The Halloween lights are scattered over the door. In the window is a glaring Beware sign accompanied by a scary looking jack-o-lantern. The trick or treat bowls are overflowing and ready. The witches hat cookies are ready for school. The goody bags are packed by the door. School Halloween is about to begin. Beware teachers everywhere!
As an educator this is an issue that distresses me almost daily. We now live in a time of texting, tweeting and quick social media blurbs that do not conform to any grammar or spelling rules. Some days as I watch my students create a new piece of writing, I often wonder what writing will be like in ten years, or actually in as little as five years.
The new rules of writing workshop is to allow children to create their stories without thinking about grammar or mechanics. I completely agree that it is important to not stagnate creative thoughts, however, it makes it extremely difficult to have them go back and fix these problems. How can we expect them to do this when instruction hardly ever focuses on this?! Yes, we do support our classes with some instruction on sentence structure, capitals and punctuation. Unfortunately, as a society we put less emphasis on these structures. But these same students will be expected to provide high quality writing assignments in a college course somewhere down the road. So how do we as educators turn this around? We embrace new programs that embellish creativity while just touching on good writing. It is our job to formulate instruction so that children can acquire grammar and mechanics skills while focusing on the creative aspect of writing.
I like the way we can express ourselves in society and not hold back feelings, opinions, etc. This will continue to be predominant as we go through this century. We are now able to express ourselves through so many different channels that people everywhere can express their feelings through a blog, a Pinterest site and a Facebook post. This is our new world of immediate gratification and expression that our children are learning within.
So everyday I will continue to struggle with the death of grammar while embracing new ideals and leaning new ways to express ourselves in this fast paced, info rich society.
So I was at a reading teaching workshop today and our first job was to figure out the meaning of some new words recently added to the Oxford dictionary. I am most fascinated by the word nonversation. From someone who grew up in the 1970s and enjoyed the precomputer days as a teenager, this word reflects the new world we live in.
Although I do admit to enjoying Facebook, Twitter, emails and surfing the web, it astonishes me how the family structure has diminished over the years In case you didn’t figure it out yet, a nonversation is a person communicating with their cellphone instead of others around them. Yes, I feel privileged to be able to reach out to a friend by text to confirm an appointment and to peruse my emails before even getting home from work but when will it end.
Are we raising a generation of introverted, non-talkers who can only communicate using a phone or tablet? Will family dinners continue to highlight a family of four at a diner texting, surfing and playing video games instead of sharing the details of their days. Yes, I think that technology has improved our lives enormously but I do miss that human contact. Somehow I never had a problem finding my friends at night when cell phones weren’t even a thought in an inventor’s mind. Some days I yearn for that life back. I still enjoy the feel of a brand new book or writing a card to a dear friend.
Next time you ignore someone who needs your attention and think back to the day when we all treated each other with respect and spoke face to face. Children today will not experience any of the simple things we enjoyed. They will never know the anguish of waiting for someone to call and anxiety if you left the house and missed the call. Oh yes, there were no answering machines either. OMG How did we survive with conversation ?!
It was a bitter cold Halloween. The distressed wood pumpkin on the lawn had a frost buildup. The kids in costumes ran up and down the cul-de-sac oblivious to the frozen parents escorting them, praying for time to fly by. Her daughter clumsily ran up the stairs screaming with glee. The twins ran after her. They all plopped onto the couch at once spilling all their candy on the floor. The dog frantically tried to grab some before I scooped him away. And then it started.
Suddenly, the candy began to take a new form. The Super Nerds escaped out of the tiny boxes and started scampering through the living room, up the stairs screaming in high pitched voices. The children stampeded up the stairs behind them. They were screaming with delight. The dog scurried into the bathtub.
As the children continued laughing with the Super Nerds, I turned only to find the Good and Plenty candies escaping from the box. They slowly became goopy looking pink and white ghosts with licorice black eyes. They flowed together and elongated and swayed as they swept across the floor towards me. I ran up the stairs only to be stopped by Super Nerds who were howling with laughter. The children were now all dressed up as vibrant Super Nerds and giggled at me, I lost my breath, tripped on one step and fell backwards. A pink gooey ghost caught me and bellowed loudly. Where was my husband? Why was the dog hiding?
The Super Nerds jumped up to my neck, pulled my hair and laughed right into my ear. My children put their arms around my legs and danced in a circle. I felt myself falling to the ground, like a soft cloud. Breathing through my mouth I am trying to catch my breath. I sense a cloudy marshmallow all around me. I feel my precious beagle’s wet nose against my arm. I turn over towards my pink and white pillow. I am greeted by my loud alarm clock. I jump with a startle. Is it Halloween morning or did I miss it all?
Do Clothes Make a Man?
By Elaine Gallagher
Are you what you wear? Clothing carries symbolic meaning. A man wearing a police uniform suggests safety in the street as well as an enforcer of rules. A handsome man in a crisp, white Navy uniform has an aura of distinction that is universal. Uniforms as a type of clothing often have a set kind of feeling or observation. It carries with it a sense of pride and dignity.
Mark Twain is known for saying that clothes make a man. Overall, clothes represent you (your career), exhibit your mood (messy or polished to perfection), and often is the reason someone is liked or disliked. First impressions are based on your looks and include a top to bottom scrutiny. When you see a man in a beautifully tailored suit you can visualize him in specific professions. If a man piles into a pickup truck wearing jeans and a flannel shirt, you shout out plumber or carpenter. The clothing men wear daily usually depicts a career or lack thereof.
A woman will notice the entire package when first meeting a man. Looks are one review, but she will make inferences based on what he is wearing. A woman tries to determine if he keeps his apartment clean or is messy. Is his shirt dangling out of his pants or is he meticulously put together? Next time you walk back from lunch, look at men and play a fun game of “what does he do for a living”. We try not to criticize others but we do so every single day.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that depicts clothing with social status. Yes, men are judged by the clothes they wear. For women it means someone they want to know or run away from.
As a teacher the arrival of August 1st comes with mixed emotions. Happy that I am still in the middle of my restful, fun, rejuvenating and much needed summer break. Anxious as time slips away and the new school year approaches. Will I have a better class this year? Will I be frustrated learning a few more new units of study in preparation for our very tight calendar of expectations.
Deep breaths. I am in a Boditude wellness group, I am walking every morning and getting back into a serious exercise program. I am planting flowers and enjoying the outside as much as I can while panicking about what this new school year will be. Teachers have the most rewarding jobs that continues to be different on a daily basis, and you still get another chance each year. If last year’s class left you exhausted, there is always hope that the next one will surpass all others. And at the same time we keep one thought in the back of our minds — we get to start all over again in 10 months.
So to all my teacher friends out there– enjoy every last second of this summer. Sleep late, see old friends, keep a journal, travel and live life. Before you know it summer will be back again.
On the vice president’s unlikely journey from unpopular, ultra-conservative governor to second-in-command to Donald Trump.
This historical inauguration will topple the history books for sure. No election has stirred such controversy and hatred in our society. We went from a society that respected your political beliefs, just as your religious beliefs, to a society where people are afraid to state their opinion for fear of violence and even fear of losing friendships. In the end, is this really worth it?!
When you live your life to the fullest, you are not concerned about the everyday workings of our government. Yes, you are interested in impending tax hikes, military situations, and the future of social security. Those issues affect all of us. Do we honestly believe that protesting and belittling others with opposite opinions is a way to achieve our common goals? Our common goals are peace, safety and feeling confident when we are ready to settle into retirement that we have made proper, educated choices.
We cannot go on social media to “catch up” with people around us without being bombarded by constant political talk and bashing of those with opposite opinions. I want to instead catch up with my high school friend’s new grandchild, or a special birthday party of a distant cousin and not hear opinions ad nauseum about Trump and the opposing Democrats. How about I don’t care. I was brought up to respect authority, a world long gone. He is our President and will be for the next four years. Instead of continuing on and on every single day, sit back and see what happens. Campaign promises are given to be broken and have been by every single president. So lets see what happens. In the meantime, give your child a hug, read that book on your table, go back to lunches where we talk about the latest show, and most of all take your life back. That is what I plan to do…..
Don’t you want your life back to before this election?
So it is now two days after the most upsetting Presidential election in history. I think America should be ready to get back to our lives and focus on building a better country. Two days of outrage on Social Media, riots across the country, flag burning and even defecating in public have painted a very immature picture of America to the rest of the world. We should instead embrace our new President and his hopes for a better America. We may not agree with all his philosophies, but with his appointed constituents of intellectual and politically savvy counterparts, let’s hope for a better country where we can stand together as one to make America great again!!!!
I am sitting here watching the Giants game in the quiet, coziness of my home. I just finished seeing two commercials back to back — one for Clinton and one for Trump. I couldn’t tell you which one was which at this point. Between social media, TV and just being in the outside world, all we hear about is this election. I can only tell you that at this point in time I only know how much they hate each other. I will not be able to tell you one position that either of them has. I am just feeling depressed and anxious. Depressed for the ruination of my country and anxious about what lies ahead. It seems to me that either way the American people are doomed. To think with the millions of intelligent people living in this country we cannot get anyone else to choose from.
I know that my feelings are shared by most Americans. They are seriously thinking about where they will move to. The rest of the world is laughing at us now. I wish I could fast forward to Wednesday when this will all be behind us. I’m not saying that we will be better off. We will be a country either run by a criminal or a very unpredictable business man with his own agenda. I wish everyone peace and tranquility and hope that we can find joy in other aspects of our lives and not focus on the politicians that are responsible for destroying our beautiful world.