Even through a screen, we need to be available for our students

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Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

There are currently eight different groups of students I interact with every week.

For most, I have never taught them face to face, but our interactions are limited to our zoom sessions where I spend 45 minutes teaching them a single subject as a supplement to their main teacher’s instruction.

It would be easier to pretend that I am just a teacher, and check my humanity at my computer before I ever hit the “start meeting” button.

We teach, of course, but we also are a trusted adult. Someone outside of their immediate family that they feel comfortable talking to.

In this pandemic year, it is more important than ever that we allow some of the “off topic” conversations when we can, because those are the moments that the students feel heard. …

as the absence of consequences speaks volumes

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Photo by Ministries Coordinator on Unsplash

Our nation’s capitol came under attack this week.

The invading group had weapons, used force to break in, and stole objects from our capitol. Since the attack happened while Congress was in session, they also threatened the representatives of our nation, as well as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th in line of command for our country.

This group had bombs, and zip tie like restraints as well as a gallows. From most accounts, this was never intended to be a peaceful protest.

No one argues the fact that these invaders should have consequences for their actions, and some have already been arrested, with others being investigated. …

reflections on a year that took us all by surprise

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Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

Usually, as a year draws to a close, I look back on what we did that year, and go through my memento jar. In a normal year, that jar holds tickets, baby shower invitations, wedding invitations etc.

This year, my jar is empty.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the true story of the year.

We saw movies, we just saw them streamed at home. We attended virtual holidays and a virtual baby shower. Our friends got married, but just had a small family ceremony. …

and what that means for your family and loved ones

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Photo by SJ Objio on Unsplash

Despite many barriers to insurance and getting healthcare, most of the time, we expect there to be a spot for us or our loved ones at a hospital if we need it. For everything from sickness, broken bones, car accidents or necessary surgeries, we have a basic assumption that when it is our family, there will be a spot to take them. But if the hospital is full, there is nowhere for these people to be treated.

In other places it will happen soon.

A quick glance at the headlines confirms the grim reality that health care workers are trying to get through the heads of the portion of the population that are still not taking this pandemic seriously. …

and why it felt different this election

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Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

This year has not been an easy one.

It seems like every day there was something new to get discouraged about, and we have spent way more time indoors, away from others, worrying about our country, the virus, social justice and everything we watch on the news each night.

This election wasn’t decided on the first night with a solid blue map, as some had hoped and even predicted. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday ticked by, with slightly more hope for those of us rooting blue, but still nothing was official.

These days, on top of this year, on top of the election in 2016, and on top of the last 4 years of watching this reality show celebrity turned national leader take much of what we loved about our country and turn it to mush, were a lot on our hearts. …

And why it isn’t about politics this time

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I think it is indisputable that 2020 is a different year than normal. Between an impeachment, the pandemic, and the protests, this year is clearly one for the history books.

Growing up, I remember hearing the debates during family gatherings on Republican versus Democrat viewpoints on various topics. These debates were always civil, as my family tends to calmly debate without animosity, only to have each member return home without changing their opinions, ready to debate again the next time.

I grew up knowing that I had the right to my own opinions on whatever topic, and that family ties were strong enough to handle differing opinions without letting them affect relationships. …

Observations and tips for this crazy year ahead

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

We didn’t sign up for this.

Our teaching programs didn’t have lessons on how to teach remotely during a pandemic. Also, they definitely didn’t include lessons on how to make it fun, memorable and educational for all.

Teaching isn’t a glamorous job, and it has a hefty load of parts that aren’t so great. But we, out here in the trenches, chose it anyways.

We put our time and energy into this career, knowing about the late nights grading, the e-mails from parents and the stress that comes with feeling responsible for every student’s learning and achievement.

Many teachers fled because of the pay, the parents, the pandemic or some other combination of downsides, but if you are still teaching this year, you aren’t one of those retreating from the battle. …

Jacob Blake’s restraint might be the 8th bullet that kills him

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Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

Jacob Blake should never have been shot.


But unlike so many other victims, he lived. He made it to a hospital, and though he is paralyzed, his kids haven’t lost their dad.

But we learned today that the police department weren’t done yet. They chained a man who cannot walk, who might never walk again, to his hospital bed.

By doing so, they might have just put the final bullet in his back.

If these patients can be stabilized from their initial injuries to their spinal cord, they aren’t out of the woods yet.

Our bodies are not designed to stay in one place for a prolonged period of time, and if we have feeling in our lower half, we naturally readjust often so that we don’t get too uncomfortable. …

When your memory starts to fail, it can be hard to discern between illness, aging and stress. But that distinction can feel pretty important.

Photo of a man sitting on the ground outside at night with his head in his hand.
Photo of a man sitting on the ground outside at night with his head in his hand.
Photo by Jonathan Rados on Unsplash

Ever feel like you are losing it? Like you are losing part of your innate ability to do all of the things that you could do before with ease?

That’s where I am at these days… but it wasn’t always that way.

At the college I attended, there was a limit on how many units could be attempted in a quarter. If you wanted to go above that, you had to ask special permission from the dean of your school to take extra units. …

Every Child Matters

Parenting, even in a pre-COVID world, was always a balancing act.

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Parenting, even in a pre-COVID world, was always a balancing act.

But now the stakes are higher.

In a world where the risk will be present for years, and that is even if a vaccine can be created and distributed, every choice has to be weighed against the possible consequences and benefits.

If you screw up on one side, ignoring the chance of catching COVID, your child and your family have a higher risk of a possibly deadly virus, or long term illness.

On the other hand, putting your children in a bubble, and not allowing them to ever leave the house or see any other soul but your immediate family puts them at a possible risk of mental issues and relationship issues that can be avoided with the help of relationships with others. …


Lisa Olsen

I am a teacher, with two kids, recently diagnosed with Lupus, and possibly other auto-immune conditions, living life to the fullest, while managing symptoms.

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