Teacher Tales


Sometimes a teacher’s work seems to never end and, honestly, it keeps me from posting here as often as I might like.  At the same time, it provides me with endless joy and entertainment.  The last couple of days brought lots of laughter.

I teach 8th – junior English and Spanish 1 and 2.  This past Friday, Spanish 1 class became the site for lots of laughter.  We were practicing translating sentences from English to Spanish.  To date they have learned to say what they like, sentences about the weather, write about time, and to use the two “to be” verbs used in Spanish among other things.  Somehow in the process of describing a person using a variety of adjectives they have been taught, one of the students blurted out, ” I think old people are ugly.” I said, “So you think I am ugly?”  This caused a minor uproar with laughter and indignation.  In an attempt to make the situation better, he continued, “No, I mean people over 60.”  I repeated, “So you think I am ugly?”  By this time everyone was laughing, including me, protesting his attitude.  He started to try to wriggle out of that one when I pointed out that it might be better if he kept quiet.  He started to say something about wrinkles but that got shut down by the other students.

Just before all this,  his younger brother came into the classroom.  He is the student who wrote a page-long poem about my hair last year.  He said to his brother, “What is wrong with you?  She is beautiful.”  Then walked out of the room.

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By this time everyone was laughing and talking except the student who made the original remark about old people and a few were shouting at him about his awful attitude.  By the way, in case you do not know, the word for ugly in Spanish is feo or  fea, depending on whether you are describing a male or female.

This weekend I read 50 or so book reports.  One of them included this statement in response to the question, “What did you learn from this book?”  “I learned it is sometimes fun to be bad.” The student was referring to the book, “Tom Sawyer.”

I have no clue how to respond to that remark.

 

 

 

A Season of Gratitude


It started Thursday with the Winter Solstice and the full moon:  the love, the presents, my astonishment.  You cannot go wrong with moonlight hanging over a canyon.  It never disappoints.

Then on Friday, astonishment.  Teachers never expect what I received.  I expect excellence and hope most learn something new, learn that books they will like exist, that they can do more than they ever dreamed.  We do not expect presents.

By ten on Friday, my classroom was covered with gifts and food.  Here is a list of some of the presents I received from my students:

frankincense and myrrh soap

a book about wine–yes, it seems they know me

a 4 by 4 black block that says Love, Smile, Enjoy, Laugh, Sing, Live

two gifts cards from a brother and sister for renting movies along with popcorn

a Picasso scarf

a thermal cup full of almonds–I received lots of almonds

all sorts of homemade candies, cookies, and other goodies

To top it all off, a mother walked into my room and handed me a bottle of red wine with this written on it:  “Our child might be the reason you drink so enjoy this bottle on us, Merry Christmas.”  I am still chuckling about this one.

My daughter and grandson are on a cruise and will get to see several ancient Mayan temples, my son is on his way here and will arrive around noon or early afternoon, I attended a beautiful Christmas Eve service last night, then came home and continued reading a fascinating book until late, and shortly I will make pumpkin bread using Mom’s old recipe.

The moon still shines, hanging in the Western horizon.  I feel grateful.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Juliana

 

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Note:  The Christmas tree my parents gave me decades ago with a skirt, simple fabric brought from Africa many years ago.

 

Sunday Poem–Last Day of 2017


 

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It’s cold outside, 14.

Horse waterers frozen.

Heat water, hike to barn.

Hope horses drink it fast before it freezes.

Back inside, build a fire,

write, read a novel set in Venice,

drink tea from Ceylon,

message friends in Asia, Africa, South America,

feel grateful for modern technology.

Glad I did not live in those “good ole days”.

Look forward to another year filled with joy and wonder–

my choice.

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A Week of Gratitude (cont.)


Although I intend to continue with gratitude thoughts and lists, this is my last post of this one week exercise.

Saturday’s list includes:

-Cooking for and enjoying the company of close friends.

-Listening to music I love–Angelique Kidjo, Rokia Traore, Cesaria Evora, Conjunto Primavera.

Sunday’s list includes:

-Enjoying springlike weather with birds singing.

-Accomplishing spring cleaning in my xeriscape flower beds.

-Trying a Japanese sauce I never tasted before–yakiniku.  I used it with chicken and bok choy over Jasmine rice.  This included marinating grated carrots in mirin, another Japanese sauce which I especially like.

-Watching a deer disappear through the junipers.

-Enjoying the warm weather from my patio.

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Christmas Thoughts


Snow falls in a
driving wind.
If the roads become
too awful, I will
celebrate Christmas
alone.
An awful experience?
No.
Beauty lies outside the windows and
in my heart.
Heat radiates from the fire.
Food fills my refrigerator.
Music bursts from CDs’.
Joy!!
Christmas always brings delight and
reflection.
You do not have to be a Christian to
feel the meaning:
Kindness
Tolerance
Empathy
Giving
Receiving
Accepting
Families
Friends
Love
Joy!!

The Encounter Poems


Throughout my life, I seem to experience what I call encounters:  meeting people I never saw before and having some type of connection with them.  Various things occur under these circumstances.  Sometimes I keep in contact for at least a while with these people and sometimes not.  This week I am going to post several of these poems.  Here is the first one.

In Line at a Fast Food Restaurant

Caramel eyes

glowing in a brown face

Panama hat

Intricately carved silver cross

Crisp, snowy linen shirt

No collar

Slacks loose.

He’s lost weight.

I think,

“Gorgeous brown man.”

He says,

“In case no one has told you lately,

you’re gorgeous!”

He walks off to meet

the pregnant woman in the corner.

Recipe for Life


Yesterday, I attended the memorial service for an extraordinary woman, Paula Porterfield.  As a young woman she exhibited remarkable intelligence and leadership skills.  She attended college and became a nurse.  Then without warming, schizophrenia struck. She kept on going and attained a second degree.  She never gave up.  Her generosity and kindness remain legendary.  She both loved and wrote poetry, created hand made gifts for friends, and gave endlessly, never complaining no matter how bad her health, how distressing her living conditions, or how badly her hands shook.  She never spoke ill of others. She modeled how to live life well in spite of awful odds.  Here is her recipe for life:

3 c. Love

1 c. Understanding

2 tbsp. Concern

2 tsp. Emotional Security

2 tbsp. Joy

4 tbsp. Hope

1 c. Loyalty

3/4 c. Committment

Pinch of Support

Cream Love and Understanding.   Mix Concern and Emotional Security.  Fold in Joy and Hope.  Sift Loyalty and then blend in pinch of Support and Commitment.  Sprinkle with Humor and cover with Dreams.

Put into a beautiful Being and share with the world.

Paula will be missed.