The Day We Discussed Politics in the Classroom

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The elephant in the room has gotten too real. Yesterday morning I rewrote my ENGL 1101 lesson plans. The last 20-25 minutes in each of my three classes would be left open for discussion – REAL discussion, you know, the kind that involves messy politics and the things that are actually on our minds.

So I sat in front of the class and jumped right in, “What’s going on in our country?”

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Trouble at School Can Make Us Better Parents

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“Terrible.”

It was the adjective my two-year-old daughter’s teacher used to describe her day. In fact, our little ball of fire had even paid a visit to the preschool director – you know, the toddler equivalent to a principal.

I tried to remain calm, but my heart was racing. It was only the third week of school.

Click here to read my full feature with TODAY’s Parenting Team.

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::today’s daily inspiration::

3 Ways You Can Prepare Your Preschooler for College

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When is the best time to prepare your child for college?

Today.

If you are parenting young children, you have an incredible gift: time. There is still time to read. There is still time to play. There is still time to develop a healthy emotional, social, and diverse learning environment for your little person.

And, perhaps best of all, there is still time to save for college. 

From the halls of higher education, I glean insights daily from those students who successfully made the leap – including what their parents did or didn’t do.

Here are 3 ways you can prepare your preschooler for college:

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3 Ways You Can Prepare Your High School Senior for College

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Is senior year too late to prepare your teen for college? The short answer is no.

But if you want your child to be ready, here are three practical ways you can assist them in the often-challenging leap to college:

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Second Chance Love

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The Gratitude Gospel: Day 2

“You saved me from the streets.”

It’s not something I like to discuss – the horrible things my students have encountered in their lives. But my teaching always seems to bring it out.

Drive-bys. Drug rings. Gut-wrenching poverty.

If college is designed to prepare young people for the real world, I think it falls short in doing so for inner-city youth. It takes several class periods before they even feel comfortable removing their backpacks, if it happens at all.

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A Veteran’s Lesson in Courage

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Excited to share my first guest post! Thank you to Grinia at Mirror & Soul for the opportunity and to all the veteran students who have made me a better teacher, mother, and learner.

“A Veteran’s Lesson in Courage”

I could tell he was nervous. There is this dance of eye contact aversion that my quietest students have perfected. But I teach at the college level – composition, to be exact – and public speaking is a rite of passage.

In full disclosure, I had been anticipating this moment for over 24 hours. The student, a veteran in his mid-20s, had a story to tell.

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DeVotion to Education

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Lately, there has been talk of education in a place where few teachers exist: politics. This post isn’t about Mrs. Betsy DeVos (don’t worry, she repulses me as well). Instead, my message comes from the heart.

This is what it means to pour yourself into a profession that is only valued by those on the inside.

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What If I Die Today?

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It’s a question I ponder every time I part with my children. I teach in the college classroom, and I lived through a mass shooting.

But my kids don’t experience these emotions when they hug my neck and wave goodbye. They truly believe I will return.

And all the way to the office, I pray that they are right.

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The Ones I Couldn’t Save

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Several years before I became a mother, I was a high school English teacher…and probably inappropriately maternal.

One particular student comes to mind from my first year in the classroom. He demonstrated a gift for the written word. His passion for music was contagious (think drummer). And his family was in the midst of a financial crisis. He always seemed to end our conversations with the same urgent question: How am I going to survive? 

But I am a teacher, and – every so often – I struggle with a God complex. I want to save every last one of my students.

As an unmarried, 23-year-old I couldn’t offer him money or a safe home. He did, however, mention that his birthday was quickly approaching. And so I did what any loving woman without children would do.

I celebrated him as my own.

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