Professor Sharon

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44 and plans

April 19th, 2014 · 100 Days Project, family, Musings, My Goals, retirement, time

Sooner or later I’m going to die, but I’m not going to retire.
Margaret Mead

The closer I get to “retirement,” the more I really understand why it was so hard for my father.  He had his first heart attack in his 40s, and although he didn’t have many more – remarkably given that he didn’t change his life habits much – he did die by 64.  He did begin to have bad health, and his work asked him to retire early a couple of years before his death.  He had a teenager he was raising with his sister, and a love of ham radios, but didn’t really pick up any other hobbies.  The slow life was very hard for him.

I have so many hobbies and interests that I fear my retirement will be busier than my work life!


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45 and the next generation of teachers

April 18th, 2014 · 100 Days Project, Children, College students, Education, Musings, retirement, Teaching & Learning

Last night I went to the Greenfield Center School‘s Variety Show.  I was witness to the most talented, creative and lovely acts ever – musical acts put together by children of all ages, and in many cases written by them.  They played and sang music with each other, with family members, and with their teachers.  At the heart of each number was real and true respect – for each other, for their craft, for their audience, and for themselves.

In one act, the smallest children in the school got up on stage to move to a song sung by their teacher about being birds.  You could hear a pin drop, and then when it was over, the audience signed their applause so as not to startle the Little ones.  Not an older child in the room called out or broke that respect.

This is the way education could be, and is, when teachers like these model respect, kindness and love.  I could rant, at this point, about all the research we have, and the facts we know, about how content will be easiest learned with respect and relationships at its heart (and don’t even think about standards issues).

The evening’s relationship to my retirement was because I sat there knowing that my days as a full-time teacher were over.  And, although I plan to work with young children in some capacity, volunteering to read and, perhaps, subbing now and again; I’ve had my turn in the classroom.  I loved it.  I have always missed it since I moved to adult education.  And, I applaud it.

These teachers do not get the respect they deserve from their communities.  Please know that I am giving it to you — always, in my heart, soul and mind. I applaud the work you do. Enjoy every second.  It will one day be your turn to watch.  I was so moved by watching you. I was moved by the knowledge that the children in your care are learning so much from you.  Thank you.

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46 and an iron

April 16th, 2014 · 100 Days Project, Quote of the Week, retirement

I’m not just retiring from the company, I’m also retiring from my stress, my commute, my alarm clock, and my iron. ~Hartman Jule

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47 and scholarships

April 15th, 2014 · 100 Days Project, College students, Education, Musings, retirement, Teaching & Learning

When I think about the millions that our students at our community college don’t have, it’s maddening.  I just saw a headline that half of our Congress are millionaires.

Let me tell you a story of one student:  pregnant with her second child (don’t go assuming too young, she’s not), living with the father of the children, in a run down trailer on a relative’s piece of property.  She has continued to go to school full time, and this week has had her car break down for the upteenth time; had her electricity almost turned off and been told by the state that she doesn’t qualify for more than $20 a month food assistance…what is wrong with this picture?

These students are amazing.  They ought to get Oscars or Emmys or…how about we pay for their education?  I currently have a student from Sweden who outright asked me one day:  What’s wrong with the US government?  Don’t they see when they provide free education they have better workers and happier citizens?  How do I answer that?  The honest way:  whoever said my government was smart? Or thought?

It’s really frustrating to see students struggle so…and, it’s amazing to see students succeed under these conditions.  That is really wanting something; to push so hard to better your life under such challenges.

Bravo to you all, my students!  I shall miss you.


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51, 50, 49, 48 and Passover Sedar

April 14th, 2014 · 100 Days Project, family, Food, Musings, retirement, time, Work

Again, four days have flown by.  All of them filled with the many tasks of preparing, enjoying and cleaning up after a Sedar meal for twenty!  It’s a solid three day event every year – this year marked at least the 37th time or so of our marriage.  We began formally inviting important friends when our second child was under one years of age.  We had had a Sedar meal for a couple of years before that, but only we and perhaps my in-laws were at the table at most.

It began, I believe in retrospect, as a way to form traditions, and create family for us.  We lived at least two hours from all sides of the family.  A family with both Jews and Christians who weren’t much of a mind to see any part of our marriage our way.  But it was the 70s and we were beginning to understand that family meant what you wanted it to.  Many young people today almost take this concept for granted; I do believe that the 60s/70s young people were vital to creating this cultural belief.

At any rate, Sedar is a three day event here at my home – one day to set it all up, a day and a half to cook, an evening to enjoy, and a day to clean up! Today I went off to work taking in the fact that I didn’t think much at all about work or the tasks needing completion.  That’s okay – happens every year!  I’ll catch up tomorrow!

And, then I reminded myself that although Sedar may take three days next year; I believe I won’t have to keep in the back of my mind the worry that I have many work related tasks to do after the cooking and clean up!

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