Browsing Tag

Teaching

Guest Posts, Tribe, Truth

The Something-Else

January 17, 2018
something

By Jennifer Rieger

There are some things that will never just feel like a coincidence.
~ A-Dack[1] Quote of the Day, May 31, 2016

The first day of school, she looked like she wanted to die. She chose the seat front and center, the perfect position for me to genuinely appreciate her major case of RBF[2]. There were moments during my entertaining first day multimedia extravaganza when she thought about smiling. I know she did. With a slight smirk, she’d look out the corner of her eye to her best friend, Dante, but then the seriousness would resume. It was, after all, AP Literature and Composition, and maybe I was particularly frightening that day with all the happiness and love.

However, it didn’t take long for me to win over Anna. The further we delved into the curriculum, the more she enjoyed literature, class discussion, and quietly contemplating life. She was in quite a state when she showed up for her college essay conference, bright red and full of angst. “Ms. Rieger… These people aren’t going to want me. Ms. Rieger… Nothing about me comes out coherently. Ms. Rieger… Maybe I’ll walk into traffic, or just stay here with you.” How I would have loved a world in which the latter was true. It didn’t take long to realize that I never wanted to let go of that RBF hot mess. Continue Reading…

Awe & Wonder, Guest Posts, Holidays

Living—No, Thriving—in America

December 1, 2017
lessons

By Barbara Solomon Josselsohn

How do I know if I should say Merry Christmas? Do I ask people about their religion so I can buy the right wrapping paper? What do I give my building’s super? My daughter’s swim coach? My son’s piano teacher?

It’s Thursday morning in early December and I’m seated with two other volunteers in a small classroom in a church, fielding holiday questions from young Asian moms who are new to this country. Their husbands have blended into their new surroundings easily, their professional positions offering plenty of opportunities to perfect their English and engage with American co-workers and clients. The same goes for their children, who pick up English quickly and bond seamlessly with schoolmates, the way young kids often do. It’s different, though, for my students, whose chances to connect with their American counterparts are limited to fast-paced PTA meetings and brief, spontaneous encounters at the supermarket. Learning English is hard, but even more difficult is mastering the labyrinth of customs, routines and traditions that American moms navigate daily with ease. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, No Bullshit Motherhood, parenting

Past Imperfect

November 1, 2016
year

By Hazel Donovan

Every year it’s the same. I walk into the school conference room carrying a binder and a single question. Teachers and administrators group in a defensive formation, a single chair waiting across the table. Like a criminal facing the parole board, I take my designated seat, eyes on the neat white stapled pages arranged like place settings.

A quick glance at the ring of faces — tight smiles, dropped eyes — and I have my answer. In spite of everything, nothing has changed. Hope flutters out the window with the spring breeze.

I blink back tears. Crying in an IEP meeting was expected in Kindergarten, the tissue box at the ready. They tolerated it in elementary school, disapproved of it in Junior High. My son’s a freshman now, and the faces at the table are blank. There’s a quarter moon mark where my nail digs deep into my finger, the pain a necessary reminder to focus. The faces start speaking, and the words are familiar but like a pair of dress shoes, never quite comfortable.

Your son is too loud, distractible, annoying to the other students.

The buzzing starts in the back of my head. The build-up to a scream. Continue Reading…

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