Sunday, March 15, 2009

Catching Up

I once had an employer who told me about a friend of hers who got married when she was 26 or 27. In my employers words:
"How long does the race matter for anyway, now she's 40 and she has 9 kids, I would say she caught up"

Aidel's post a while ago and Bad4's recent post inspired some thinking on my part. When does the race end? Does it matter that many of my friends are still a stage ahead of me?

I missed the bris of a close friend's 2nd baby because I went into labor that morning. I gave birth to my first baby 24 hours after a friend gave birth to her second - same doctor, same hospital... Just to name a few...

When I was finally engaged they had moved on from talking about sheitels and supper menus to talking about doctors and doulas. When I was finally married they moved on to talk about strollers brands and diaper companies. When I was pregnant they were talking about sleeping through the night and dealing with overturned garbage cans. I can join a lot of conversations by now. I can tell you about 30 million different strollers that I looked into, which baby swing I chose, nursing woes and dreaming about sleeping through the night. But guess what - I can't yet join the conversations about double strollers, about sibling rivalry, about playgroups, potty training and about where in my 1 bedroom apartment to stick my 2 year old's crib.

But seriously during a 3 am feeding, or while I'm stripping my linens and cleaning out the aftermath of a diaper leak, or when my baby opens her eyes wide and makes her mouth into a perfect little o shape, or when she snuggles up agaist my chest falls fast asleep so peacefully, or even when she cries and cries for no apparant reason it really does not matter if I'm one or two or ten stages behind my friends, I am where I am and I'm happy with my life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Perspective Has Changed

I had to do something very painful and difficult today. I actually cried when it was over. I went to be menachem avel a family - a wonderful, beautiful family, a Rabbi and Rebbetzin who are so completely given over to their community, loved by all. The family is sitting shiva after the passing of their sweet, innocent 9 year old son and brother who passed away in his sleep on Shabbos.

There were thousands at his levaya. Hundreds were at the chapel in Boro Park, thousands escorted this wonderful little boy as the levaya passed by 770 in Crown Heights, more than 150 cars drove behind the family to the cemetery, hundreds more escorted him as they passed by his family's shul in Long Island, and hundreds more greeted him at the cemetery itself.

As I sat in little Levi's z"l living room today I listened to his mother speak. She spoke about how as busy as her schedule was she sometimes found a little pocket of free time on her calendar. She spoke about how at one of these times she picked her son up from school and took him snow tubing. She spoke about times that her son needed some extra attention so she let him daven at home and drove him to school a little late instead of rushing him off to the bus with the other kids. The she looked around the room and said to the crowd of women sitting there -

"I apologize if there are educators in this room who get offended by what I say, but mothers - I urge you to spend time with your children. I urge you to appreciate those little spots of extra time that you have with them. Please stay in tune with your child's needs - listen and see if he needs just those extra five minutes of your time and attention, if he needs it and you give to him he will gain tremendously."

She read some entries from his school journal - many of them spoke of times that he spent alone with his mother, his writing rang with pride.

As I left I thought about this woman who has ka"h a large, growing family, runs a shul, a preschool and countless other programs, easily has 30 people at her shabbos table, 50 people at her yom tov table. I thought about how she must hardly have time for herself and yet she manages to stay so in tune with her children's needs.

I also thought about myself, and my job as a teacher. Teaching to me is not a job, it's a passion. I love every minute that I am interacting with my students. I thought about those students who sometimes come late, those students who sometimes miss school or leave early. I thought about them and realized how lucky they are and how lucky their parents are - just to get to spend those extra few minutes with them.

Then I looked at my tiny little Chaya Mushka ka"h and I promised myself -

School is important, it will always be, but I won't forget to listen to my child, I won't forget.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


So I haven't been around the blog for a while, been busy with stuff...

I'm back only to tell you that I might be gone for another little while -

baby girl teacher was born last week and we're getting on quite well so far!

She's very very cute and her mommy is very very tired.

I'll be back, don't give up on me!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Attn Daters

I need your help!

I need ideas for hotel lobby dating in Manhattan other than:

The Four Seasons
The Waldorf
St. Regis
Mariott Marquis

Just helping the hubby's chavrusa out.


I recently had an accidental interview with the director of a school in another state. I did not enjoy it. Not one little bit.

For starters, this man is the director - that means he raises the money and signs the checks. Oh, and it means that his name is on the stationary. He is not the principal, does not teach, and isn't exactly that enlightened as to teaching methods in lower elementary school.

At one point he asked me - "What are some creative things you do in the classroom?"
The truth is that I wasn't expecting to be interviewed and I was not at all prepared for any questions he would ask me - especially not that one, so I hesitated for about 1.5 seconds. During that 1.5 seconds he continued by telling me something one of his teachers did that he thought was exceptional. In fact he really got excited about when he spoke about it.

His 2nd grade teacher had the students create a journal while they learned parshas Noach. The students each had to choose one character from the parsha and write a journal from that character's point of view - "One student chose to be lion!"

That specific part of the interview annoyed me. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it.

When a teacher prepares a chumash lesson it is important to be creative. In fact, it's imperative. However, whatever creativity a teacher includes in her lesson is merely a means to accomplish a goal. I can have my students write journals about the parshios we learn in chumash class, that will foster creative thinking and creative writing - but it will NOT give them, teach them, or help them practice the skills they need to know in order to learn chumash! Let's not mix up priorities over here - if a school director can tell me that his 2nd graders have the cutest journals, but he has no clue if the students know that ו means and and that ה means the, or that the shoresh of the word ויאמר is אמר then I don't care how creative his 2nd grade teacher is, I am less than impressed.