Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The real work begins

playing with my kids
rolling on the floor
giggles and squeals
abound with galore

fairies and dragons
make their roosts upon me
I am the luckiest of places you see

For I am the Mom
home from her job

when I leave
the kids cling and they sob

fairy castles aren't meant to be out of sight
even dragons need a safe cave to make things alright

and they build their hoard in my pockets you see
toy cars, and mittens, crayons, and used hankie
which they then pull out with great glee
all over the floor

and we giggle and squeal and roll as before

Sunday, November 24, 2019

What my letter to Santa taught me

A wrote a letter to Santa for my class the other day.

Dear Santa,
I want a nap. A nice, long, nap in a sunbeam. Curled up, warm and toasty.

I want time to play with my kids, build things with them, read to them, dance with them.

I didn't finish the letter since I had to give the lecture... but I realized that if I wanted time to be with my kids, then I've got to design my life to do it. These early cuddly years are slipping away and if I choose now to enter into a PhD program, then I will probably be spending way too much of that precious time shushing them up so I can write. That's not what I want to do with these years. In 10 years very few of these kids will want to hang with me any more (yikes, 5 of them will probably be grown up and moved away), but now I am the most precious thing to them. The PhD will wait. It is patient. But children grow up either way.

I also don't want to commute anymore. So I've got to design my life where I don't need to do that. That will give me back 6-12 hours per week of precious day time to be with the kiddos.

So I think I see possibilities opening up for me that would allow me to get an MBA in sustainable management - all on-line while working/being trained in as grant writer, and still have enough time to spend more with my kids then I do now. My schedule would be ultra-flexible and adjustable to whatever challenges come my direction for a while. Plus it would let us stay put in our house, stay near my family, and it would allow me to serve a wider variety of people than a specific PhD discourse community. (oh and it pays better now and probably 15 years down the line). Those reasons are all really appealing.

Saturday, November 23, 2019


You can't defeat the dinosaur that is hunting you. But you can train it not to think you're food.
Don't attack the guard dog, that is misguided action

Sunday, November 17, 2019

One by One

I have been a teacher of record for Freshman Comp as a graduate assistant for the last 2.5 years. My stint is up in December, as I will graduate. We were given minimal guidance on what or how to teach. So I naturally pulled on my 40+ years of experience teaching things like Nursery, Primary Music, Sunday School, Relief Society, Ballet, and as a homeschooling mother.

The most important thing I ever learned about teaching is that everybody is an individual. I do not teach a class of 30, I teach 30 individuals in a class. Each comes with different experiences, different styles of learning, and different skills they need to build. Their brains and bodies each work in their own unique ways.

I try hard to learn every name every semester. I try to remember their strengths, weaknesses, tolerances for complication and to adjust my discussions, expectations, council, and encouragement for each one.

We can never choose what others are ready to learn, and if they are not ready to learn it, no amount of lecturing or assignments will get them there. What a true teacher really needs to do is meet the students where they are at, and work with them where they are at. If that means sectioning your lecture to cover different needs for different students, then do it.  A beautiful, cohesive, focused lecture will only help the students ready for that material. But if you hit 5 topics, perhaps you can help 5 times as many students.

The other thing I think is crucial is to love them, everyone, individually. Get to know them. Acknowledge their presence, and thank them for coming, discuss their favorite topics. Moving away from home, to a dorm, being in classrooms or lecture halls with 100s of other students, eating dinner in a noisy dining hall, can all be human processing- even dehumanizing. It is easy to become a number or an ID login, and everyone, especially those in emerging adulthood need to be reminded that they are more than a grade or a transcript. So I look in their eyes, write down what I like about what I am seeing in their papers and make a point to call them by name at least once every class. I grade individually, looking for growth in their skills and thought processes, and try to challenge appropriately.

No, I do not teach according to the latest techniques or theories, even if I know them, they are only useful to a small subset at any one time. No, I try to teach what each student needs.  I teach one by one.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Love Winter's Coziness

the need to feel another's heat
                         another's touch
to know
          smiling faces are waiting
at the end of this long, dark, cold road
   A reason to Push Through
                       Keep Slogging

stars overhead - bright
                         known configurations

Why should I fight, when I could enjoy?

trees silhouette against the moon
bare birch limbs
                        glow in its light

What a Night!

to be
                   almost Home

Sunday, November 10, 2019

November Haiku

gossamer wings tied to the piano
winter boots, miss-matched gloves
night starts before dinner

Friday, October 25, 2019

Grandpa's Lap

I go back to my grandfather's lap
place of security, serenity
vibrating with assonance
the alliteration of consonants
hitting his lips
his beard bouncing
tickling my neck

this is where my writing begins
every time when I find that authentic voice
buried deep inside daily concerns
constantly interrupted with the needs of the many
outside of pancakes and diaper changes
outside of due dates and tests

inside that carves space-
hearing his heartbeat
through his sweater
connected with poetry
that space is my well

I go back to my grandfather's lap
to find my voice