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Phone Dunked

My electronics are slowly dropping out of my life. My SLR was stolen a couple months ago, and today my toddler dunked my Smartphone. The loss of my camera still rankles, but the missing phone just brought relief. I've got a love/hate relationship with that device and considered getting rid of it many times.

Once, my phone went missing Erev Yom Kippur and I didn't buy a new one until the end of Cheshvan (5 weeks later). I didn't miss it. In fact I wrote a great piece about the 5 weeks of serenity. In my quest for perfectionism I never posted it, but I'll dig it out at some point.

So I'm thinking of holding off this time...

I'm done with "smart"phones.

Done with 6000 messages.
Done with entertainment apps.
Done with my kids using my "personal" device.
Done with always being on-call.

Just done.

The Grand Dump happened as we were getting geared up for the park. I was hanging laundry. Mendel was outside with me, holding my phone. That normally wo…

Should I go Through With It?

The bottom line is, I need to be at peace with whatever decision I make. It really can work both ways. This, then, is the dilemma of choice: Choosing.

There's a recurrent theme on this blog (and in my life!) I'm a teacher. I'm a mother. And a person somewhere in between... I constantly strive to hit the perfect balance. I'm sure I'm not alone in this struggle. Currently the struggle is taking shape in the number of subjects I've committed to teach. Roughly two weeks ago I gave notice to my head of department that I'd like to drop a subject. The transition period was (is) rife with regret. I just can't let go. I keep rethinking the decision.

Intriguingly, a student asked me if the Tanya had any advice for decision-making. I loved the question - I could so relate. My nature is so indecisive and when choosing between right and right, well... the responsibility is on me and it's just not too fun.

On my Shabbos morning walk I churned out the following so…

Disfunction

Rusnning late Hair a mess Hasent eanten breakfsta Stains on her dress
Shoes on the rwong feet Lunch salpped together Quicker than she thought She could evre
Manage to complete A tsak like that Oh there she gsoes Ms. Mally Mack
Cat'n spell a word Tries hadr to rhyme Ms. Mally Mack Is just never on time
Slieds into her seat A couple minutes after Attendance was tken And now theres laughter
Teacher shakes her head With a  soryy sigh Little Mally Mack Began to cry
Shuffles her feet Out the saem sdoor Feels tired and hveay Limbs so sore
Principle passes In the hall onec more "Oh sweet girl, There's a solution I'm sure."
"Cat'n spell a word Tries hadr to rhyme I'm Ms. Mally Mack Just never on time"
"Don’t cry, don’t fret" Principle said "There's hope for you, Light ahead
"Some people are punctual Accurate to a fault Tick every box Each I's got a dot
"But when it comes to passion Spontaneity and ideas We turn to you,…

Guide on the Side

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I'm going away. School has hardly begun and I am leaving my students for nearly two weeks. I cannot adequately articulate the nerve-wracking anxiety this situation creates. I can see a benefit though. Besides for the actual trip, the choice to leave my students has helped to crystallize for me the role of the teacher. 
In my quest to move from "Sage on the Stage" to "Guide on the Side" I started to diminish the role of that guide in my own eyes. Sure, I belevied my classroom would be of greater use to my students if I was the guide on the side instead of dominating center-stage. Primarily because of a meme like this: 
Another similar idea was a graph I once saw about information retention. I'm making up the figures here, but the general gist was listening = 5%  retention and the percentage of retention climbed as the activities became more and more hands on. 
So a strong part of my intellectual mind agreed with the advantage of student involvement and stude…

Just Do It - The Case for Kabbolas Ol

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I had some students who really did not feel comfortable with the idea of Kabbolas Ol. Their main questions were: What is the point of Just doing things - isn't It pointless if the actions are devoid of meaning?I don't like the idea of "fake it until you make it" - I'm not a hypocrite.
So this is what I plan to answer them:(I'm going to make up a powerpoint to go along with it and link it here for download.)
Point #1: The Right Thing What's the point of doing the right thing if I am not feeling it? Well, do manners matter? Picture a world where people acted only on instinct. That's a world full of narcissism. I have a guest, but I don’t feel like saying goodbye so I holler out a "see ya" from my comfortable couch. Kind of diminishes the relationship. That’s why I train myself to be polite. We teach children (and our inner child) to have self-control, to act in certain ways and develop polite mannerisms. We train ours…

I Quit

I'm quitting my job. I've had enough. I was bored, so I went back to work too early and took on too much after my recent maternity leave. And it's taken it's toll. The accumulation of fatigue, resentment and juggling everything has finally added up.

I quit.

The decision brought immense relief and sparked stores of creativity. Suddenly I was writing novels, cooking gourmet, animating videos and teaching my daughter's prep class. No longer shackled to the bell, I felt free.

But deep inside myself I knew it would not happen. I couldn't really quit. Though I hadn't felt it in months, I knew that I'd once loved my job. Only.... not as a job. I'd loved teaching because it filled me with a sense of purpose and mission. I had a shlichus to do and ready-made keilim sitting in front of me.  The frustration and resentment only built up when I started viewing teaching as a job. It wasn't so much about the dollars and cents.

Ever since I'd rushed back in…

How To: Passport Picture

I've had to work this out from scratch four times now so I figure I'll post the instructions. At least I'll be able to find them next time and maybe it'll help someone else searing for a how-to (and bring traffic here! Yay!)
Take LOTS of pictures, following the guidelines (no shadows etc)Create a document in publisher or Photoshop or your preferred photo-editing software in the dimensions necessary for the final productIf you can (like in publisher) make the margins to indicate the difference between actual picture and largest allowed head size. For instance, my picture size needed to be # and the head size is allowed to be between # and # so my margins are #. I was able to do this when using publisher, but in Photoshop I skipped this step and estimated with my eye. Pop the picture into the document. In Photoshop the default is a sizing tool when you drag a picture in so that is super helpful and the job is basically done right thereMake another document in the photo pr…