Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday Slice: Earliest post ever

1:12 am
on a school night
up for the last three hours
waiting on a flight
that brings home my son

he will be exhausted
has texted
"Can I stay home today?"
how can I say no
sleep is important

except for this mom
who needs to go to work today
who napped 
on the couch after work
for three hours

hoping for two more
after the airport
after the "Glad you're home"
after we all collapse
under one roof again

before my day begins at 5:00 am


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Slice: Love the learning

It's mid-April, which means one thing for Texas librarians:  Annual Conference.

The Texas Library Association puts on a massive conference each April.  Thousands of librarians from all over the state and all kinds of settings--school, public, and academic libraries--converge on one major city for days of meetings, workshops, breakfasts and lunches with authors, and shopping with vendors.

I am lucky that our district supports librarians, and supports our attendance of the TLA Annual Conference.  Last year, I spoke with a librarian who had been at her job for ten years and was attending for the very first time.  I'm only four years into this career, and this is my fifth TLA--I attended as a library science student, too, when it was held in Austin.  

I go the the annual conference for the learning.  Tomorrow is Tech Camp, where I'm hoping to pick up some new Google tricks and ways to use technology in the library.  Then I'm off to meet some Bluebonnet Nominee authors; I'll be sharing my notes from that session with my students.  Thursday brings workshops on information literacy, library programming, and time to peruse the immense vendor floor.  On Friday, I get to have breakfast with a teacher from my school who's attending for TLA Teacher Day, and we get to meet Mac Barnett!  More workshops follow, as well as the Bluebonnet Award luncheon and a 5K to top off the day.  Saturday opens with a breakfast with Kevin Henkes (!) and closes with a keynote by Chelsea Clinton.

My bags and snacks are packed, my sub plans almost ready to go. TLA, here I come!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tuesday Slice: The good ol' days? No, thank you

Last week, a friend and colleague shared some medical news regarding her child.  An MRI had provided much needed--and extremely helpful--information regarding her child's struggles in learning to walk.  As a result, they now have options for treatment, and reasonable hope for improvement.

This news reminded me of the medical struggles of my firstborn.  When she arrived at twenty-six weeks gestation, surfactant was "shot" into her lungs to allow them to expand, and she was breathing without a ventilator within twenty-four hours.  I was told that had she been born three years earlier, that medicine would not have been available, and she probably wouldn't have survived.

MRIs, surfactant...medicine has come so far in the past sixty years.  Had my friend's child been born back then, she might have been institutionalized.  My child certainly would not have survived the day.

There's more than just medical advances to ponder, though.

Back in the "good ol' days", I wouldn't have had friends of many colors at school. My academic abilities might not have been nurtured, nor would I have been encouraged to go to college.  I certainly wouldn't have had roommates of different ethnicities, who introduced me to their cultures and taught me tolerance and opened my eyes to prejudice.  I wouldn't be working in schools that are microcosms of the diversity of our country.  My original teaching position wouldn't have existed, as students with special needs were not included and served in public education.  

I wouldn't have been able to sign my own lease on an apartment, or have a credit card in my own name.  When I married, I wouldn't have had access to the family planning options available now, especially the ones that have kept me alive, since I ran the risk of dying in childbirth.  I wouldn't get to openly acknowledge and support the same-sex relationships of friends and family.

Advances in pollution control, environmental safety, technology and communication affect my life in positive ways on a daily basis.  Even something as simple as smoking bans in public places make life better for us all.  The growing acceptance of our differences, in ways that increase love and diminish hate, make us better people.

I'll take the present over the good ol' days, thank you very much.  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tuesday Slice: I think I can, I know I can...help others

We had an author visit at our campus yesterday.  Carmen Oliver treated our kindergarteners and first graders to stories of her reading life as a child and the story she's published, Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies

The teachers and myself in the over-forty-demographic sighed as she spoke about her favorite childhood books--Dr Seuss, The Tawny Scrawny Lion, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, and The Little Engine That Could.

I hadn't thought about Watty Piper's classic train tale in quite awhile.  Listening to Carmen summarize the story and its message for the students, I was filled once again with that little engine's determination and optimism.  

Another thought occurred to me this morning.  That little engine had a clear purpose, an envisioned goal that served others in a worthy cause.  When we reference Piper's book, we often focus on the perseverance aspect, which I can certainly relate to after finishing the March Slice of Life Challenge and blogging everyday.  I thought I could, and now know that I can.  But maybe we need to focus on the act of service the engine performed.  It worked hard, not just for itself, but for the good of those in need. In the end, the engine celebrated not just its own accomplishment, but the completion of a task that brought happiness to a whole town.

I think that act of service might be the most important lesson in The Little Engine That Could. It would certainly make a better filibuster than Green Eggs and Ham--no offense meant to Dr Seuss, of course.