Let’s Pray for Her- Covid Chronicles : Part 1 — Tracey’s World , Discover

I’m sure some of you have been wondering where in the world I’ve been! Last year was a pretty brutal year for me health wise. Physical and Mental. I’m not in locked down, I’m locked in. Having co-morbidites and a very, very low immune system because of the immunosuppressants, meant that going out in public […]

Covid Chronicles : Part 1 — Tracey’s World , Discover

In The Zone?

This picture is of me starting the Zoom session for my morning class before the remote learners join. The projector is on so it gives a cool look behind me. Am I in the zone? Maybe I have been partially absorbed into Zoom like in the old movie Tron when a man gets absorbed into the video game Tron.

This school year has been unlike anything I ever experienced before. Starting my day consists of arriving in my classroom, getting my laptop connected to the projector, starting the Zoom session, greeting in class students as they enter, while simultaneously letting Zoom students in.

Finding the balance of giving attention to in class students and remote learners during the same class period has been a bit of a juggling act. Even more so helping the students keep the sense of community among each other when half the students are remote leaners.

I am not unique. This has been the experience of educators everywhere. Some teach 100% remote and some teach blended classes like me. All educators have had to adjust A LOT.

I share my experience to help those who read my blog to understand what teachers all around the world are experiencing at this time. So please be kind to teachers. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Being A Safe Place for Others

Yesterday I was talking with one of my colleagues at the school where I teach in the mornings. She is a young woman and does wonderful work with the children who have difficult lives. Her grandfather is elderly and in hospice care now. It is only a matter of days until he passes away.

As she was sharing with me, her eyes teared up. She apologized for it. I asked her to not apologize or feel she needs to hide her feelings. I shared with her that I understand what she is going through and if she ever needs a listening ear, just let me know.

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We all need a safe space, safe friends, a safe place especially now during this pandemic. Everything is heightened now for our emotions, stress, etc. We need safe places to land.

Jesus is definitely a safe person for us to come to and confide in about what we are going through. He invites us to do so in Matthew 11:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

My hope is to continue to be a safe place, a safe person, for others as we continue to go through this pandemic. We all need connection with others. I love this song A Safe Place to Land. Please listen to it and think about if you can be a safe place.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

COFFEE SHOP TIME!!!

It has been literally MONTHS since I hung out at a coffee shop. With my city doing so much better with COVID, I decided that for my mental health to hang out a little at one of my favorite coffee shops.

The tables are spaced 6 feet apart and not many people here. Yes I am wearing a mask. This is my favorite mask to wear. I think you can see why in the picture below.

But due to already drinking three cups of coffee this morning, I am now drinking hot chocolate. More snow came this morning but not much and it is already melting.

I have my laptop with me and also printed out pages of the book I am working on to do some editing.

It feels so good to get out and see people. I told a few jokes to the barrista. Now it is time to get to work.

How is your Sunday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Hamburgers and Deep Conversation

Yesterday I went out for lunch for the first time in a very long time. It was my friend from Bosnia’s birthday, so we went to eat hamburgers which are his favorite. I treated him to lunch and encouraged him to get the double cheeseburger. Mine was healthier with a Bison Burger with a gluten free bun.

Photo by Andra on Pexels.com

Over lunch we talked about a few things we wished we knew last year at this time. I mentioned that I wish I could go back one year and tell myself to invest all I have in Zoom, a company that makes hand sanitizer, and a company that makes toilet paper. I never did understand the whole run on toilet paper.

He follows the stock market and told me before the pandemic Zoom traded at $50 a share and now it is over $500 a share.

Life can change so quickly. This past year has certainly illustrated that vividly. We are not guaranteed anything in this life except that Jesus has promised to always be with us and has overcome the world-this life.

Changes can also be good. My city moved down to the middle of the yellow on to COVID risk dial this week. I had a positive interview last week about becoming a substitute teacher. It is not all bad in this life. But something my pastor said in his message a few weeks ago has me thinking. I forget who he quoted, but the message is:

If we know Jesus, life in this world is the worst thing we will experience.

If we do not know Jesus, life in this world is the best we will experience.

Ponder those thoughts for a while.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

P.S.- when my friend showed his wife the picture of his double cheeseburger, she was aghast 🙂

Fun in School During COVID

The school where I teach in the mornings has a system of Gold Tickets. Gold Tickets are given to the children by any teacher or staff member who sees them do something kind to others or show good behavior. The classroom that leads in Gold Tickets gets to have the Eagle in the room. Of course even it needs to be safe during COVID.

One of the fifth grade classes is the proud host of the Eagle.

For my part, I try to have a brilliant joke ready each morning to share with other teachers and staff. This morning I let them know the new health directive if a child has an injury playing peak a boo. Take them to the I C U.

As I brought the bananas into the teacher’s lounge yesterday, I found out some are speculating as to what I would bring if the COVID dial gets down to green.

I told them it is top secret.

The moms in my Family Literacy class like to joke with me. Yesterday they asked me how old I am. They laughed as I reacted to their guesses. When I told them I am 22, one of the moms used Google Translate and read to me, teacher is lying. 🙂

We are trying to find small ways to keep school fun for the children and for us during this time of COVID.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- I Am Going Bananas

We have an old phrase in America go bananas- meaning go crazy about something or get crazy about something. Well today I am going bananas in the literal sense too. 🙂

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

Yesterday I found out that my city went from orange to yellow on the COVID risk dial for the first time since last summer. So to celebrate, you guessed it, I am buying bananas to share with my students and fellow teachers/staff at the school where I teach in the mornings. 🙂

This is my third time to buy fruit to celebrate the risk dial getting lower. Little things like that can mean a lot at this time. It has been a long 11 months for all of us.

It helps to have mini mental health breaks from all of the COVID stuff. Hopefully you find little ways to help you take a mini COVID break.

My main way is to spend time with Jesus in the mornings over coffee before I get ready for my day. Another thing that has blessed me a lot is listening to worship music. It is the only thing I listen to in my car as I drive.

This morning, it is all about going bananas. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

P.S.- to hopefully help you smile, here is a Muppet Banana song 🙂

Student Success During COVID

Yesterday three of the students in my class had testing to measure their progress in English. They all improved a lot. In my eyes all three are success stories for different reasons.

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One of them is a single mom. She has two precious little girls. The father is in the home country and was problematic. My student works, studies English, and takes care of her daughters. When I told her I am proud of her, she looked puzzled wondering why I would say that.

Another of the students that tested is kind of the big sister for the four other students from her country. Her apartment is kind of the hub of the group. She has been learning English faster than the others, but for her it is important to help the others.

The other mom has been remote learning all school year. She is a shy woman who does not speak much even in Spanish when she is with the other Spanish speaking moms in class. She passed the oral skills test, and will now only be taking the reading test. I have not told her yet, but she will be so happy. She is the one who helps the others understand technology in class.

All three moms represent the students in my class well. During a year that is unlike any year we have ever experienced in class, they have stayed dedicated to learning because they want to make a difference in the lives of their children.

Each morning I start my day by praying for my students and ask Jesus to help me be a blessing to them. That has always been my practice, but seems needed even more during this pandemic.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- More Oranges?

A few weeks ago, I shared about how my city went from red to orange on the COVID Risk dial after ten weeks of being in red. To celebrate I bought oranges to share with my students and teachers and staff at the school where I teach. That day we went from red to high orange on the dial.

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Yesterday we moved down to mid orange on the dial, so it is time for more oranges 🙂

It was last year about this time we started hearing about COVID, Trump closed travel to and from China. I wondered if it would be all that serious having lived through other scares that turned out to be much to do about nothing. We know the rest of the story about the past eleven months.

There is talk about COVID fatigue. It has worn on all of us. There are things about life before COVID that we all miss. It is important to take care of our mental health during this time as well as our physical well being.

That is why I try to do little things like buying oranges to celebrate going down on the risk dial. A simple thing such as sharing an orange helps people feel a little hopeful.

Why I am sharing about oranges again with you? Two reasons. One is to spread a bit of positive news that somewhere progress is being made. The other is to hopefully encourage you to think of little ways to encourage others.

I can’t wait for the dial to go down to yellow here, so I can buy bananas and at my school we can go bananas 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

23 Years Old and Her 1st Birthday Party Ever

My Teaching Assistant’s birthday was yesterday. She turned 23 years old. She has been a wonderful assistant and the students love her. Without her knowing, I reminded the students it was her birthday on Friday in class Wednesday because she does not join us on Wednesdays.

The moms in class got presents for her such as sweaters, a hat she can wear in summer, candy, and a Happy Birthday hat to wear during class.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

She was smiling the whole time and laughed as she opened one gift. One of the students put a small box in a box, put that in another box and so on. I think there were seven boxes total. My assistant laughed and had fun with that.

We sang Happy Birthday to her in English, Spanish and Arabic. They had cupcakes individually wrapped due to COVID protocols. It was a fun morning for my assistant and the in person students in the classroom.

I worked with the online students while my assistant and the in person students had fun.

At the end, my assistant thanked us for her first birthday party ever. I looked at her and asked if she had any as a child. She shared they did not have enough money for parties when she was a child. So at the age of 23, she had her first ever birthday party in my class.

It is important to continue to have bright spots during this pandemic and yesterday certainly was one for my assistant.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.