Day 20 #sol18 Lost time

Yesterday I…

  • woke up at 5 am to do yoga
  • taught from 8am-2:30pm
  • sent a bunch of emails
  • planned a brand new analysis lesson (including creating a new graphic organizer)
  • bought my son clearance snow gear for next winter
  • bought a book and an outfit for a work friend’s baby shower
  • discussed the next unit that my student teacher is planning
  • planned three meetings for later in the week
  • attended MCAS training after school (next week, oh yay…)
  • went food shopping
  • took care of my kid and dogs
  • completed my educator evaluation paperwork
  • helped my husband complete his educator evaluation paperwork
  • spent over an hour trying to get my son to fall asleep

Yesterday I did not…

  • write my Slice of Life blog post

Win some, lose some.




Day 18 #sol18 A new adventure!

I’ve been skiing since I was eight years old, and my husband J even longer. J was on the ski team in high school, and some of our favorite times together have been spent on a ski mountain.

Since our son K was born in June 2014, both the cost and the logistics of one of our favorite pastimes have been a challenge… but now that he’s almost four years old, we figured it was about time he get out on the snow, right?!



We went to Ragged Mountain in NH, where both of us learned to ski over two decades ago.


We didn’t know what this first experience would be like, but surprisingly (or not?) K took right to it!


After almost a dozen rides up the little magic carpet – a conveyor belt-like ride up a small bunny hill, far superior to the crappy rope tows of my childhood – K was ready to graduate to the big magic carpet.

This was definitely one of the less coordinated runs down the hill, haha.

Then, a few runs later, he took on the big time: THE CHAIRLIFT!


We exclusively rode the triple lift up Barnyard, a green circle (novice) hill, and after a few hours of skiing, lunch, and a few more runs, K was toast. But he loved it, he had a great first experience, and even better, he wants to go back to the mountain next weekend! So it looks like a lot more skiing is in our family’s future!


slice of life

Day 17 #sol18 Pride

I walk into the Cohen Auditorium at Tufts. The mood is subdued but excited, expectant. In a few minutes, the ceremony will begin:

I am here today to celebrate one of the two students I sponsored in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards this year, Sam. (The other was honored at an identical ceremony that took place two hours earlier, as they schedule four different ceremony times due to space limitations.)

I have brought my family with me, because today is a big deal. Not only did Sam win a number of regional awards, but he received one of the most prestigious national awards, as well, a Gold Medal for his writing portfolio. In June, I will spend a couple of days in New York City attending the national ceremony at Carnegie Hall and other exciting events.

But today is the first step. As we sit there, the screen shows the art and portraits of past winners. “Make way for ducklings!” K calls out when Robert McLusky’s art appears. “Peter!” he giggles when Ezra Jack Keats’ famous character is shown.

Then the lights dim and there is a fancy produced video featuring a past winner who became a professional artist, author Junot Diaz, and staff from the Boston Globe and Tufts, who help sponsor the regional part of the competition. They discuss the role of art and congratulate the winners and their families; then, when they begin to thank the teachers, I start to lose it.

This is every teacher’s dream: to mentor, to support, to build relationships, to see their students soar.

(Luckily, I had the foresight to put a small packet of tissues in my purse for today.)

After a few speakers, it’s time to announce the present winners. Of the 46 students from my school who won regional awards, only 3 are in in attendance at this particular ceremony, but there’s only one who matters to me right now.

After the ceremony, we find our way over to Sam and his parents. There are hugs, laughs, and lots of exchanged compliments. We talk about how exciting it will be to go to New York in June.

Before we leave, I seek out one of the program organizers. They had a small gift for teachers, she said:

But I’ve already received the best gift of all – helping a student uncover his voice and realize his potential. There is nothing better than that.

Day 16 #sol18 A Visit

slice of lifeThis has been a rough week. We had two snow days, another student walkout and rally that was both inspiring and also emotionally exhausting, and everyone seems to have a Daylight Saving hangover.

That was why a visit from a former student was such a highlight today.

I taught “Dre” in my English 11 class two years ago, and last year I helped him write his college essay and I wrote his recommendation letter. He was a special kind of high school student – someone everyone knew, a big bright smile, tons of personality, worked hard, took initiative, owned his own brand and party planning service for other young people. I know, right?! Just special.

He currently attends school in Rhode Island, and he came back to visit teachers today while home on spring break. I was grading quizzes during my prep period when I heard a boisterous “Miz M!” as he breezed through my door.

We hugged and started chatting.

How are classes? What have you been doing with your business? What’s living in Rhode Island like?

I was so proud when Dre told me that his English class in the fall was hard but he did well. We laughed about how immature and little the freshmen seemed to him now, walking the halls as an adult. He promised to come back and visit me again next week and talk to my current 11th graders.

This is why we teach – because we know that what we are doing is helping our young people make it to the next exciting phases of their lives. Through all the stresses and hassles of the job, we know it’s worth it.

Day 15 #sol18 I am not your martyr.

Tonight was family conferences night at my school.

I LOVE meeting families.

I do NOT love being at school until 8:00pm.

With all the talk about teachers carrying weapons, I have been thinking about this lately:

I am not your martyr.

I have a life. I have a child. I have a husband. I have friends, family, pets, hobbies. I spend more than 50% of the calendar year NOT in school.

I love my job. I take it home. I put in long hours. I attend optional PDs and take extra classes. I spend lots of time thinking about my students when I’m not at school. I love my students.

But at some point, our society needs to stop expecting teachers to die for our students – figuratively and literally. We are not martyrs. We are not saviors. We are not superheroes.

We are people doing a job we love because we believe it is important.

But we should not sacrifice ourselves. We should not flame out, burn up, crush ourselves under the weight of our own and others’ expectations of us.

I got home late tonight. I’m going to drink a glass of wine. I’m going to hug my child. I’m not going to grade. I’m not going to lesson plan. And I’m not going to feel guilty for prioritizing all the parts of me that aren’t a teacher for once.

Because I am not a martyr.

Day 14 #sol18 Grateful

Today was our second snow day! We got about 2 feet of snow at our house, north of Boston, and there was just as much in the city to need to cancel school again today for the cleanup.

This morning, we went into Cambridge to J’s grandmother’s house to do snow removal for her tenants.

As I stood there in the sun, surrounded by soft, wet snow, shovel in hand, I gave thanks to my body. March 14 may not be a day of thanksgiving, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in my 35 years, it’s to acknowledge gratitude everyday.

I am grateful for my body, which was able to grow and birth a baby.

I am grateful for recovery, for the strength and energy that I have been able to regain.

I am grateful for arms that can lift, legs that can squat, a strong back.

I am grateful for community, for distance that is eliminated by the internet, for women who post fitness videos online so women like me can begin again.

I am grateful for support, for my husband who entertains our child so I can work out, who encourages me when I want to quit.

And after two hours of shoveling, I was grateful for sore muscles. They meant that I could, that I did.

slice of life

Day 13 #sol18 Scenes from a snow day!

This is the second nor’easter in as many weeks for New England, and I am Over. It.

Last week, my district was one of the only ones in the state to remain open, but the forecast for this one was apparently intense enough that they called a snow day last night.

But even though everyone in my house is ready for spring and baseball and warmer weather, we’re still making the most of it. My Slice today a photo essay entitled “Scenes from a Snow Day: Part I” – enjoy!