What Are You Exploring?

There is definitely a part of me that threw an internal temper tantrum when we were asked to develop strategies for online instruction. I already have a course outline, thankyouverymuch. I knew what we were doing before spring break (research) and had new ideas I wanted to try out for the unit.

Then the plan was to punt that until after spring break and drop the mini-unit on Machiavelli’s The Prince, as that would give us the time we’d need to focus on research before moving into the memoir.

And then we found out we wouldn’t be going back at all.

Continue reading

Settle Down, 2020!

So, I want to preface this by saying that I’m safe. We’re all safe at my house. While it stormed badly last night, we didn’t get hit by any of the tornadoes.


My husband woke me up late last night and we sat in the hallway that connects the bedroom in our house, because it’s the only place that doesn’t have windows. (We don’t have a basement.) We waited, listening to the wind roar through the trees outside.

Continue reading

Purpose, Depression, and Self-Care

Teaching remotely has been challenging. That sounds like a bad thing, but challenges are opportunities, despite often being unpleasant to go through. Some of that opportunity is the freedom to explore what I think should be accomplished in the courses I teach and why I think those things matter.

But at the same time, there’s a bit of resentment that comes with that, because I know that freedom isn’t going to last. A lot of the online programs that I’m getting to try out are offering access only for this school year. After that it’ll be proposals and purchase orders and budgets. It’s exhausting. Just thinking about all of the hoops teachers have to jump through to get to do something new or different is discouraging. I understand that it’s important to consider decisions like that carefully; I definitely support wanting to make informed decisions. But it’s also an awful lot of work for something that may not even happen.

And that then chips away at my sense of purpose. Why should I bust my tail developing plans and activities for something that’s so temporary? I have curricular materials that work well; anything new that I develop will have to take the place of something else. Moreover, the learning environment will be different, so I’ll need to adjust the plans for that as well.

Why bother?

Continue reading

Community Blogging – Day 19

So tonight we picked up dinner from Bob’s Brick Oven! He’s opened a temporary location in conjunction with some of the food trucks in Rock Spring. It was really nice to get out of the house, although I felt a little guilty because we didn’t really need to go get pizza. But we followed the guidelines, plus it’s important to support local businesses. I really hope that they’re able to open up again more permanently.

We were going to go to the battlefield to eat, but the road was closed. We didn’t go up close to look at the signs, but according to the Facebook page for Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, it’s completely closed. I’d heard that they’d closed the visitor center, but was unaware that the entire area had been shut down. They do have rangers patrolling the area to keep an eye on things.

I hate half-knowing things. I know that this can’t last forever. But I hate not knowing how long it’s going to be. I hate hoping that my students are okay, but not actually knowing that they are. It makes me anxious to think that there’s a good chance we’ll go back to school as usual in the fall, but not to know for certain.

Blogging every day is a LOT. I feel like this gets repetitive. And I’m feeling a lack of motivation that I think stems from a lack of purpose. I started blogging every day as a way to stay in touch with my students. I’d asked them to blog daily, so it seemed reasonable to do it myself. It served as an example so they’d know what I was looking for in their posts, and also they could use these posts for their comment requirement even if nobody else posted anything.

But I’m realizing that responding to others is at least as important as writing. And so, I’m going to ease back on the time I spend writing and try to increase how much time I spend responding.

What Makes a Villain?

A few years ago, something brought Dante’s Inferno into my mind while I was working on lessons for Julius Caesar. What I had never fully realized before was that while Brutus is arguably the protagonist of Shakespeare’s play (despite the fact that he’s not the title character), up until that point he was primarily seen as a villain. In fact, Dante places him and co-conspirator Cassius in the very deepest pit of Hell along with Judas Iscariot!

Much of Shakespeare’s audience would have been familiar with that perspective on Brutus and Cassius, and titling the play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar plays up those expectations. Then Shakespeare takes that perspective and stands it on its head, making Brutus the tragic hero and showing the story from his point of view.

Continue reading

Community Blogging – Day 16

I had a post topic in mind today, but I spent several hours grading and then dragged myself through a five-mile run.

Then, when I got home, I found out that school is closed for the rest of the year. We don’t yet know what’s going to happen with remote learning.

I am stressed. I am anxious. I am exhausted. My brain is done for the day.

Community Blogging – Day 15

So it rained pretty much all day today. Most of the time it was just drizzle, not pouring, but I didn’t do any work in the garden. I managed to walk over to the park and back, but that was it for my outside time.

I feel like I should have more to say, but I did laundry. I did dishes. That’s really about it. I’ve felt kind of bleh all day.

Community Blogging – Day 13


Today was absolutely gorgeous. I love our backyard. It’s peaceful and woodsy. The garden is going to go along the porch, just past the stairs.

I actually started digging today! I still haven’t planted anything. It’s going to take a little bit to get the plot all dug up. There’s about two to three inches of topsoil, and below that it’s got a high clay content. So it’s really dense, which makes it difficult to get through. Additionally, there’s all kinds of roots growing through it. The grass is patchy, but there are these ropy strands that are as thick as my thumb! I don’t even know what they go to.

Pictures and more behind the cut!

Continue reading