Whenever I teach or tutor, I like to over prepare because working with children can be unpredictable. Lessons I thought might take five minutes can take fifteen. Projects I thought might last the whole period, take half the time.

The more experienced I’ve grown as a teacher, the better I’ve become at adapting to unexpected changes and switching things up as I go along. They teach me so much.

Last night there were a few unexpected absences, so I let them compete against each other while we reviewed material we’ve been studying for most of the year.

We ended by comparing and contrasting some of the novels we’ve read this year.

Two of them chose Number the Stars and Holes.

The others chose Dumpling Days and A Year Down Yonder.

They had so much fun!

Nailed it.

Where do you find joy? 

I found it when we snuck away to Galveston for the afternoon because the groceries were bought, the laundry was folded, and he’d finished grading papers a few hours early.


And again when we accidentally stumbled upon this festival while I was on the way to work.


And again when my nephew decided that crawling backwards was waaaaaay more efficient for the mission that he’d designed for himself.


Where do you find joy?

My brother is seven years younger than me.

When I left for college, he was 11.

When I moved to Chicago, he was 14.

A few years ago, we decided to take a few trips together.

He’d meet me in Chicago from Texas, and we’d fly out from there.

On one of his visits, we did some exploring so we could find an aerial view of the city.

I held my phone against the window to snap a view from our table.



When I met V a few years later, we stumbled upon the most beautiful view of the city during an excruciatingly long walk.


He’s from Jersey originally, but he pretends he’s from Philly.

I’d been to Pennsylvania once and Jersey a couple times, but never Philly.

When we finally made the trip together, he was absolutely insistent on one mission: introduce me to the iconic Philly pretzels.


Where do you find joy?

I love to travel, but I’m too scared to venture overseas on my own. It’s mostly  because I’m bad with technology; I have no sense of direction, and I can’t read a map to save my life.

About four years ago, my friend and I successfully made it to Santorini, Greece!

She picked it because she’d heard how beautiful it was. (Sadly) I hadn’t heard of it, but I knew Athens had to be close.


Sometimes I get homesick for Chicago because I lived there for so long, and it’s been difficult to make connections here. I reached out to one recently.

She’d worn a sweater with a fox on it, to work, and was teased mercilessly.

Since I work with younger people, she asked if I understood the joke.

Where do you find joy?


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