Tag Archives: teaching

The persistence of memory

301D0BC0-7CCB-466D-8233-1A2364CF0603It took 8 weeks before I finally felt a sense structure in my deconstructed life. 

Did it take everyone else two months to find an element of calm in this new isolated existence? I can’t be the only one who has flailed like a fish out of water, flopping from place to place, can I? 

There was some time last week when I truly felt like I had a grasp on the situation. I was as near as I’ve ever before been to embracing this new isolated existence. It almost felt comfortable. My days had a structure and flow that felt comforting, like I was wrapped in a cocoon of consistency. I was productive.

I recognized my newfound rhythm wasn’t so much the development of my own personal pacing as it was a relinquishing of the schedule I’ve functioned under for my many, many years of living by the academic calendar. I had finally let go and relaxed into the situation. It was kind of like leaning in to a turn when riding my bicycle. Instinctual.

That sense of being in control was short lived. While my natural impulse is to be positive and spin situations into learning opportunities, what we’re experiencing now, individually and collectively, is not something that should be normalized. This pandemic is disruptive to every single segment of the world’s population and will change the way we all live long after the virus is controlled.

I’m at a stage in this crisis where I am, in fact, tired of it. Or maybe overwhelmed is a better word. I’ve read countless stories about Covid-19 and the havoc it wreaks and have reached a point where I can not absorb anymore information about the virus. Not another word.  I’m saturated.

I’m serious. The more I read about the pandemic, the more unreal it feels. I don’t mean in a conspiracy theory way. No, I mean in YA Dystopian Fiction book sort of way. Like, how did this happen? Is this real?

It’s the definition of surreal, Dali come to life.  I can’t help but wonder, years from now, what will persist in our own memories from this time? What would you prefer to forget?

 

 

 

 

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Filed under musings, News, Observations, Schools, Spring, stress, upstate New York

Teach your children. Well…

CC3FC5BE-DC37-4DC1-A4CE-4789DB89607DDuring this prolonged health and economic crisis, there’s been a lot of discussion in our country about education and how these circumstances are impacting students. I’ve read numerous articles and posts and tweets itemizing all the things kids are missing in this new “school” setting, the curriculum, the material, the lessons.

I’m not going to lie, much of our current lives is whacky, including trying to deliver a standards based curriculum to students via chrome books. Education is so much more, though, than Google Classroom and Zoom meetings. The social interactions, the discipline involved with adhering to a schedule, and the knowledge absorbed from the educational setting each contribute to what students learn in any given day.

Instead of bemoaning, though, what today’s students aren’t learning, maybe we should ponder what they are learning during this extended Pause on life. Maybe we shouldn’t worry so much.  I don’t know about you, but there really isn’t much that I learned in middle school, in terms of academics, that continues to be an integral part of my life, check writing skills and how to identify the Big Dipper, aside.

Maybe these kids will learn something different. Like…

The meaning of the word resilience.

That the purpose of government is to to help create a country with infrastructure and to provide support when necessary to that country’s citizens. Not to make a bunch of mostly white, mostly males rich through their relationships with corporations.

The importance of community.

The meaningfulness of helping others – our family, neighbors, and coworkers.

An ability to differentiate between being prepared and hoarding necessary household items.

How to work independently and manage their time.

An understanding that sometimes we need to modify our own behavior to preserve the well being of others.

The interconnectedness of our world.

How to be less wasteful

And more appreciative.

There may not be a grade assigned, but what we teach children now, through our actions and examples, are lessons that have the potential to remain with them for far longer than a marking period.

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Filed under Education, ideas, musings, Observations, Schools

Miss. Lilly edition.

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Are you missing fresh flowers from the grocery store or garden? I am.

Things I will miss when the current lock down ends:

  • Long walks with Jeter and the feeling that he finally is getting enough of my attention.
  • Roads with less cars and sidewalks with more people.
  • Eating meals when I’m hungry without regard to time.
  • My comfort with going barefaced. I don’t usually wear very much makeup, but I used to hesitate before leaving the house without mascara. Now I don’t.
  • The Cuomo briefings.

Things I do miss during this state of isolation and social distancing:

  • Massages and pedicures and hair salon services.
  • Not hearing from the Idiot-in-chief aka Donald Trump.
  • Shared experiences like restaurant meals and movies in the theater.
  • Seeing my students.
  • Getting together with my girls. We’re overdue.

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Filed under Albany, beauty, Eating, favorites, Food, friends, Gardens, Local, Movies, musings, News, Observations, politics, Random, Spring, upstate New York

CivMix redux – April edition

73940183-DF45-4E2A-9447-F8CF0FDFB92DI’ve put together a few links to my posts over on CivMix. They’re a reflection of the current Covid situation and express some of my concerns, past times and where I’m finding some comfort. Hope you enjoy them!

http://civmix.com/2020/04/where-are-the-children/

http://civmix.com/2020/04/what-to-watch-during-a-pandemic/

http://civmix.com/2020/04/table-for-one/

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Filed under Albany, Dinner, Eating, favorites, Food, Local, Movies, Observations, Recommendations, Restaurants, Schools, stress, television, upstate New York

C-ing past Corona

0DB47822-785B-4765-87CE-FB02C5144FA6I don’t know about you, but I’m getting more than a little overwhelmed by the constant barrage of CoronaVirus related news. I’m feeling anxious and isolated and sort of cast adrift as I struggle to figure out how to do my job from home.

While I’ve been escaping with live streamed yoga classes, professional Zoom meetings and binge watching Sex and the City, it isn’t enough. For the rest of my waking hours, irregular as they may be, there are two C words beyond Corona that are occupying my time – cooking and cleaning.

Since grocery shopping is such an ordeal these days and we’re encouraged to remain at home, I’ve been trying to cook out of my pantry and my crisper drawer. Last night’s meal nicely capitalized on what I happened to have on hand – broccoli rabe, chickpeas, canned tomatoes and an open container of veggie stock.

Now, if you look at this NYT recipe you might notice that it doesn’t actually call for broccoli rabe, listing kale instead, but this is very much a recipe that one can modify according to whim or ingredients available. My take on it, after reading some of the comments on the NYT website, doubled the chickpeas and used the liquid from the canned tomatoes and veggie stock instead of water. I also tossed in a Parm rind for some added flavor and increased the crushed red pepper by a generous extra pinch.

DB984C4F-F9E3-4D70-BEEA-684206D4BAEDServed with grated cheese, it was a cheap and healthy dinner with the bonus of being delicious.

Cooking the Pasta e Ceci  was easy and satisfying – just like some of the recent home projects I’ve taken on. Since I frequently find myself wandering from room to room in my house, I’ve done a fair amount of organizing and weeding of items that I’m prepared to eliminate from my home. There’s been quite a bit of dusting also and I actually removed the three milk glass sconces from my bathroom light fixture and gave them a good washing. I learned that they are in fact not milk glass. They were just really dusty.

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On the menu for the upcoming week – Asparagus Pork Stir fry, cleaning the ceiling fans, and moderating my news consumption. How about you?

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Filed under Albany, Cooking, DelSo, Dinner, Food, ideas, News, Observations, Recipes, Recommendations, Spring, stress, upstate New York

Signs of the times

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With little else left to do, I find myself walking a lot. On the sunny days, it’s hard to not believe that eventually things will find their way to a new normal. Trees are budding and the earliest bloomers are showing off in front yards and gardens. Life continues, right?

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When the skies are grey, though, it’s more difficult to project into a future that contains all the components previously taken for granted – regular schedules for schools and work, grocery stores with fully stocked shelves, hugs with those we love. All those things we never could have anticipated disappearing in a haste that is breathtaking.

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It feels like it’s important to document what is happening, with words and images and I’ve been doing both. The photos here are from recent walks I’ve taken. I’ll continue posting photos over at Instagram, if you want to give me a follow over there.

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For now, I need to put on some lipstick, set up my Chrome Book and read another chapter in the book I’m sharing with my students using Screencastify. Maybe listening to a book being read will provide an escape from some of what we can’t avoid seeing in print.

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Filed under Albany, Exercise, Local, medical, musings, Observations, Spring, stress, upstate New York

Can’t touch this

Over the weekend I stopped at the Apple Store to buy a new phone charger for my car. Whenever I go there, I’m always amazed at the number of people shopping for computers and phones. It’s like Black Friday every single day! After a few minutes of looking around the perimeter of the store, I finally located what I needed. Since there apparently isn’t an actual kiosk or checkout area, I asked for help and was directed to a staff member who would help me with my transaction.

I handed the employee my item and the card I wished to use for payment. He swiped and then reached towards me to allow me to complete the sale. I extended my hand to accept the portable terminal, but suddenly changed my mind. I didn’t want to touch that thing.

The decision to withdraw my hand was completely unpremeditated, almost an instinct. I smiled at the man and apologized, saying that I didn’t mean to offend him and it wasn’t anything personal, but I just didn’t want to touch that piece of hardware that countless other people had touched before me. He seemed to understand my hesitation refusal and entered the necessary information himself as I provided it to him eliminating my need to handle the terminal.

As he completed the sale, we talked about the Corona Virus and the general state of germy-ness in a business which provides potential customers the opportunity to get “hands-on” with technology. I had noticed a maintenance employee scrupulously wiping down tables and display models when I entered the store, something I had never seen before. To me, that suggests an awareness of the virus and a reasonable response to the situation at this time.

It’s impossible to predict how widespread this virus is going to spread. I don’t go to the mall very frequently, but I have been washing my hands like a lunatic recently. Working in a school with hundreds of kids who probably directly contradict my own habits as stated in the previous sentence makes me a little uncomfortable. I find myself very conscious each time I assist a student on their chromebook and am trying to refrain from touching my face.

How are you dealing with this potential health crisis? Have you made any changes to your routines to avoid contact with crowds? Are you considering altering travel plans? Has the Corona Virus impacted you and your family?

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