A Chronicle of Longing

A very happy Last Day of Class from Black Forest Academy. For me, there are still two weeks of work left: two exams, two ceramics critiques, a debate, a graduation ceremony, and a few days of staff meetings and moving the Middle School. This makes our final day a little anticlimactic compared to the homework-burning,…

The Teachers of JB 11

It’s a hot day, a last sort of school day. Really, it’s the second-to-last day we’re working with wet clay in Ceramics 3, where I’ve been filling in for a colleague on maternity leave for the last month or so. The seven students, mostly seniors, are buzzing about, putting finishing touches on their pieces. They…

Speaking

“What’s a fear you’ve overcome?” my student asks me from across the desk. “Public speaking,” I say without thinking, and she raises her eyebrows. Though we’re in English class, spending the day filling out interest surveys by engaging in an enthusiastic round of “speed dating,” this particular student is also in my Public Speaking class…

A Place Between: Thoughts From a Refugee Camp

The the students and the rest of the staff have already gone by the time I’m ready, with coat and lunch, to head over to our work site for Impact Day 2017. This is the fourth annual Impact Day at Black Forest Academy, for which we give up a day of classes to do service projects in…

Commencement {Of Dreams, Failure, and Asking For Help}

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:12 A ninth-grader stoops down to zip up the long robe, struggling with the zipper until a classmate helps him. “Do I have to wear the hat?” he asks…

The Canyon of Enough

Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30: 8b-9 Thursday morning, the English teachers assemble in…

We Never Know

How will you use what you’ve learned in this class in the future? Public Speaking Class Reflection Finals Week at BFA. I have no tests to give today, so after finishing my answer keys and entering every last quarter grade into my spreadsheet, I turn to the reflections my Public Speaking students completed yesterday, their…

Hearing The Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play,      And wild and sweet      The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!  And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom      Had rolled along      The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!  Till, ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day,      A voice, a chime,      A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men!  “Hey, this is a song!” I hear it half a dozen times as the eleventh-graders walk into class and pick up today’s reading, Longfellow’s “Christmas Bells.” “‘I heard the bells on Christmas Day,’” the first student reads aloud, then exclaims…

Weary

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough. Ralph Waldo Emerson Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galations 6:9 My students silently and gingerly tiptoe across…

The Fear Jacket

  I’m troubled from the start, Friday morning. Living nine hours ahead of my friends on the West Coast, the ongoing ugliness of election season in America unfolds mostly in the morning for me. I wake up and see it spattered across social media, the messy barbs of rhetoric flying between two people I don’t…