Tag Archives: Slice of life

Pledge not to use the “R-word”

2 Mar


I missed an important day yesterday. March 1 was officially the day to pledge to Spread the Word, to End the Word.

The “word” is the “R-word,” offensive enough that we don’t even like to write it, let alone say it out loud.  And a few days ago I received an email inviting me to log onto the R-Word.org website  and sign a pledge to stop using the word.

As the website explains,

The R-word is the word ‘retard(ed)’. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory.

Our campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people. Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions. Pledge today to use respectful, people-first language.

I don’t use the word, and I can also say that I haven’t recently heard anyone else use that word. But I do remember hearing it at least once within the last year, and I recall saying something about it. But I also remember I didn’t do so with as much conviction as I should, because I don’t like personal confrontation.

But I’ve found myself this year working in a school with a large population of children with challenges, and I love them to pieces.  So if I ever hear someone use the R-word again, I will definitely speak up and defend their dignity.

Today more than ever, we need to  stand up for our differently-abled adults and children, and help work toward inclusion instead of division.

You can still sign the pledge here, and visit the website for more information. Plus, check out this great student-made video if you want to get inspired and perhaps even shed a tear.

Thank you to the Edison Best Buddies, Thomas LINK Crew and the YAC and Unified members and players for helping to spread the word.

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Four years later and you’re STILL reading? Cool.

26 Apr

An anniversary of sorts slipped quietly by the other day.

Exactly four years and one week ago, I posted my first blog for the Democrat and Chronicle. I never dreamed back then that I would still be doing this four years later, and still be having so much fun.  It gives me an excuse to seek out the best that Webster has to offer, meet some great people and attend all sorts of great events.  I have made so many new friends since I began blogging that I cannot even begin to count them.

For someone who loves to write, this is the greatest hobby in the world. Not only do I get to write about the things I like to write about, it’s definitely fun to see my posts published, and very gratifying to know that a lot of people actually DO read them and DO enjoy them.  I’m particularly excited that I’ve almost reached 300 “likes” on my blog Facebook page.  That’s pretty cool if you think about it.

So thanks to the folks at the Democrat and Chronicle for allowing me to continue to blather on all this time. And of course thanks to all of my readers who enjoy what I write and who keep feeding me good ideas.

These Thomas High kids don’t complain about their homework

26 Apr

Mary Heveron-Smith, a teacher colleague of mine at Webster Thomas, told me a funny story the other day which I just had to pass along.

It was the day before Spring Break, and Mary was working late at school, finishing up some last-minute tasks before leaving for a week’s vacation in Tennessee. They included collecting her students’ writing folders so she could grade papers while they drove (do teachers EVER take real vacations?) and posting the following week’s vocabulary homework onto her classroom website.  When everything was packed up, posted and ready to go, she and her husband headed off for a much-anticipated visit with their son and daughter-in-law.

Jump ahead to the Monday after break. Mary’s AP Language students were settled into their seats. Standing at the front of the classroom, Mary started discussing the vocabulary words she had posted, which her students were to have worked on over break.

But the lesson came to a halt when one of her most soft-spoken students interrupted, and said almost inaudibly from the front row, “You didn’t post vocabulary. You posted a cookie recipe.”

In her haste that Thursday afternoon before break, Mary had mistakenly posted not a vocabulary lesson, but a recipe for chocolate-orange cookies which was located right next to it in her computer directory.

“I was mortified,” Mary said, “completely embarrassed that I had posted a recipe instead of their homework.”

But she didn’t have anything to worry about. It became immediately clear that her students had taken her goof in stride, when one of them revealed a batch of chocolate-orange cookies she had made the night before. Five more students in her next two classes had also done their “homework” and presented Mary with plates filled with chocolate-orange cookies.

“I couldn’t believe what I’d done,” she  said, “but I loved my students for having a sense of humor about it.”

She added,

I am impressed that some students figured, well, when in doubt, just bake. And I was equally impressed with their baking skills. This recipe even called for orange zest, a step that puts this recipe out of the league of beginning bakers. Students improvised, using whatever did the job — substituting cheese graters for zesters and Clementine rinds for orange rinds! The cookies all tasted delicious and looked just elegant, with threads of orange running through the dark chocolate. All in all, this made for a wonderfully fun first day back for me.”

Naturally, the student bakers all suggested they receive extra credit for their efforts, something which Mary says she’s “mulling over.”

I am TOTALLY jealous that I never had a teacher who assigned cookies for homework.