, Pausch was dying of pancreatic cancer, and he had three kids under five.

Well, I have a love letter I want to write also. A love letter to my school family, my kids, and teaching. As of today, I have nineteen days left with students and one more inservice. I've begun purging my room. Throwing some things, giving some things away, and wondering what in the heck I was thinking in keeping some of them.

And as I purge, I've reflected and remembered.

And so, in this month of lasts, I'm going to write and remember and share.