Monday, January 25, 2021


Tomorrow the kids will return to regular school. It's going to feel strange after all this time to have my days to myself once again. It's time though. There are a lot of kids who are failing. I'm proud to say that the two I had responsibility for were not, but that required a lot of work and keeping them organized on my part. It was frustrating. One of the teachers was constantly chiding students because they were "old enough to know how to figure out what their assignments were." She went on at great lengths about how the kids had been taught all this stuff before they began virtual learning. About how it wasn't fair that the kids expected her to figure out their mistakes, etc. 

However this self same teacher was the one who could not be bothered to load her assignments for the kids onto the calendar as the other teachers did. She sent hers out in an email. She often did not send the e-mail out in a timely manner, so the kids had to remember to go back and check multiple times for her e-mail. She also had a habit of putting wrong information in them, and then going back and changing things, and then holding the children responsible for not checking back to make sure she hadn't sent another e-mail. 

She did a lot of scolding but I felt strongly that she needed a good scolding herself. 

(Note: I did not do that scolding myself, and I'm quite proud of that fact. I cannot tell you the number of times that I wanted to say, "Mrs, C, you are old enough to figure out how to put your assignments on the calendar. I am sure that you were taught all this stuff before you made the switch to virtual learning." Or, "Mrs C, I do not think it is fair that you expect the kids to figure out your mistakes."  But I did not. They call that there 'self control.' I was pleased to discover I had some.)

Lots of kids are failing. I heard about one school district that has 80% of middle schoolers failing at least one class. I'm not sure what our numbers are. That's the sort of thing that doesn't make the paper. I know from the zoom meetings that there are a lot of kids (and parents) struggling.

Our covid numbers are declining, We are at 1,942, up from 303 cases on the first day of December. By the first day of February, we will certainly top 2000. A big jump for a rural county of 39,100 people. But our numbers have dropped off to between 10 and 20 new cases a day. The person that I worried about seems to have rounded a corner and is doing better. People are also being more sensible about wearing masks. You're always going to have the idiots who feel that they know more than any trained health care professional. Shoot. You've got trained health care professionals that think they know better than the CDC. I think you've got people who will argue to the death. It's sad that at this point, it can be taken literally.

It also feels nice to turn on the evening news without that sick feeling of foreboding.  I honestly never thought that I'd live to see the day that a president would be calling people to overturn election results, that we'd hear it with our own ears...and yet that same guy would still be idolized. 

I have an hibiscus that I found a couple years ago at an end of season sale. It was less than a dollar, and I was so impressed that I ran back and bought one for my sister too. We keep them in our windows, and those things have turned into shrubs. They bloom at random times all winter long. Right now, mine has two more buds. The flowers are short lived but wonderful in the middle of winter. 

There is a family moved into an apartment across the street. They are very nice apartments, but they are expensive. They are also tiny apartments. This family lives in a two bedroom apartment with their three small children. 

The man and the woman seem to both be very hard workers. One of the things that I see is that the man is up every morning, bright and early. We've had a real taste of winter all week, with a lot of snow. 

The owner of that building also owns two more buildings, all three of them side by side, and the man does the snow removal for all those buildings, getting the sidewalks in front of the house, shoveling two the houses, clearing the steps, sweeping the snow from the porches. I'm sure it gets him a break on that rent. 

But what tickles me is that he's never alone. A little boy, bundled up from the cold follows along with his own kid sized shovel and helps his father with the job. It is sweet to watch, and when the little boy managed to somehow swing his little shovel full of snow right into his own face, he began to cry loudly. I stood with my coffee watching as the father instantly stopped what he was doing and picked the child up. He used his teeth to pull one of his gloves off and used his bare hand to wipe the snow from a red little face. 

When the child continued to cry, the father patiently carried him back to their house and across their porch, and into their apartment patting his back as he walked.

 It's still cold, so I have another pot of soup started for supper. I am simmering chicken with mushrooms, onions, celery and carrots,  At some point there will be magic, and it will become chicken tortellini soup. A nice pot of soup is the best way to scent a house on a cold day. 

A lot of things to be cheerful about at my house. I hope it is the same at yours. 

Late edit: I just got a package from my son and daughter in law, a bit of sunshine, a tiny succulent in a sweet little pot, and a candle that smells like sunshine. What a nice day this is!


  1. A nice pot of soup sounds just the ticket.

  2. Home education here has been a mixed success. My sister's privileged students generally have been fine but a couple became unfocused. At some schools home education has been a big fail.

    Don't you just love people who know more than scientists, including politicians.

    I remember the sick foreboding as our COVID figures rose, and the hope when the figures started to drop. Each day we breath relief as we hear 'no new community transmission'.

    What a nice snow shovelling story, something we never experience. Chicken tortellini sounds very nice.

  3. I hate it when we hear that our covid stats are improving and the first thing they do is 'open up' more stuff. Cause and effect mean nothing to them. Love the snow story. Real people, real lives. Take care. Kris

  4. Our kids also go back today. Danica is more conscientious about online learning than JJ who drags his feet. But she still prefers real school and likes that better than JJ does.

  5. I think the real impact of Covid and children might not be seen until the next academic year. Our kids have been fortunate to be in-person learning since last August when school started up again. But I have noticed that are declining enrollments suddenly increased in large numbers about after the first quarter was over. Every single one I talked to that moved to our school district did it because of in person learning and the disaster that virtual learning has been for them where they used to live. Not all of that was the school district or teachers fault. A lot just had to do with parents holding down jobs and were unable to supervise children close enough to ensure they were taking full advantage of things.

    The one real positive of all this though, is that both my kids missed over two weeks of school due to Covid but were able to stay on top of their homework for the most part and so when they returned to school, they had no extra homework to make up because they already had it done. But I could see my youngest starting to slip whenever they learned a new topic unless I was there to teach her. I know many don't have that opportunity.

  6. It is sad, many parents do not have the time or luxury to stay home and help or make sure the kids get the work done. We have in school here and it is a blessing in many ways, lots of farm workers that cannot teach, do not know enough english to help the kids and not enough food to feed a large family three times a day. Our schools have free breakfast and lunch right now for all students. That is a big burden on many parents and the kids get two hot meals a day.

  7. I heard the story of a young woman working from home. She was organizing her work's safety presentations for the year while her two children home schooled. She also had a lively 3 year old. She was quietly going nuts. Her husband meanwhile, had gone off to deer camp, leaving her handling this on her own. He came home from camp after a week and was quite irritated that the bathroom was a disaster. On top of that, he brought COVID home with him and gave it to every one. Except for the very active 3 year old.

  8. I'm optimistic about education. I'm sure there have been problems but I think children are very resilient and will catch up in the end.

    By the way, good for you for keeping them on task! I might have said this before but I wonder how many parents might be inspired to go into teaching as a result of all this?

  9. Wow, I'm surprised your kids are going back already. I guess I thought everyone was in dire straits like we've been in London. No going back here for a while yet! Still, I'm glad it's happening for you and I'm sure it's a huge relief. (Not to mention better for the kids, as you pointed out.)

    I liked the story about the man across the street caring for his snow-shoveling child. Poignant!

  10. Home learning is failing lots of more socially and economically deprived children. That's why we have an education system; to supposedly, in theory, give all children an equal chance in life

  11. Carruthers, not this granny, that's for sure. But years ago, I did want to be a teacher. At 63, it was a tiny bit of wistfulness to realize that I could have been a good one.

    Believe it or not, my father felt it was a waste of money to send a girl to school because they would marry and stay home with their children. This in the 70s! I had no knowledge of grants and scholarships and student loans. My parents were so violently against it, I never, quite honestly went on to find out more about it.

    I did get a degree. I wasted our money.

  12. Splendid post full of news, op-ed pieces and commentary. Maybe change the name of your blog to "The Times"?

  13. Thank you for this wonderful and hopeful post, Debby.

  14. I'll bet Mrs C would be the same kind of curmudgeo in the class room an teaching w/o a classroom. The kind who would make a lot of children happy when she retired.
    I wondered if your hibiscus was an indoor plant. And now I see it is.
    Watching that father and his little boy must be the hilight of the day. How nice to come out to clean steps!


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