Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is cursive writing still important?

Twice in the past two days students have approached me about writing a persuasive essay/speech about teaching cursive writing (or script) in school.  They are both 'for' the teaching of script, but many schools no longer teach handwriting.  I have heard from several teachers lately, and parents of children in elementary school, that cursive writing is no longer being taught in schools.  Instead, children are taught how to use the computer and typing (or rather keyboard) skills.

Don't get me wrong, I think typing skills are very important.  Taking a typing class my last semester in college was one of the smartest things I have done, and it has helped me acquire a few jobs.  However, I do believe that hand written notes and letters are special, and valuable, and an art that I hope will not be lost to the next generation, and generations to come.  So I hand write thank-you notes, and letters, and invitations, and condolence notes.  How often do you use handwriting . . . and what do you use it for?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Recovery mode

We have power, and now my school website and Blackboard are back online so I can work.  I have never been so happy to grade essays in my life.

Little by little, street by street, corner by corner, the lights are coming back on.  And with the restoration of power the city is slowly coming back to life.  There are still many nearby stores and restaurants closed, and my local bank was still closed earlier today, but there are more and more signs of life.

Tomorrow I'll attempt to find a gas station with no, or a very short line; I'll vote for my president; I'll swing by Dunkin' Donuts and hope they are open; and I'll grade papers -  ahhh, normalcy never looked so good!

Friday, November 2, 2012


For three days we were without power.  Thankfully we still had hot water, and a gas stove/oven, so I could cook, albeit by candlelight, and we could take hot showers, though not use a hair dryer.  It hasn't been traumatic, but merely inconvenient.  Many in our area have experienced true trauma and loss.  It is a reminder that we don't have as much control over our lives as we like to think we do.   Cell phones were not much use, as is often the case in a crisis.  On 9/11 no one could get through on cell phones to loved ones.  I am thankful we kept our land line that plugs right into a phone jack and needs no electricity -- our open line of communication to the outside world as email and cell phones were useless.

 We labor under the illusion that we can control our lives, especially we Americans, and especially if we have a bit of money and education.  We control where we live, where we go to school, whom we marry, if we have children or not, and how many.  But there are many aspects of our lives that are out of our control;  when a storm hits, and how hard; where a tree falls; when power is lost, and when it is restored.  As a Christian, I rest in the fact that God is in control of all aspects of my life, so even when I feel powerless, He is still powerful.

I'm reading two books now -- of course I have to get back to reading in this blog.  Neither book is one I can't put down, which is why I'm reading two!  One delves into the loss of power many women experience, and the two protagonists are Indian women.  The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar, follows two Indian women -- one wealthy, and one poor; one erudite and one illiterate; both joyless.  So it's a bit depressing, but Umrigar has a way of distilling life's crises into language that perfectly describes the human condition.  Here is one example: "Or perhaps it is that time doesn't heal wounds at all, perhaps that is the biggest lie of them all, and instead what happens is that each wound penetrates the body deeper and deeper until one day you find that the sheer geography of your bones--the angle of your head, the jutting of your hips, the sharpness of your shoulders, as well as the luster of your eyes, the texture of your skin, the openness of your smile--has collapsed under the weight of your griefs."  See what I mean . . . 

So while our electricity is running again, we are reminded that many important aspects of our lives are out of our control, but not out of God's control.