* I’m HOW old???

When I was four years old, I thought 14 was so OLD! I adored a neighboring teen who was kind enough to teach me how to wash dishes. That might not seem very special, and I prefer the dishwasher today, but she was patient and sweet to me, something I didn’t experience at home.

I always loved my ‘old’ teachers. One day, I was talking about how old my third grade teacher looked. I remarked that her skin was so browned and lined because of all the kids who had been talking to her; I assumed their ‘hot air’ burned her face. (My face burned when my mother repeated that anecdote to her!)

As I approached my 30th birthday, I struggled through each day. Seriously depressed, I had this belief that I would die at 30. I certainly tried to make that a reality. But my dearest teaching widower was patient, loving, and praying for me, and at 38, I met Jesus and was set free from depression. My life was forever changed, as was my view of aging.

A couple of years ago, my extremely talented sister and brother-in-law surprised me with a birthday cake. And there I was, a youngster on top of it, with real icing on my face!

Today I am 70 years old! I still think I’m relatively young, perhaps just past middle age?

* Color your world

Tourmaline is back with her Color Your World blogging challenge! I MIGHT be able to pull this off because it’s only one color a week. I’m three weeks late, so here are my catch-up photos:

The first week was ferns. These beauties, from the Sunshine State, are a closeup of the image below.
The second week: forest green. Florida’s forests are so lush!
Last, but not least: fuchsia! And doesn’t she look lovely as she discovers her feet!

* The Sunshine State (4)

After such a terrific time with relatives in Florida, it was hard to leave. I walked the Orlando airport to get my fitbit steps, exposing myself to folks hacking and sneezing into their hands. Yikes, folks. Use your arm!

I did see a coterie of stunning women, all in a line, heading for service as flight attendants. If my dearest teaching widower had not been working on his paper, seated in a galaxy far away, he’d have told me to put my phone down. But I couldn’t resist.

On the flight home, a passenger next to us coughed into the air unceasingly. Our front yard was filled with dozens of flags and spray paint, like someone planned to excavate every buried pipe and cable. Our house ‘smart thermostats’ had reverted to 49 degrees, which was a real shock to our systems (and I got very grumpy). I caught a nasty bug and was bedridden. When I graduated to the couch, I tripped over my computer cord and fell really hard, smashing a dish and landing on two body parts that had already survived surgery: my knee and shoulder.

BUT, the trip was fabulous and we can’t wait to return!

* The Sunshine State (3)

My dearest teaching widower (DTW) and I were really spoiled on our Florida trip. Our Sunshine relatives made this such a memorable time.

The Sun Rail was a delight! A three-story light rail with great views and touristy places to visit. It’s too bad that our local (North Carolina) light rail plan was such a dud. The GoTriangle organization spent $190 million and still needed $237 million plus a change of heart from Duke University/Carolina Railroad. The project was abandoned last May. Ah, well.

It only cost $3 for us to ride. I refuse to say whether my DTW and I paid the senior fares.

* The Sunshine State (2)

Our trip to Florida was amazing. Did you know we could see a satellite launch while standing in our relative’s driveway? This was about 50 miles from Cape Canaveral. I thought the glow was a street light! Awesome! We watched the powerful rocket race through the night, eventually disappearing.

But, I think there may be dangers in living so close to the space center. Look at Vanessa.

I mean, that’s just odd. Too much satellite exposure, for sure.

* The Sunshine State (1)

My dearest teaching widower (DTW) and I just took a trip to Florida, where the sun is brighter and the traffic lights self-propagate. Of course, I ignored the laughter and took photos. Everything in Florida is worth photographing.

We visited relatives whom we have designated as our ‘go-to’ family during the zombie apocalypse. We would be safe here, unless I accidentally shot my DTW. I did accidentally shoot the chain holding the target in place. Quite a fancy bit of accuracy!

Did you know there are alligators about 50 feet away from me? Hiding and biding their time…. And no, I am not a boy! It’s just the angle.

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Funny Moments at School — Pete Springer

An Excerpt from They Call Me Mom

You have to be prepared to fill so many roles when you work at a school, particularly when you are an elementary teacher. One year the school nurse (in an age when schools had school nurses) asked if I would take on the job of sex education teacher […]

Funny Moments at School — Pete Springer

Pete has a terrific sense of humor and I laughed out loud at the homework excuses. Even funnier are his parenthetical remarks. You won’t want to miss this post!

* Highlights of remote learning

Many schools will continue remote learning in the new year, with no end in sight. Regular classroom teachers and students are moving along with varying degrees of success. It’s a struggle for those who had not previously taught or learned online. For students with disabilities, this type of learning can be quite successful, but it takes a lot of planning and support for both teacher and student. Sadly, some special needs kiddos are taking advantage of opportunities to open new windows for gaming and to chat with classmates instead of working. Others are disinterested or simply unable to participate via screens. Although the shortcomings of remote instruction can feel overwhelming, I will highlight some of its advantages for special needs students.

  • For those kiddos who experienced high levels of bullying at school, sitting through a lengthy Google Meet or Zoom lesson trumps the bullying which typically occurs at lunch or on the playground.
  • If teachers are reasonably tech savvy, they can use platforms which organize assignments and calendars for students. This additional layer of organization supports those students with executive function weaknesses.
  • The option to work asynchronously provides more options for those students with attention difficulties.
  • Teachers can use a variety of online apps that allow students many response types, such as singing, writing, and voice recording.
  • Depending on the individual teacher, special needs students may have one-to-one support that might be difficult to provide in the large classroom setting without some stigmatization. After school chats, lunchtime groupings, and even after school tutoring can provide private and individualized support.
  • Some teachers have amped up their level of support for parents of special needs youngsters during this time, including links to resources and more frequent emails. They are also emailing students more frequently.

This period of remote learning can be a wonderful RESET button for students who felt hopeless about school. Teachers have a unique window to build both a sense of community and an improved sense of worth for all during this hardship. It’s a kind of shared struggle, not just a struggle for those already-disheartened kiddos, which may improve both student and teacher empathy for one another, perseverance, and courage.