Friday, November 25, 2011

This is What Real Teaching Looks Like -

I love how Senor Wooly takes learning Spanish so seriously while not taking himself too seriously.  He's willing to put himself 100% into his teaching. When I showed this to my Spanish classes, they wondered when I would make my very own video for them.

We'll see - I'm not sure how I could top this guy though.  Senor Wooly has his own site for which I bought complete access.  One girl wasn't catching on to the irony of the video - she thought he was kind of a mean guy making fun of bald men like that.  "I think he's making fun of men who make fun of bald men."


It's like I invented this guy or something - no, the only thing I did was buy the dvd and dance along to the video.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Day an Angel got Her Wings

A year ago to this day, the world lost a great lady.  I never met this lady, but I know all she did all she could do to survive.

I had heard about the ITV Spanish class in Oklee, and I knew they were looking for a long-term sub.  I assumed they had found someone.

It turns out, no one applied.

One day, as I was subbing in Red Lake Falls, I heard that Spanish class was going to be cancelled because their teacher was dying from a rare form of brain cancer.  It broke my heart for this woman.

When I got home, my phone rang.  A woman who used to sub for me in Fosston called to tell me I needed to call the  school about the Spanish job.

"You're what the school needs."

So, I called the principal and got the job.

Only, how does one rejoice in the job knowing there is a woman losing her battle to cancer?   I couldn't rejoice.  I had to accept my job with all humbleness.

A week after I accepted my position, the dear lost her battle.  I'm not sure how we made it through the day.  Some schools asked me to turn off the transmition while the students grieved privately.  Some schools kept their transmitions on and told me stories about their beloved teacher.  They made homemade cards and expressed their sympathy to her family and children.

I remember wondering how I found myself in front of this classroom and thinking it was an angel who led me there.

I think it's the same angel who gently reminds me that my sisters' prognosis is so hopeful and for this, I am thankful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Homeward Bound

Missi and Nathan are on their way home for a week.  Dad is driving them home.  Missi is on her 82nd day after her transplant.  After a bonemarrow transplant, a patient usually stays 100 days within the area of where the procedure took place so the staff and doctors can closely monitor their patients.  These 100 days are the most crucial with the grafting of bone marrow of donor and patient - and most likely a patient will experience Graft v. Host setbacks.

It's a relief to know Missi is on her 82nd day - and know that the worst is probably behind us.  We didn't realize that marrow patients may experience Graft V. Host disease for the rest of their lives.  The story doesn't end after 100 days, and the happily ever after is a bit different than what we envisioned as little girls in flannal pajamas dreaming of our futures as our dad tucked us in at night. 

But, I guess there's a lesson in here somewhere. My spirit is a bit tired, but it's not defeated.  The seven month marathon of life without Missi will end - and our ideas of priorities will continue to change.  We'll be just so dang glad to be alive.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thinking on thinking.

My school year has been going pretty smoothly. Teaching Spanish has been an intellectual challenge that I adore.  I've decided that even though I adore my Spanish book - it's too difficult for most of my students.  They introduce things at step five and steps one through four will need to be addressed within my own "learning activities."

I have to sit and think about how my students think.  I have to recognize the hurdles they will have before they get to those hurdles.  Today, we are testing on our grammar portion of Chapter Two  - and well, I have a feeling that they haven't put the time into understanding the material.  Is this my fault?  Of course not.  I still feel the need to find a way to inspire that they study their notes a bit more -

I'm thinking on how they think - and how they learn -

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Best Medicine

It turns out that getting rid of cancer was the easy part for Missi.  The hardest part has been the last 73 days. Missi has bravely battled mucusitis having a nurse sit by her 24 hours a day to going legally blind over this past month.  Compared to the transplant, chemo was a breeze.

Missi's eyesight is slowly coming back, but she is still legally blind.  She wears special contacts to protect her eyes from the dried mucus that forms near her cornea.  When we visited her over fall break, I was surprised at how small she was and how my big sister was so vulnerable and needed us to constantly find her things for her.  Allison and Natalie led her around by the arm and warned her of steps and cracks.  We knew she was blind, but we didn't know what that meant.

Missi told me that it was ironic how she became blind for a month when she had always worried about my eyesight.  When I was a little girl, I almost lost my eyesight.  I wore a patch over my left eye to strengthen my right eye.  I remember how hard I worked to see out of that eye - and how I wanted to cheat and open the patch "to sneak a peak.'  I remember how tired the patch made me.

Now, Missi wears special contacts.  These contacts protect her eyes from any jagged spikes of mucus or debris and allow her to use her own eyesight.  Right now, she's at 20/60 in both eyes.  And well, that's really not so bad.

After much thought, Missi's doctor gave her a pass to come home for the weekend.  The time the doctor spent deciding was agony for her children.  I knew they miss their mom, but I never really put myself in their point of view.  How they must be frustrated with being bounced around from my house to grandma's house and their own home.

The best part is that Missi got to see it.  Missi got to see her home with her own eyes - a sight she hadn't seen for THREE MONTHS.  I could tell Missi's resolution to overcome her obstacles of "Graft v. Host" became stronger.  Being home and kissing her children good night was really was the best medicine.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Too Bad

It took me a while to figure this out - even as an adult! Even life though life isn't fair, it's beautiful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Thailand flood reaches Bangkok - The Big Picture -

Back in the Global Studies Days, in Red Lake Falls, we had about five students come from Thailand. When they got together and spoke in Thai, they produced some of the most amazing sounds.

I've been following some of their feeds on facebook the last few weeks, and it reminds me of the flood of 97 in Grand Forks. The flood water shown in these pictures bring a pit to my stomach. The flood water makes me feel nauseous.

And I know, it's nothing like Grand Forks. We had it so much better in Grand Forks. We had not lost any lives. They have lost 400.