Saturday, May 19, 2018

Resolutions

In about a month this year will be half over.
Way back in January did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?
If you did, have you kept them?
I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions because I usually forget about them by the time Summer - or even Spring - comes around. 
This year perhaps I’ll try making New Season’s resolutions. There are quite a few things I’d like to accomplish by the end of Summer.
Of course every day, week, and month I have a list of things I want to get done and, sometimes I actually do finish them. But it seems like there is always something more I wish I’d done. There’s always something to write, edit and submit, files that need to be cleaned out, piles of stuff in the garage to sort, sell, or give away, housework, shopping, cooking, meetings to attend, e-mail messages to read, people to contact, etc., etc., etc.
Instead of making resolutions, I think I’ll resolve to relax and take one day, hour, or minute at a time. I’ll probably never get everything done, but I’ll enjoy my life a lot more without the pressure.

How about you? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Voting

As elections are approaching people in my area are encouraged to vote by mail.
I won’t.
People with day jobs find it difficult to get to polling places before or after their jobs. Voting by mail is probably more convenient for them.
And it’s possible that a few people might become seriously ill on election day and have to stay home.
But, a few years ago in the area where I live, a candidate was discovered to be involved in shameful, illegal activity a few days before the election, and he was running for an important office.
Many of the people who voted by mail had probably already cast their ballots for him. Fortunately, most people still voted in person.
Imagine what a mess it would have been if he’d won the election!

That’s why I intend to take my ballot to one of the few voting places and cast it on election day.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Celery

Yes, I know this is another post this is not on one of my usual topics, but it’s something I’m curious about.
The celery greens, aka leaves, have a much higher nutritional value than the stalks. They become bitter the farther out from the stems they grow. 
Most stores today cut them off completely, but I prefer to buy celery with some greens left on because they’re healthy. 
I cook the celery, including the greens, in a mixture of water and apple juice with some spices added and eat them with dinner. In my opinion, they’re yummy!
Why doesn’t some agricultural scientist develop celery with greens that aren’t bitter?

If people found out how healthy and delicious those are there would be a much bigger market for celery. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

No More

I have decided to close down my home preschool due to lack of clients. There's not much demand for part time child care where I live. Now I'll be free to spend more time writing, attending conferences, etc.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Good and Bad Teachers 4

I’ve been trying to choose a teacher to mention here as the second best one, but I’ve had so many good teachers in my life I can’t choose just one.
From grade school through college I’ve had many teachers who were interesting, shared lots of useful information and cared a lot about their students.
In retrospect, I think that last feature is the most important. Good teachers are passionate about helping their students learn.
I’ve been a teacher myself in many ways. I’ve taught preschool, worked with students at California School for the Deaf, taught first grade, led workshops at conferences, and substitute taught in too many classes to count. 

I hope my desire to help the students learn showed through everywhere I taught.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Good and Bad Teachers 3

The second worst teacher I ever had was my High School Algebra teacher. 
I’ve never liked math (One of my earlier posts tells a reason for that) but he made that subject even worse. 
He always spoke in a monotone and went on and on every day talking about things I had no interest in. 
I could hardly keep my eyes open in his class it was so boring, and sometimes other students did actually fall asleep there.
Because I missed so many days due to illness in the first semester of High School I flunked Algebra and had to take it again the following year, with the same boring teacher.
Later when I took advanced algebra I had to endure him yet again. 
And, even though I passed those classes, Algebra never made sense to me.
Several years later when one of my college Linguistics professors used algebraic formulas to explain sentence structure I suddenly understood what Algebra was really about. 

If only my High School Algebra teacher had  told us things like that I would have enjoyed the subject, and had an easier time staying awake in his class.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Good and Bad Teachers 2

One of the best (if not THE best) teachers I ever had was Mrs. Griffith in Third Grade.
She was strict and old fashioned, but I felt safe in her class and learned a lot from her. 
The parents of many of my classmates had also been her students because she’d been teaching for years. 
In our old school building the other classrooms had modern tables and chairs or desks for the students, but in her class our desks were still the ones with wrought-iron curly sides and holes for ink bottles on top, and the desks were bolted to the floor in straight lines.
We had ink bottles in those holes and yellow, wooden pens with the old fashioned nubs. Fountain pens were fairly new and ball-point pens hadn’t been invented yet.  She taught us how to write with those pens and ink. 
Every day after lunch Mrs. Griffith would read to us from a classic children’s book, one chapter at a time. 
All credentialed teachers were required to know how to play the piano back then. Like the others in our school, our teacher would play the one in our classroom as we sang along.
Today she would be fired or arrested for some of the things she did, but times were different back in the 1940s. 
No child was allowed to enter her room in the morning without a hug. That helped us know she loved us, but it would be considered molestation today.
And I remember her becoming angry with a student for writing “Merry Xmas.” She told him sternly, “Never replace the name of Christ with an X!” Of course she didn’t know the X symbolized the cross and had been how Christians identified each other in centuries past. Teachers can’t mention religion in public schools today.
Years later when I was in my 20s and working at California School for the Deaf I realized what an excellent teacher she had been and wrote her a thank you note about that. She never wrote back.

One day, quite a few years later, my mother told me something I’d written was in the report from the Superintendent of Schools that was mailed to everyone in Marin County. It was the letter I had written to Mrs. Griffith. It had meant so much to her that she’d kept it for the rest of her life and it was published with her obituary.