March 31, 2022 ~ Dear March,

**I would like to begin by thanking Two Writing Teachers and especially Melanie Meehan for providing this writing opportunity to all!

It’s been quite a month. I have decided to reflect on what has happened this month in numbers… my goal was all 31 numbers, so I kept this post open for the past two days… I haven’t filled all the numbers, but I thought I’d share anyway!

  • 0 more ‘required’ writing days, but many more opportunities
  • 1 trip to the urgent care & 1 trip to
  • 2 pay days
  • 3 ‘no show’ report card conferences
  • 5 girlfriends were supposed to come for book club tonight, but can’t
  • 6 hours spent with friends
  • 8 weekend days to rest and recover from the week’s work
  • 9 days until April vacation
  • 10 days of a full house with Tyler home
  • 11 books read this month
  • 12 meditation sessions
  • 14 strength workouts
  • 18 report card conferences
  • 20 lunches with kids in the classroom
  • 22 Peloton spin classes
  • 23 work days
  • 24 blog posts… I know it’s not 31, but it’s better than 0.
  • 25 Peloton activity days
  • 28 hours spent in meetings
  • 31 days gone by filled with work, joy, and

March 30, 2022 ~ Dear Solitude,

You never come around anymore. There is always someone around, but you stay so far away. I remember the days back in 1991 when I called you loneliness because I didn’t want a time with my thoughts or the quiet that can come with you around.

But now… years and years later… I welcome you. A very quick 12 hours of being alone. No responsibility other than myself. No one to talk to (except for myself). No dinner to make. No dog to let in and out (and in and out and in and out). Just me.

I was reminded that while I may seem to some to be super outgoing and talkative and extroverted… I truly love the quiet. The time to simply be.

So thank you for your unexpected visit. Thank you for allowing the stars to align that a college visit and a doggie sleepover and an empty calendar… led to 12 hours of a visit with you.

Gratefully yours,

me

March 29, 2022 ~ Dear Renee,

Today is your birthday. Although we are states apart and hundreds of miles away from each other, I always remember this date with fondness when I write it on the calendar.

Perhaps it’s because you were my very first friend. You were the friend who lived across the street and I could look out my window at any time to see if you were there and ready to play from the time I was able to run outside to play.

My childhood is filled with memories of us together. Swimming in the lake. Playing in snow piles. Trick or treating. Days filled with TV watching, snacking, swinging, playing tag, sledding… we spent most days together from sun up to sun down.

My earliest memories are all filled with the best childhood moments with you.

Then we started middle school… and high school… and college.

I moved out of state. You stayed home.

I went to grad school… you got married and I stood beside you.

You had a baby… I moved to Connecticut.

You had another baby… I got married and became her godmother.

I had a baby… you had a baby… I had another baby.

We saw each other each time I went home. Christmas and summers, summers and Christmas. Your kids grew, my kids grew. You became a grandmother (four times over).

And here we are… you are celebrating another birthday and I am so grateful that our lives are intertwined. That our paths began together. Although the paths have led us in different directions, I will always treasure you, my very first friend.

Much love to you,

Peggy

March 28, 2022 ~ Dear indoor recess,

First and foremost, let’s begin with the fact that it’s March 28th.

Next, let’s go to the fact that we have had 60 degree days across the month of March.

Top it all of with the fact that we were FINALLY getting back into the cafeteria for lunches so I was going to have a lunch AND 20 minutes to get some work done.

But no. I should have known better. I should have known that we could not be so lucky. Not on a Monday. Not when things looked so promising when I saw the sun shining this morning.

Then it happened… at 10:22…

BEEEEEP… ‘Excuse the interruption… we will have indoor recess today due to the wind chill making it below 20 degrees outside.’

Seriously? The kids groaned. I groaned. Indoor recess on a Monday at the end of March. Yup… just about sums up the year we’re having.

Unappreciatively yours,

A teacher who wants more than 15 minutes to eat lunch!

March 27, 2022 ~ Dear Weekend,

On Friday evening, you brought dinner out which is not a common occurrence, but a joy to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday with friends of 25 years.

On Saturday, you brought a sleep in, a walk with a different dear friend, a walk with the dog, schoolwork, two books finished, March Madness basketball with the boys and the dog, and an early bedtime.

On Sunday, you brought an early rise because of the dog’s cries, two cups of coffee before anyone else woke up, another book read, five loads of laundry, online grocery shopping, delivery of girl scout cookies, hour long talk with mom, more March Madness, and a quiet evening.

Thank you… I am grateful for the time to regroup and get ready for another week.

me

March 26, 2022 ~ Dear Correcting,

You take up so much of my time, but I don’t know how to change that. I don’t know how to ignore you. You are always there because my kids do work each and every week.

Some say ‘Don’t you need to look at all the work you kids do’,

but I can’t imagine ignoring numerous assignments my kids have worked on.

Some say ‘Just return it with a *job well done* without looking at it,

but what if some of the 43 did not do a well done job?

Some say ‘Don’t give them as much work’,

but the work I give is purposeful connected to our daily lessons.

Some say ‘Just throw some of the work away, they’ll never know’,

but I can’t seem to bring myself to toss out their work.

Some say ‘Correct it with them’,

but then I lose prime instructional time.

Some say ‘It’s just part of the job’,

but my time could be used on so many better things.

So correcting… I can’t quit you yet… but I am working on our relationship because I am tired of you taking up my after school hours and my weekend hours. I would like some time apart.

Not so fondly,

Tired of correcting

March 24, 2022 ~ Dear Wordle and friends,

It started small. I saw a post on Facebook for someone’s score on Wordle. A game with ‘word’ in the name. I was all in. I love anything playing with words! And so I started each day with your little game. I had fun. I was SO smart. I got them all right… I even got some in two. Yes, I’m smart!

But then, the New York Times took over and I was a little surprised at some of the tricks. Some of the struggles I was facing. I was frustrated. How can you change things when I was just getting the hang of it? I had strategies. I had all the phonics work of a lifetime behind me.

Then people started getting mad. This surprised me. While I was frustrated when you used double letters- eliminating one of my strategies, I still find joy in the game and the strategizing and problem solving.

Then people were frustrated by the words. It’s a word game. Of course, the words won’t all be common words. ‘Caulk’… yes, I know what that is. ‘Smelt’… multiple meanings for this one and I grew up on a lake and we fished for these little guys every winter.

Sure, I was I disappointed when I didn’t get it in the required amounts. But isn’t that the challenge of the game?

Then I went to a party and someone asked if I also played Nerdle. OK… so numbers, math, addition, subtraction… I’m not so sure… but I gave it a try. A bit rough for thinking in the morning, but I was hooked.

A bit later, a former teaching friend posted on Facebook, “If you like Wordle and want to challenge yourself, try Quordle.” Four words at one time… bring it!

Then I noticed my kids at school starting to talk about all of you. During class meeting, I popped you up on the SmartBoard. We discussed how people approached it. We discussed how we knew to eliminate certain letters or that likelihood they might not be there.

And so we played. Then one of my kids asked if I had seen Worldle. (I’m their Social Studies teacher as well as their ELA teacher). We put that up and started to strategize. Shapes of countries? OK this is tricky. However we were given directions and distances away. We were all in.

Just this weekend, my nephew was visiting and we were all watching college basketball in the family room. They started to talk about you… a 19 year old, and 18 year old, and a 16 year old. I eavesdropped.

“Hey, mom, did you get today’s Wordle?” Patrick asked.

“Yes, got it this morning,” I replied not trying to get too excited. Overexcitement gets me every time.

“But, Auntie Peg, have you tried Heardle?” Jack asked.

“No, I don’t think I would be good at it,” I answered. I know lyrics and can sing a blue streak, but artists and actual titles… that’s a tough one for me.

“Try it,” they all chimed in. So I did. Sure it took me a few skips and a few wrong guesses… but I got it.

So, I guess Wordle. You have taught me a lot. You have taught me that games can bring people of all ages together. You’ve taught me that my strategies aren’t always those of others and that’s ok. You have taught me that despite your challenges, I am not going to give up even if I mess up one day.

So thank you, Wordle.

With much appreciation,

Your #1 Word Friend

March 23, 2022 ~ Dear SAT,

So here you are again. But this time, I’m truly done with you.

You see your younger brother, PSAT, visited back in October. He was annoying. Made my boy cry and was all around pain.

But then we knew you were coming. After the number the PSAT on my boy, I was prepared for you. He took an extra class at school to help him prep for you. He felt ready… until Sunday night.

“Mom, I think I’m going to bomb the SAT,” my boy said from across the family room.

“Why would you say that?” I asked uncertain of where this was going.

“It’s just hard and I don’t think I’m going to do well and I’m starting to get anxious and I don’t know if it will hurt my chances to get into college and I just don’t think I’m going to do well,” he exhaled.

I took a deep breath. I knew what your history was. I knew that all the feels he was feeling were real. I knew that no matter what I said I could not make you go away.

“Patrick, you know that your SATs will not define where you will go to college. You have great grades in your classes and you have months more under your belt. It will be ok,” I replied trying to sound as confident as I could.

But then last night, the nerves kicked in again. But this morning was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I got the following text…

“Mom my stomach is killing me” You see now you are hurting my baby. I have no time for this. For you to take this kid who has worked so hard to build his confidence academically. Who works tirelessly day in and day out studying and completing homework and writing speeches and reading books. No, you don’t get to swoop in for one day and ruin ALL that he has built.

So here is what I told him…

“Listen… SATs are one test that are not an indicator of anything except what you know on one day. You are incredibly smart, you are one of the best fridns a kid could ask for, you are an amazing human, and the SAT will not change that. Take a deep breath. Do the best you can. That is all you can do. I love you so much. “

I sat and waited. Watching the three blinking dots.

“OK, it doesn’t really matter. I got this.”

So there SAT… you are yet another dragon that we have slayed together.

Good riddance,

a fierce momma bear who has had enough

March 22, 2022 ~ Dear Dunkin drive thru employee,

You made my day! When I grabbed my coffee cup and put it in the cup holder, I noticed something written, but drove off without reading it. When I arrived at school, I flipped the cup around to find this…

“Have a good day at school”

You see… you didn’t have to do this. You know me because of Charley. The first time you saw her you leaned out the window and chatted with her. You know me from my daily trips to the drive thru and my coffee order never changing. You know me from the car I drive and comment when I’m not in ‘my car’. You ask where I was when I miss a day. You wish me a happy weekend on Fridays knowing I won’t be back on Saturday or Sunday. You found out that I’m a teacher in our minute long interactions each morning. You know that my son in college was home so I was ‘car-less’ a few days last week.

But today, you were not at the window, but you said hello anyway. Thank you. I will thank you in person tomorrow, but know that your small, random act of kindness was BIG to me this morning.

Love,

Your daily XL with skim and two Splendas

March 21, 2022 ~ Dear Spirit Days,

If I’m being honest, I don’t like you. I didn’t like you as a kid, and I don’t like you now. OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh, and maybe I like some parts of you, but can I ask you to change? Hear me out on this…

Spirit days are meant to bring a community together, but unfortunately all I see is you isolating kids.

For example, on pajama day, I watched as kids came to school in their regular clothes. Sure, some decided they would not wear pajamas. But, many came in with brand new pajamas. All cute and put together and matching. Then I had those who wanted to dress up, but didn’t have new pajamas. Or the child who wanted to dress up, but the pajamas they wanted to wear would be isolating as there is the chance others would make fun of him for wearing them.

Or what about twins day? Oh, that’s just fabulous. Let’s take the child who doesn’t have many friends and remind them that they have no one to ‘twin’ with!

Or what about team day or Disney day or tacky day or 80s day or dress to impress or insert any other one of those days? What is this asking of a child or family? They will scour their things. Nothing will feel right. They may want their parents to buy something for the ONE day. Perhaps it’s a family who struggles to put food on the table, but now must make a decision about buying a tshirt vs. fruits for the week.

So… spirit days, let’s think about your purpose… to build community. Let’s rethink the spirit days we do have so they include ALL children AND actually build community and not isolate members of that community.

With much spirit,

a tired teacher