Love’s Duty

As our children grew up, they heard Mom’s stories of teaching. Nightly at the dinner table, they along with my husband listened patiently while Mom told of her day at school. Sometimes, with rolled eyes, they would declare: “oh, not another one of Mom’s stories!” My turn came when our son was in law school and our daughter in nursing school. Now it was Mom’s turn to listen.

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Love’s Duty

The first duty
of love is to
listen.
So I practice

each time
our nursing student
daughter had
a litany of complaints.

She learned from the
master of complaints.
I was a teacher who
had many stories

and complaints at the
dinner table.
Listening takes
patience. So too love.

Now they have left
the nest and lead
their own lives
but still find time

to phone and tell
us of their lives, their
hopes and dreams,
each time ending with

Ich liebe Dich or
I love you and
each time hoping for
the next time.

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Posted in duty, family love, love, storytelling, Teacher | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Humor in the Language Lab

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Teachers frequently remark that no two seconds are the same in the classroom. My first teaching assignment was at the university level.  Back in the day of reel to reel tapes, our German textbook employed the audio-lingual method. My university classes met weekly with me in the language lab.  At the end of lessons, the tape included  a German song for students to sing.  I used to save this for the end to inject some music and humor into the lesson.  At the teacher’s station, I could listen in as students practiced speaking German and could correct individually as needed.  As a class, I could have everyone listen to portions of the tape I wanted to discuss from my teacher’s station.

The joy of the language lab was offering individualized instruction or involving the entire class. Students were expected to practice on their own in the lab outside of class as well.  They wore headphones in the lab, so I cautioned them for the portion of singing the song, to have one ear uncovered as they sang the song.  Otherwise, they sounded much like howling cats and dogs and were unaware of how they sounded to others not wearing the headsets.

On this particular Friday after the lesson, I instructed everyone to move their reel to reel tapes to where the song began. What possessed me to do that, remains unclear to this day.  Suffice to say, I instructed everyone to begin their tapes and to start singing the German song.  The problem, of course, was that thirty students began their tapes at thirty different moments and commenced singing what should have been a lovely song sung in unison.  It was anything but.  It was too late once I realized the error.  So I sat at the teacher’s console doubled over in laughter at the resulting cacophony in the language lab.

In disbelief, thirty faces looked at me laughing with tears streaming down my face. I could barely get the words out to explain. The ensuing song was a disaster of what should have been a pleasant tune.  We never sang the song using this method again.  Live and learn and laugh along the way.  Life is grand and never dull!  Including humor in the classroom was an important teaching tool.

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Posted in language lab, laughter, reel to reel tapes, teaching German | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

School’s Out! Wanderlust?

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Time for wanderlust, hobbies and play.
Time to sleep in.
Time to turn off all devices.
Play with friends and use imaginations.
Life is good. Grab that book!
Share quality family time.
Take that trip on your bucket list.
Read, read, read.
Walk in nature. Enjoy the weather!
Write in your journal. Try poetry.
Write in cursive penmanship!
Take voice lessons or sing in the choir.
Stop everything and stop saying
you do not have time.
Each of us has the same 24 hours per day.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
So this summer, I will renew my
wanderlust and acquaint my daughter with the
Grand Canyon and Sedona.
For if not now, then when?
Stop hurrying here and there and
take time to see and enjoy life!
May all my readers enjoy their
summer with that book or trip.
Time to simply BE.

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Posted in cursive handwriting, read, school, traveling across the country, wanderlust | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Many Moons

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Many moons on this earth.
Many moons of teaching.
Many moons of hard work.
Many moons of leisure.
Many moons of travel.
Many moons of smiles.

I thirst for original, firsthand accounts
which I can see with my own eyes
and hear with my own ears. I can
ponder, reflect, contemplate and formulate
my own opinions without interference
from media news reports.

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Sound bites and clips are really snapshots of
diplomacy. It takes many moons
to plant and harvest. Whether or
not there is world peace in my
lifetime, my glass remains half full as
I stand against evil forces.

Many moons of hoping and praying.
Many moons of joy and song.
Many moons of family and happiness.
Many moons of being grateful.
Many moons of listening and learning.
Many moons to ponder and reflect.

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Posted in family, firsthand accounts, forming opinions, moon, pondering life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day of the Red Pen

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Morning alarm at 4 AM.
Walk the school track in
Pre-dawn moonlight.
Usually 3-4 miles and
plan for the day ahead.

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All alone or so I thought.
What was that approaching?
Oh, no! Mr. Skunk.  What do I do?
What if I am sprayed? I can’t
get back into the car.

What do I use to get
Eau de Skunk out?
I don’t carry tomato sauce
with me. Walk the mile
home again? Thoughts racing.

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Slow my pace then and let
Mr. Skunk cross the track.
Everything is fine for now.
Back home again. Wait.  Why
is that police car coming

at me now? I am driving
very slowly. Stop.  Roll down
the window. “Newspaper?”
What an odd question from
the officer. “No.  Teacher.”

“I walk before school.”
Pronounced in my best teacher voice.
Motioned me on. Rolled the window
back up. Breakfast at home.  Pick up
the lunch bag and grab the red pen.

I laughed all the way to school.
No two seconds are every alike
in the teaching profession. Apparently,
the same holds true for walking
in the wee hours of the morning.

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Note:  The author is a retired teacher who enjoys a sense of humor even in adverse circumstances and encounters with a skunk.

Posted in education, red pen, Teaching, walking | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Voice – my Instrument of Choice

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My instrument of choice
is the voice.

So much to learn.
Open mouth, closed mouth.

Breathe, posture,
warm ups. Notes.

Who knew there was
so much to learn?

It is good for the aging
brain to remain active.

Learn something new.
I can read music.

High notes, low notes,
rests. Chest voice, head voice.

Listen to the masters.
Sing in Italian, Latin, French, German.

Practice. Correct mistakes.
Practice anew. Sing, sing, sing.

Lieder, arias, spirituals,
jazz, chansons, torch songs.

Sing, sing, sing.
Dream of music.

Sing in my sleep. My husband
hums in his sleep.

Sing a solo.   Sing in the choir.
Recital now.

Singing is fun. So much
yet to learn. Practice. Sing.

The voice is my
instrument of choice.

 

Posted in dreams, singing, Voice Coach, voice lessons | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Song of Flight

IMG_3664Sing a prayer
Sing a song
Song of love
Song of joy

Joy of flowers
Joy of birds
Birds flying
Birds feeding

Feeding their young
Feeding family
Family eating
Family traveling

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Traveling abroad
Traveling home
Home and hearth
Home and happiness

Happiness again
Happiness with friends
Friends for coffee
Friends talking

Talking on the phone
Talking over coffee
Coffee and pastry
Coffee and tea

Tea for two
Tea with lemon
Lemon grove
Lemon tart

Tart and sweet
Tart with fruit
Fruit and yogurt
Fruit trees

Trees bring life
Trees house birds
Birds sing
Birds soar

Soar above
Soar in the wind
Wind blowing
Wind swaying

Swaying to music
Swaying back and forth
Forth now
Forth onward

Onward and upward
Onward flight
Flight above
Flight to clouds

Clouds…

Upwards…

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Posted in bird song, birds, family love, music, trees | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments