Thursday, December 03, 2009

November Mosaic

What a month.

I stepped off the treadmill of school life on November 2 and went back home for two weeks to help my mom while she recovered from surgery.

Back Home.

I've lived in Ohio longer than all my growing up years in Eastern Colorado, and yet I still go Home. Home to the streets I rode my bike on, the house where my kindergarten teacher lived, and the place where the glow of a lamp and the view from the back windows is as familiar as the scar on my knee from the incident with my cousin's Shetland pony and the barbed wire fence.

Home is where my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Bryner, still lives. I visited her in the nursing home and we talked about the importance of finding a way to love every child so that you can reach them and teach them. ("And," she said with a twinkle in her eye, "some children are harder to love than others!") True then, true now.

I had one day to unpack and repack my suitcase, and then we were off to Philadelphia for NCTE for five days.

For one day on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and then again on Monday, November 30, almost exactly a month from the day I stepped off the treadmill, I stepped back on the treadmill of school life...or at least I attempted to. In the weeks I was gone, someone ramped up the speed...or I lost some of the stamina I'd built up to deal with the unrelenting onslaught of meetings, meetings, meetings, planning, teaching, report cards, committees, behavior issues, homework issues, meetings, meetings, meetings, report cards, PD, data, grouping, grading, meetings, meetings, meetings...

I drove to another building for a committee meeting after school yesterday. On the streets leading up to the school are "traffic calming" humps. I've learned it's not worth it to zoom up to one and then screech down to 25 mph to go over and zoom up to the next one and screech down. It's better just to go a steady 25. It's calming.

It's calming. And I'm not just talking about traffic here. By the time I got to the committee meeting, my brain had slowed down and my blood pressure had fallen and the clutter of my brain had settled down somewhat.

I need some speed humps in my life to keep things calm and steady. I need to try to quit zooming and screeching. I need to find a steady speed I can maintain.


  1. Great post, Mary Lee.
    We all need some speed bumps in our lives. Thanks for reminding us to slow down.

  2. What a great post - I loved it! My favorite part was the twinkle-in-the-eye comment from your old teacher. So cute! ;-)

  3. Speed bumps and Round-a-bouts... seems like they're everywhere. Thanks for sharing this post with us!

  4. Thanks for sharing your mosaic as well as your reflections. I love the way you compared our school lives to a treadmill. I think we can all benefit from adjusting our speed and incline accordingly.

    PS See the picture of your lovely crabcakes made me smile.

  5. Thank you Mary Lee, I really needed to read this today. It's nice to know others experience the same feelings. As I was thinking, I thought of a street near by with those same speed bumps, I will look and drive those differently from now on.

  6. Wow! What a metaphor! I could definitely use a few speed bumps this week! And I love your mosaic, like always.

  7. Lovely post, Mary Lee. Just curious- how do you make/post your photo mosaic?

  8. Mrs. Nockowitz,
    I collect my photos on Flickr, make a set of the ones I want to use, and the use FD's Flickr Toys at to make the mosaic. Bill at Literate Lives has made some really cool literature-themed mosaics with the mosaic maker. Check them out at


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