Sunday, February 18, 2018

My Students will always be my students

Yesterday I had one of those moments that makes every teacher’s heart swell with pride, I was sitting in a mall waiting for some friends to go see a movie (side note Black Panther was AMAZING!).  I heard my name and looked up to see a former students rushing toward me with a big smile on her face.  Although it had been over 6 years since I had seen her, I immediately recognized this lovely young woman before me.  After some formal introductions to her parents and my husband, we chatted for a few minutes and I learned that not only was she graduating with honors this year, but that she had been offered a full scholarship to college.  I would like to say that I had at least some small part in her accomplishments, but the truth is she was a wonderful student back in 6th grade and I have no doubt her parents were the biggest part of her success.

Listening to her plans for college was a special teacher moment.  When she hugged me, as they got ready to leave, she said to me “I had to come and say hello, I just loved being in your class, you were my favorite teacher.”  It is hard to put into words what really meant to me.  I loved teaching in a classroom and most of all I loved my students, even the frustrating ones.  I realized that after teaching approximately 120 middle school students each year for ten years, I have taught well over a thousand students.  That is an incredible number but I felt something special for each and every student. 

Sometimes I do miss being in a classroom, feeling the energy of thirty 6th graders, and watching their amazement as they learned something new.  I get angry and frustrated at how teachers are vilified in the news and how teachers are still being unvalued and underpaid, but moments like yesterday makes me so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of my student’s lives. Even though I am no longer teaching in a classroom, my students will always be special to me and moments like yesterday are the very best part of teaching. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

40 items in 40 days

So I'm not really Catholic but I saw this awesome idea for Lent and I thought I would go ahead and give it a try too because I am working hard at de-cluttering our house.   

For the next forty days I am committed to add at least one thing each day to my donation bag(s).  I found some really helpful resources online, like this great checklist

I am going to be out of town for part of that time so I will work ahead before I leave to include items for the days I will miss.

I am excited about how much I can accomplish by taking just a few minutes each day.

Wish me Luck!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Periods, Pads and Politics

I got very political this week. I just couldn’t help myself.  Sometimes there are things that ignite your passion – in either a good or bad way, and you just can’t ignore it.  The Arizona Legislature did that for me this week when a group of all men complained about having to hear a particular bill about female inmates.  Something about this bill and the response of the male legislators infuriated me. 

The bill, AZ HB2222, would allow female inmates to have unrestricted access to sanitary pads and tampons.  Currently incarcerated women in Arizona get only 12 pads each month, and if they need more or they want tampons they must buy them.  Most of these women have no money except for the very small salary they can earn at the prison, .15 cents per hour.  This means a woman would have to work for 27 hours to afford one box of tampons.  In addition, if these women get stains on their prison uniforms from menstrual blood they can receive a ticket, which could result in them loosing the ability to purchase items from the prison store.  This is such an assault on the dignity of these women. Why is this horrible situation allowed to continue?

Having personally gone through a very difficult peri-menopause I know only too well the struggle of irregular periods, and at one point I bled for 21 days straight.  I can only image if some of these women have any type of bleeding irregularities, this draconian rule would be excessively cruel.  We should NOT be promoting cruel and unusual punishment and yet this rule seems to do just that.  

When Arizona Representative Athena Salman heard about this issue from some former female inmates she drafted a bill, HB2222, but as she explained the bill to an all male committee she was met with resistance and hostility. One particularly nasty representative named Jay Lawrence not only voted against the bill, but he complained about even having to hear about it. Apparently Mr. Lawrence is less mature than an average middle-schooler because discussing periods is too embarrassing for him. 

Now the fate of this bill is up to yet another man, Representative TJ Shope, who has not scheduled the bill for a hearing.  Despite the fact that the Federal Bureau of Prisons issued a memo requiring all federal prisons to provide free maxi pads, panti liners and tampons “in sufficient frequency and number” the male Arizona lawmakers do not see this issue as a problem.  

This bill and the lack of support from male lawmakers is endemic of the frustration that women feel and these type of issues are the motivation for the highly successful women’s marches and the recent #metoo and #timesup movements.  Women are simply not going to accept being treated as second-class citizens anymore. Many women have already begun to fight back. On Twitter these women are using the hashtag #LetItFlow to draw attention to what is going on. We can and should demand more from our elected officials!  

If you feel strongly about this bill please contact Representative Shope and ask him to schedule a hearing for the bill.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

My Travel Wish list

I LOVE to travel and lately I have been having so much fun making my ‘Wish List’ of the places I want to go.  My friend highly recommended Gate One tours and I began looking at their website. OMG - I am dying just watching the videos on these pages.  These tours look so amazing!  
I found the tours I really want to go on :)  

Which tours are on your list? Let me know in the comments.