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The Do's and Don'ts of Raising Readers

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  Air conditioning taught me how to read.   It sounds crazy, but it’s true. We didn’t have central air conditioning in the home where I grew up. We could have afforded it, but we didn’t have it. What a blessing that I didn’t have everything we could afford. It gave me a reason to work for my dreams.   Anyway, let’s get back to reading and air-conditioning. I wanted to be like my big sister and my mom. On hot, sticky summer nights, they would lounge in my parents’ bedroom and read on the cozy bed under the loud but powerful air conditioner in the window. I knew how to read, but I  was not allowed into this exclusive reading club until I could master the art of reading silently. It sounds silly, but I didn’t know how to do this as a young child.   I sure learned fast, though.   My mom is a genius. She made reading everything it should be. Inviting. Special. Volitional. Thank you, Mom. You taught me to love books and more importantly, the poetry, the truths, and the imaginings they contai

This Ain't the Usual Fall

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Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash This year looks a whole lot different, With our masks and chrome book screens. I'd mug a man for Lysol wipes, If I could somehow flee the scene. All this waiting and this hoping, All new schedules, so much stress! "Synchronized" was a cheesy swim-dance, Before this awful Covid mess. I wish "remote" was just for t.v. And "hybrid" was the offspring of two plants. I had to shop for all new clothes. My boss said pajamas aren't pants?!? When the world just won't make sense, We need a sense of humor, friends. We have to think of who we'll be, By the time this nightmare ends. I hope we will be stronger, Somehow better than before. Fight the virus, not each other. There are no winners. There's no score. If you pray, pray for us teachers. We're only human after all. Pray for the students and the parents. This sure ain't the usual fall. 

The Journey

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This is a special moment A time for congratulations, You’ve worked so hard and so right now. Savor this, your celebration. We look back on the past four years And feel both pride and disbelief Marveling at you and all you’ve done We feel both sadness and relief. It seems like it was yesterday You found your locker in the hall. And now here you are, so handsome So beautiful, so tall. How did time pass so quickly? We blinked and you had grown. It was “Mom and Dad look at this” Then “Mom and Dad leave me alone!” But it’s okay. We get it, You’re just growing up too fast. Can we freeze time for a moment? Between your future and your past? That summer after fourth grade You learned the house that you were in. You learned the names of all your teachers And then you texted all your friends. That first day at middle school You felt a little out of place. You were prepared, but you were scared Soon your doubts were all erased. Today, cherish al

Why?

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Photo by  Jonathan Borba  on  Unsplash I know that this is for the best This waiting game, this house arrest This loneliness, like doing time This punishment without a crime. But underneath a great blue sky It seems unholy now to cry. I'll treasure every given breath, Each moment that I've cheated death. So many have faced so much pain, Yet what I've lost can be reclaimed. May all the things I am afraid of Show me what I'm really made of. When I ask, "How much longer?" I'll think of those who are much stronger Who have given so much more than I They are my hope, my heart, my "Why?"

Stand and Wait

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Photo by  Kristina Tripkovic  on  Unsplash If anybody’s listening Then hear my sacred vow. I’ll never take for granted The things I’m missing now. I won’t see bread and think “That will fatten up my tummy.” Instead I will be thankful For nourishment that’s yummy. Oh how I miss the simple days Of just sitting on the bleachers, Clapping and cheering for my son. Now I’m his Health and P.E. teacher. How I used to dread the small talk, The chat that stole time from my day. Now I see the same three faces  And wonder when I got so gray. I won’t get angry about traffic Because now I even miss my car.  My commute is to my basement. The world outside? It seems so far. I am whiny. I am petty.  I need to have a better attitude.  I’m safe and sound and healthy. I should just be filled with gratitude. But the truth is that I’m human And it’s a very human thing to do To feel trapped and scared and wonder, "When will all

My Love-Hate Relationship With Social Media

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Photo by  Sandrachile .  on  Unsplash If you judge me by my latest tweet Your view of me is incomplete. You’ll never find out who I am  By looking through my Instagram. So consumed with social media And BuzzFeed and Wikipedia We never screen what’s on our screens Never asking what it means. Am I guilty, too? Of that I’m sure. I long for the world we had before. All this noise. It’s just too much. We’re not drawing close. We’re losing touch. I need your likes to make me whole And your retweets to feed my soul. But a hashtag is not the truth And a picture isn’t proof. So what do we stop to tell our kids?  Don’t do the things that I just did? Don’t waste all your time there on your phone And let your loved ones feel alone? Read a book or play a song Plant a garden, right a wrong. It all sounds so trite, so neat As if changing is an easy feat. I don’t have one quick solution  No preachy New Year’s resolution. And does i

A Teacher's Prayer

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A teacher's job is never done. That's why it's such a special one. And so I'd humbly like to share  Something I call "A Teacher's Prayer."  I pray for wisdom and for grace To help with challenges I face. On days when the going has been tough  I pray that I've tried hard enough.  Students, when I look at you  I'll see more than the work you do. And on the days you're calling out I'll see it's your youth that's spilling out.  I pray to be a teacher who Other teachers look up to: A leader, a fighter, and a friend With courage to begin again.  To accept the things that I've done wrong But when I'm right, to hold on strong. To know what's best and get it done. To teach with humor and with fun. To take the time on a hectic day To find my center and to pray. To take the lessons and make them art. To teach each day with an open heart. Photo by  Hush Naidoo  on  Unsplash