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September 2007
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November 2007

October 2007 entries

I love malapropisms!

Yesterday, I was helping my sophomores review for an important vocabulary test, and we were discussing the Greek root word "phrenos" which means "heart, mind, and midriff" [we all know how those three are connected] and one naive student asked, "What is a midriff?"  Before I could answer, another student called out, "Your stomach,"  to which another student replied, "Nuh-uh...it's a woman who delivers babies." 

Midwife, midriff, close enough!!

Have I told you that I love being a teacher?


"Boo there, Buffy!"

Aidan has randomly begun saying the phrase, "Boo there, Buffy!"  We have no idea where it came from.  I tried to get it out of him tonight, and the conversation went like this:

Aidan:  "Boo there, Buffy!"

Me: "Who says that, Aidan?  Was it Aaron?" [trying to guess . . .]

Aidan: "Me! Boo there, Buffy!"

Me: "Well, who ELSE says it?"

Aidan: "Katie."

Me:  "Katie who?"

Aidan: "My friend.  Katie's my friend."

Me: "What's Katie's last name?"

Aidan: [singing] "Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia."

Hmm... Katie Alleluia  . . I don't think I've heard of her, but she's got a great name!

The mystery remains unsolved . . . Boo there, Buffy!


My Dog Ate My Homework

Yesterday, my seniors were scheduled to give presentations.  TWO STUDENTS WERE READY. OUT OF 17.

I'll pause and let that sink in.

. . .

Ok, moving on.

After scolding and admonishing them, I passed out composition paper and asked them to write me letters that should explain and apologize for their irresponsibility and persuade me not take 50% off the next day.  The letters were, as I expected, both candid and humorous.  Answers ranged from: "You should take points off and count my presentation as late because it is late" to "I had to work all weekend and had unexpected computer problems."  The one that took the cake, though, was this:

"Dear Mrs. Connor,

My presentation is gonna rock.  Good things take time.  So be patient."

I'll pause again and remind you that these are SENIORS.

. . .

Sigh.  The beauty of being a teacher . . .


Universal Human Experience

There is a natural tendency, it seems, for people to believe that terrible things only happen to other people.  That is, until the dreaded comes close to home.  Last year, we lost Michael's uncle to the vicious destroyer of peace, cancer.  This week, we have learned that our dear friend and Aidan's godfather has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  He has already defeated cancer once in his lifetime, and we are optimistic that he will again be victorious. 

If nothing else, cancer does not discriminate.  It afflicts people from every walk of life, every age and stage of life, every corner of the world.  Sadly, it has become part of the universal human experience.  Modern medicine provides opportunity for early detection and treatment, and although we are deeply struck by the terrible news about Aidan's godfather, we are hopeful. 

And while we know that cancer is a universal afflication, it seems as though it is equally universal among humans that there is a part of that is deeply offended that cancer would dare to plague our friends, our relatives, our loved ones.  I believe that part of our determination to seek out a cure for cancer takes root in being offended by the disease's audacity to attack us with its arrogance and devastation.  In that light,  this reaction is a healthy anger, so long as it is directed at solving the problem and encouraging its victims.

Finding the words to comfort and encourage those who are being ravaged by cancer is a whole other topic, for another day.


Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

There are times in life when giving up quietly is just not an option.  There are things worth standing up for, things worth speaking out about, things worth condemning, things worth endorsing. 

I am reminded of a poem by Dylan Thomas, a villanelle which he wrote as he watched his father dying.  He encouraged his father to "not go gentle into that good night," meaning, "Don't give up easily. Life is worth fighting for."  Whether we are on the threshold of death or resisting the comfort of medocrity, the poem speaks to the noble pursuit of perserverance:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.