Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 31: Easter Preparations

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 31: 

Easter Preparations

Mother, son, daughter,/

decorate, dye hard-boiled eggs-/

Easter traditions.  




Of course there is always at least one egg casualty (see cracked egg above). 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 30: My Reader

 For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 30: 

My Reader

 Alaina scans the titles on my bookshelf. Her fingers run along the book spines. 

“You have A LOT of books, Mom.”  She's right. Buying books is my downfall. I have more titles than someone could probably read in a lifetime. 

“I know. Too many. I’m trying not to buy so many and using the library instead.”

“What’s this one about?” She holds Kim Liggett’s The Grace Year.

“Oh, that’s a dystopian YA novel. I started reading it last year, but I must have gotten distracted. I remember liking it, but it is dark.”

“I’ll try it, Mom.”

Alaina dives into The Grace Year. She reads it in the car as we are running errands. She reads it at the kitchen table while she eats a snack. She reads me snippets of the book periodically. 


“This book is SO disturbing, but I cannot stop reading it!” 

“The ones you can't put down - those are the best kind! Just remember-it’s not a real story.” 

She nods and returns to the book. 

For the next few days, instead of her usual iPhone/iPad fixation, she’s immersed in this book. I overhear her tell her big brother about The Grace Year. (The even get in a bit of a debate about all of the disturbing books they have read and which one is the most disturbing.) 

It's Spring Break, and my daughter is buried in a book. This mamma couldn’t be happier. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 29: Cat Anniversary

 For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 29: 

Cat Anniversary

They were brought over from across the street - me carrying Emma, Dave with Victor. It was the most simple cat transfer. 

I found a place for their litterboxes in the basement. I set out their food and water bowls in the kitchen. We had a basket of cat toys waiting for them and even purchased a small scratching post for them. 

We didn't see Emma for at least three days. Victor was cautious, but once he realized that we would provide him with food, he was eager to be sitting on laps and discovering new sunbeams in our house.

It's been over a year since we welcomed Victor and Emma into our home. Now Emma greets me at the door when I return home. She is often my shadow, eager for my attention. Each night Victor climbs up into my lap and purrs. I believe that they are living their best cat lives

Little did I know that these two creatures would provide my children and me with so much companionship, curiosity, and joy. Rescuing these two felines was a welcome change. I am pretty sure that my children would agree.





 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 28: Rollerblade Driveway Delight

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 28: 

Rollerblade Driveway Delight

My daughter has been begging for rollerblades for the last few months. She has been rollerskating a few times before, but not rollerblading. It's also been a while since we went roller skating, and we haven't had many opportunities to skate. 

On Friday I had the good fortune to borrow several pairs of rollerblades from a friend - a fellow parent who knows that it's wise to try out something before you invest in purchasing it. 

I have a flat and wide driveway, perfect for rollerblading. With knee pads, helmets, and wrist guards, the three of us put on our gear. 

We all began a bit shakey, especially my daughter, who has had the least amount of experience on wheels. She fell several times and clutched onto my arm before she was able to achieve balance on her own. Soon, although a bit shaken, she was skating back and forth between the width of our driveway. 

“I’m awful at this, but it’s SO fun!” She exclaimed. 

“You are doing just fine. It takes practice.” I reassured her. 

We spent at least an hour roller blading before we headed inside.

"Can we do this again, Mom?" 

I nodded, thrilled that we could enjoy something outside together.  


Lace skates. Find balance./

Rollerblade driveway delight./

Outside spring pleasure.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 27: Desks

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 27: Desks

Outside the classroom: fifteen desks hugging the concrete hallway wall. The desks have been sitting in storage during virtual and hybrid learning to ensure six feet of social distancing. Following Spring Break, students will be seated in desk pods of four with limited social distancing. 

Another upcoming pivot.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 26: Delightful Surprise

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 26: Delightful Surprise

Last Monday morning I peered into my wooden mailbox slot in the school office. I noticed a small envelope with my name on it. 

I could barely wait to see what was inside and opened it before I even got to my classroom door. To my surprise, it was an encouraging note and sticker from a friend/colleague. Smiling to myself, I hugged the note and sticker close to my chest. 


Sometimes the smallest gestures make a huge difference. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 25: Right Now

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 25: Right Now

I recently saw this post on Leigh Anne's A Day In the Life. I enjoyed reading it and wanted to share my own list.

What I'm Reading - I'm notorious for reading more than one book at a time. I thrive on this. After reading a post about this book from Ramona, I ordered and began reading Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the time of COVID-19. It's a collection of interviews, poetry, and essays. I am also listening to Searching for April Raintree, a powerful novel. This is the story of two Canadian M├ętis sisters who were raised in foster care for most of their young lives and deal with racism and exploring their identity as adults. 

What I'm Writing - Aside from lesson plans and feedback on Canvas, I am mostly only writing daily blogs for the Slice of Life Challenge and journaling. At some point I would like to write more and publish. Lately this goal seems so out of reach.

What I'm Learning - I am learning that it is okay to be gentle with myself and continue to realize that life is a journey that I am still figuring out how to navigate. At school I am learning again how to be flexible as we pivot to our fourth learning model this year. Personally, although I haven't lost anyone due to the pandemic, I have been processing grief and trying to figure out how I want to spend my time and energy when the pandemic is over. Therefore, I plan to participate in Elena Aguilar's Bright Morning Feel Better Program

What I'm Loving - Catching the sunrise is always a love. Signs of spring give me so much joy. Playing board games with my children is one of my favorite ways to spend time with them. My parents are now both fully vaccinated, and I am part-vaccinated; we can visit again! I adore comedy and laughing until my belly aches. 

Thank you for this inspiration, Leigh Anne. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 24: FaceTime Chats

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 24: FaceTime Chats

"FaceTime soon?" Steve texts me.

"Yes please," I reply.

"Ready now?" 

"Yup." I find myself giddy waiting for his call. 

I hear the familiar FaceTime ringtone and accept his call.



This is a nightly ritual for my boyfriend and me, unless we are physically with each other.

We began dating towards the beginning of the pandemic. For the first two months of our relationship, we didn't see each other in person. Since we live in different towns and have a bit of distance between us, we tried to stay connected in whatever way we could. We tried phone calls, but my reception was awful. We tried Google Hangout, a little bit of WhatsApp, and landed on using FaceTime. 

Over our daily FaceTime chat, we talk about our day, tell each other stories, and can even show each other what is happening at our respective homes. I like that I can see his facial expressions and hear the inflections in his voice. At times, when one of us is tired or has something going on, our chat is brief - sometimes only ten minutes. However, we can easily FaceTime for an hour or more. These moments make me feel like a swooning teen. 

Throughout the year, there have been many examples when I had a rough day with school or other events. Connecting with Steve on Facetime almost always brightens my mood. Steve continuously makes me laugh and smile. I can be silly with him, yet we can share incredibly serious things. I feel listened to, respected, and loved. It's reassuring when I can hear his voice and see his face. He's usually the last person I see or talk with before I fall asleep.  

In the past year, he has become my best friend. I believe that our video chats brought us closer together and helped us stay connected. I couldn't be more grateful.  

What technology tools have you used to stay in touch with loved ones during the pandemic? 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 23: Eye Candy

 For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 23: Eye Candy

The past weekend I went hiking at Cherney Maribol Caves County Park. Although this was not my first time visiting this park, I was in awe of its beauty, especially in the how the trees and crag intertwine.  

Tree roots travel down/

Niagra dolomite - cliff/

line beauty wonder.



What natural beauty have you noticed lately? 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 22: Muddy Shoes

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 22:

Muddy Shoes

Muddy shoes: sure sign of spring. 



Sunday, March 21, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 21: Depending On When You Met Me

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 21:

Depending on When You Met Me   

As usual, I am almost always late to the party. Thank you to Leigh Anne for this invitation. I have enjoyed reading other bloggers respond to Leigh Anne's invitation. 

Depending on When You Met Me by Trina

Depending on when you met me, I might have been: a kid who played tag in the church sanctuary while her father prepared Sunday sermons, a piano player who had to be nagged to practice, a Girl Scout, a little sister who read her big sister's diary, a tenth grader who got to collect holy water from the Jordan River, a babysitter, a flutist, the girl who sold tresses of her blonde hair to a market vendor in Bolivia, the kid who got emergency surgery on her wisdom teeth two days before a trip to Germany, the girl who moved and switched high schools the summer before her senior year of high school, a hostess and waitress, a church camp counselor, a book seller, an university Information Technology Student Worker, a graduate of a English Education, a chaperone of high school students to the British Isles and later Australia, a teacher of middle school students, a graduate student who had to put her degree on hold when her baby boy was born premature, a sleep-deprived full-time working momma of two, a baker, a ukulele player, a secondary district literacy coach, a high school English and Alternative Education teacher, a mentor, a divorcee, a cat owner, a plant enthusiast, a woman who is learning how to sew again, a girlfriend, and a voracious reader and writer.  

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 20: How Have you Grown?

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 20:

How Have You Grown?   

In an effort to connect with my students in a postive way, I continue to begin my senior level classes with community building questions. At the beginning of March I wrote in this post about a different question I asked my high school seniors. 

This past Thursday and Friday I posed this question to my students, "What's one way you have changed since you were a freshman?" 

I expected most of my student responses to be light-hearted. Of course a few of them were oozing with sarcasm, like when *Mavis said, her eyes sparkling with smiles behind her mask, "I hate school even more." *Aaron shared, "I have bigger clothes." Eric's response made me chuckle: "I don't think that seniors are so big and scary anymore. " *Lizzie's made me smile when she said, "I sleep less." She followed this with a huge yawn and showed us her huge energy drink. 

However, for the most part, my students shared meaningful insights with each other. Here are a few that stuck out to me:

  • "I am less immature."
  • "I am more independent and have more confidence."
  • "My point of view on topics has really changed. I don't think the same when I was a freshman."
  • "My goals are really different now. I thought that I might be applying for college, but I am more focused on working so I can earn enough to live on my own."
  • "I don't let people walk all over me anymore."
  • "I have taken more control over the decisions in my life." 
  • "I'm more responsible."
  • "I procrastinate less."
  • "I'm better at time management now."
  • "I worry less about how I think that people see me."
  • "I am more outgoing."
  • "I am less anxious."
  • "My mental health is a lot better."
There was one student in particular whose answer stunned me:
 "I am in better control of my emotions. I used to get angry and just leave the classroom in a huff. I hid in bathrooms. Now I know to breathe and calm myself down. I can get upset about something but know that I can still be okay." 
Wow. As soon as she said this comment, it was quiet. No one said or typed anything on line. For those learning in person, a few heads nodded. 

"Thank you for sharing that brave insight, *Rachel," I said. 

At seventeen, I don't think that I would have been able to share something so astute with a group of my peers. 

As with all of our community building questions, some responses are typed in the chat on the Google Meet. Some students share their thoughts verbally on the Google Meet. My masked, in-person learners usually shout out their responses. 

Somehow we are creating classroom community, even though this year has felt so fragmented. To me, this conversation is another reminder that many of my students are still growing and thriving, despite all of the challenges they have faced in the last year.

*a pseudonym

Friday, March 19, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 19: Last Minute Request

 For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 19:

Last Minute Request 

"Would you be willing to write me a recommendation letter? It's for a scholarship." Her email inquires. 

"Of course! What would you like me to highlight? When is it due?" I respond.

"It's due tomorrow. I am really sorry. I didn't realize this until today."

"I'll do my best," I reply, wondering how I will find the time to write a letter today. 

She's a hard-working, bright student I adore. She's had more challenges before turning eighteen than most people should have in a lifetime. She needs this scholarship to attend post-secondary school. She needs all the help she can get. I needed to figure out how to write it in time for her. It was a request I could not turn down.

In between Parent Teacher Conference Google Meets last night, I pounded out her recommendation letter.  

Recommendation/

letter request. I accept./

"It's due tomorrow." 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 18: Weekly Routine

 For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 18:

Weekly Routine

I make my way down to our high school gym, where district staff members have the weekly opportunity to take an asymptomatic COVID test. 

As I reach the entrance of the gym, Tom says hello, grins, and sprints ahead of me. 

"I beat you!" He says, and I giggle.  I love the spontaneity of his run. We enter the double doors of the Large Gym, careful to provide ample space between each other.

My playful mood instantly shifts. Health care workers are dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including protective clothing, face masks, and gloves. Everyone is now somber and serious.

I stand in line while I wait my turn. My weight shifts back and forth a bit. I check my face mask and make sure that it is appropriately covering my nose and mouth. 

"Have you done this before?"

I nod and hand my COVID Testing Program paper voucher to the health care provider. He hands me a small, sealed baggie containing a plastic test tube and paperwork. I hold my baggie and wait for the next step.

"Please state your name and date of birth," A different health worker requests. I share my information. She takes the bag from my hand and hands me a long swab for my nose.

I am already swabbing each side of my nostril before she can give me the standard instructions. My swab is placed back into the test tube. 

"You should receive results back through an email link in two to four days."

"Thank you," I respond, leave the gym, and return back to my classroom. 

Our district began providing optional and free asymptomatic COVID tests at our building a few months ago. I have been taking advantange of this optional convience (and peace of mind) each week. The first time I got an asymptomatic COVID test, I was so nervous. What if the swab hurts? What if I test positive? Will I be standing in line for a long time?

Taking a COVID test is no longer a worry for me. It is a quick test to take. It doesn't hurt. I know that if I test positive, I will take care of myself and do what I can to protect others. 

I never imagined that taking a weekly medical test would be a part of my weekly routine at school. 

What is a routine that you didn't expect that you would get used to this school year?


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 17: Rummikub Win

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 17:

Rummikub Win

In the middle of trying to write a slice for Tuesday, Alaina runs into my bedroom, flings our family's Rummikub game on my bed.

 

 "Mom, can we play a round?" 

"Yes, let me just finish typing this sentence, and I'll be right there," I close my Chromebook and head into the kitchen. Alaina already has the game set up. 

Sitting across from each other, we each select fourteen tiles and begin playing. 

Alaina is intense when it comes to Rummikub. It's an hour without Netflix or Youtube. It's an hour without texting. It's an hour of just me and my daughter. 

We talk. We laugh. We tease. 


She wins a game. I win a game. 

She breaks the tie to win for a second time and yells, "And that's how it's done!" 

She delights in beating her mother.

"Aren't you glad you taught me how to play so well?" She teases. 

Little does she know that I cherish any opportunity that I can get to spend time with her. 

 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21: Day 16: Searching for Slices

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 16:

Searching for Slices

Have you ever had one of those days where you just don't know what to write? 

Today I must have thought of six different ideas. I started writing. I stopped. I started writing again. I stopped. I just couldn't articulate the small moment I wanted to convey. All my slices seemed so...dull. Honestly, I spent more time generating ideas than crafting this post. 

Some days are like that. 

One of my many attempts at a slice today

Start.Stop.Start.Stop.Start./

Generate slice ideas./

Can't find the right words.


Monday, March 15, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 15: Victor

 For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 15:

Victor

Why must you always/

take my spot? Scat! You screech, hiss,/

...yet your motor purrs. 




Sunday, March 14, 2021

Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 14: Pandemic Picnic

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life Challeng #21 Day 14:

Pandemic Picnic

I gathered a loaf of bread, some lettuce, and mayo. I sliced some ham and cut several pieces of colby cheese. I placed the peanut butter, Sunbutter, and jelly on the counter and set out some butter knives. This spread should satisfy everyone.

"Is everyone up?" I yelled up the stairs at my children. "You have thirty minutes to finish getting ready, including that you each need to make a sandwich for your lunch. Get going!" 

It was nearly 9:30; my fifteen-year-old and nearly thirteen-year-old emerged from their respective bedrooms. 

"Okay Mom," I heard my son respond. My daughter trudged down the stairs, bed hair and all.  

Ten minutes later the three of us were crowded around my small kitchen, reaching for items and assembling sandwiches on our kitchen table. We placed them in the small red Igloo cooler. I added several apples, sliced raw veggies and placed them in small Ziploc bags. I threw in napkins and handwipes. I closed the cooler and set it by the back door. I realized that we even had a bag of chips that we could bring, so I placed the snack beside the cooler.

"Do you each have a water bottle?" 

There was more activity in our kitchen. My son filled his bottle. My daughter rummaged through the cupboard until she found her favorite water bottle. 

Once we were set to go, we piled into my sedan, ready for the day's adventures. It was a forecasted to be a beautiful day. My children, my boyfriend, and I were meeting my parents at a park and spending the afternoon together. 


Prior to the pandemic, when we were out and about during the lunch hour, we always ate at a fast food restaurant or a local diner. I didn't bother to plan ahead and pack a lunch, However, when COVID hit, we searched for safe ways to gather and have adventures. My parents live over three hours in driving distance from me, so we found parks and parking lots half-way where we could meet up, picnic, and be safe. 

Packing simple picnic lunches and eating at parks reminds me so much of my childhood. As a kid, we never traveled anywhere without have a cooler full of food. A gingham tablecloth could always be found in the station wagon, complete with silver tablecloth clips. I remember having so much fun playing in the park or playing frisbee or tag when we were done eating. I loved exploring. 

I forgot how much I loved picnics. As a single parent, I soon realized that picnics were better for my budget. In addition, I found that it was less stressful to just find a spot to eat instead of waiting for a table or arguing about which place to stop. Picnics can be easy to prep and easy for clean up. We can decide what time we want to eat, how long we want to linger, and when it is nice out, we can enjoy the weather. 

Of course I have missed going out to restaurants. However, planning ahead and packing a picnic lunch and eating in parks is something I want to hold onto when this pandemic ends.

What new habits do you want to keep?


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 13: Ninja-In-Training

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 13:

Ninja-In-Training

"Want to play ninja, Trina?" Addy inquired.

"How do you play ninja?" 

"You'll LOVE it. You get to be really, really sneaky. You can hide behind trees. You can jump from rocks. As long as you are quiet." Addy's eyes were bright, her face animated as she shared what play ninja looked like. 

"Hmm...that does sound fun," I said and leaped from one rock to the next. 

Addy darted behind a building, trying to sneak up on her brother and uncle. I followed her, trying to be as quiet as possible.

"When I get big, I am gonna be a ninja. A real one," Addy whispered in my ear.

"How will you train for that?" I asked.

Seven-year-old Addy rolled her eyes and saracstially answered, "ninja school, of course." 

"But now, we practice," Addy said. She darted past the building, crouched down near a rock, and made her body flat on the muddy ground.

Addy winked at me and continued her ninja-in-training. 


Friday, March 12, 2021

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 12/#SOS Magic: Emma's Greetings

For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 12:

Emma's Greetings

Meow. Meow. Meow.

It's the first sound I hear as I walk through the door. I have been gone all day at work. I imagine this is Emma's way of saying, "I missed you!" 

Meow. Meow. Meow.

As I sat down my school bag, Emma rubs against my legs. 

Meow. Meow. Meow.

I scan the mail, turn on the oven to roast some vegetables, and unpack my lunch. Emma conintues to rub against my legs.

Meow. Meow. MEOW!

Her cries crescendo. 

Finally, I pick up Emma, rubbing her ears and scratching under her chin. She nuzzles her petite face against my neck. I am rewarded by Emma's purrs.

"I missed you, too, Emma."



Today I’m joining an open community of writers over at 
Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us.#sosmagic




Thursday, March 11, 2021

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 11: Blogging Reflections

 For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 11:

Blogging Reflections

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath

Yesterday marked ten days into the Slice of Life March Challenge. Ten days means that I am nearly a third of the way through this daily blogging challenge. Although this is my fourth year participating in March's Slice of Life Challenge, this year I wasn't sure that I would be even get through the first week. Up until about a month ago I wrote only eight blog posts since the end of last March. That's right, eight. I kept up with writing in my notebook, but I just couldn't get into the rhythm of writing a post. School has also been especially challenging this year, and I have had a challenging time keeping up with all of the changes. 

Writing and publishing for ten days straight is a celebration for me this year.  

As I think about the last ten days of blogging, these are the things that I have noticed about myself as a writer:

  • I am not sure I would have participated this month had I not gotten a nudge from a fellow blogger. Thank you, Glenda. 
  • When I am regularly blogging, I do a better job of noticing.
  • It feels good to take a few minutes away from the stress of my teaching day and just write.
  • I'm more likely to write and publish a blog post if I have some accountability.
  • In order to be able to keep up with blogging, I need to write small (slices!).
  • I do better finding seed ideas, organizing, and developing a post when I write in my notebook first.
  • I used to be really bothered when I didn't get many comments - I am developing more of a tough skin about this. 
  • My dear friend Lisa reads my posts each day. My friend Glenda also reads my posts (and comments!) daily. Knowing that these two people are reading what I write makes me want to keep going throughout March.
  • This is the first year I have not used Twitter to share my blog posts. 
  • My inner critic is not as loud during March (or maybe I do a better job at ignoring it?).
  • Although my personal life has changed a lot in the past four years, my writing territories have not changed that much. I often write about nature, about writing, teaching/school, my own children, and my pets. I like to sprinkle in Haiku.  
I wonder what writerly and personal insights I will have gained about myself by the end of this month...all because of this challenge. 

What have you noticed about yourself as a writer during the Slice of Life Challenge so far? 


    Wednesday, March 10, 2021

    Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 10: Standardized Test Proctering

    For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting a slice of my life, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

    Slice of Life #21 Challenge Day 10:

    Standardized Test Proctering

    My soft-soled shoes walk up and down the rows of student desks, each desk placed at least three feet apart. I check to make sure each student is working on the proper test section. I verify each student is bubbling in their answers in the corresponding spaces. Students are all facing the same way. Start time, five minute warning time, and stop time is clearly written on the white board. A clock is visible at all times for students.

    Cell phones are silenced and placed on a table on the other side of the room. Water bottles and snacks are nowhere near test booklets. 

    The bells are turned off for the school day. It's eerily quiet. For the most part, I only hear #2 pencils filling in circles in their best booklets, the occasional page turn, or weight shifts from student desks.

    It's a high stakes test for juniors. Some of them are paralyzed with anxiety, while other students don't seem to care about the outcome of this assessment.  

    Like every year, I have extra pencils and at least one extra calculator for the student who arrives unprepared. 

    Suddently, I am struck by this thought: standardized testing is nearly identical to what it was pre-pandemic. I find myself searching for ways testing has changed since last year. However, the only thing that I see is different is that students santized their desk tops before they sat down to test and everyone wore a face covering. 

    As I ponder all of the changes we have made in the delivery of instruction, attendance, lesson planning, grades, school schedules, desk placement, hallway pass procedures, health mitigation strategies, and connecting with students...yet proctoring standardized testing remains the same. All juniors are required to be in the building for this exam (regardless if students are "virtual only" learners and have not been physically in the building since March of 2020). It's a day that rules are especially rigid. Students seem to understand. As educators, even in a pandemic we shoulder heavy responsiblity on testing days.  

    It's an exhausting day for teachers and students alike. I am grateful this testing day is over...until next year.   

    Slice of Life Challenge #21 Day 31: Easter Preparations

    For the month of March, each day I am writing and posting  a slice of my life , hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Slice of Life Challenge #21...