Tag Archive | asking questions

Mondays and Antecedents

Garfield and MondayWell it was Monday again. As usual, I put off grading papers until the eleventh hour last night, so I had to get up early this morning to finish the job and post the grades on the school “blackboard” before I left to teach my nine o’clock class.

In the beginning of the semester, I put off grading papers because  the plethora of grammar and misspelling mistakes fill me with pain and show me how much work I have to do. By now, though, I am pleased to report most students have advanced leaps and bounds, and I enjoy hearing their stories. Why I procrastinate at this time of the semester, well, I don’t get it. I guess it’s just a bad habit I’ve fallen into.

Truly, I love this time of the semester with my folks. By now, I’m left with the people who really want to learn, and we’ve reached a level of trust. Today, we covered the different elements of pronouns. As I went through the text and stood in front of the room, I spied several heads looking at the test. Oh, no. Classroom, we have a problem!  I recognized some of the grammatical terms were perplexing them. OK, grammar has terms–after all, we have to call a part of speech by a specific term, otherwise we couldn’t communicate when we dissect sentences. A term like “Antecedent” threw them for a loop.

So, I shut the door and said in a quiet voice, “I want you all to know that this room is a safe place. If you don’t understand something, I’m not going to think less of you if you tell me you don’t understand. You are letting me know that I need to try again to help you turn on that little light in your head. If you’re having trouble, don’t you think someone else might be having the same problem? By asking a question, you’re helping your classmates and you’re helping me be a better teacher. And as long as I’m your instructor, I will do my best to help you learn.”  Everybody took a collective sigh of relief. It was like I recognized a huge elephant in the back of the room and had the audacity to talk about it.

Finally, a hand went up and the student said, “I’m sorry. I just don’t get this.” Then another student said, “I was having trouble, too.” We all laughed together and took another swing at antecedents. I felt confident when they walked out the door today of two things. One, I don’t think anyone will be afraid to ask a question going forward, and two, I had slayed the antecedent mystery.

It was a good day, wouldn’t you say?

Thoughts About Reincarnation

Ernie the PugMy brain works in mysterious ways. It always has questions that need answering. I wonder about strange things. I ask myself a lot of  “what ifs”. You know,  like: “What if the world was really flat, what would happen when you fell off?” “What would happen if money really grew on trees?” “What would the world be like if people immediately refused to fight?”

This morning I woke thinking about reincarnation. After all, how many times have you heard someone say, “The next time, I’m coming back as a (fill in the blank)”?” My Aunt Dorthy always said the next time she was coming back she would be a little bird, so he could poop on everybody who had been mean to her. Watch out bullies!

So, I wondered what it be like if I could come back in my next life  as a dog. And not just any dog, it would have to be a pug dog.  After all, I’ve never met a pug owner who doesn’t think their dog is the cutest, smartest and most loving companion on the planet.

Think about this. When I opened my eyes this morning, my faithful pal Ernie was snuggled up against my side, snoring in a deep slumber amongst a thick fleece blanket. When he realized I was awake, he rolled over for me to give him his morning tummy rub. Then he stretched, got up on his feet and snuggled in for some more petting.

Now I know for all of you who don’t have pets who sleep with you, this is probably gross, but for those of you who understand this pet-human connection, you’re probably saying, “Awwww.”

Ernie has a great life. The hardest thing he has to do is go outside in the cold or rain to do “his business.” The other humiliating thing he has to do is eat cold, dry dog food from a bowl that’s on the floor. But for the rest of his day, he has soft chairs to snooze on, he’s stroked a good share of the day, and he is loved as much as any grandchild. He travels with me when I go away for more than a few hours, and he makes me proud by being a perfect dog when I go to friends’ homes. (Except for the time when he initiated my friend Heidi’s new house with a lifted leg. Then he was a BAD DOG! and was publicly scolded.)

But all in all, Ernie’s got a great life. He doesn’t have to worry about any creature comforts. He doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from. He doesn’t have to deal with telemarketers or creditors when the phone rings. Everyone who knows him, loves him. He naps when he wants. He gets treats everyday, and all he has to do is be his cute little self.

Yeah, It’s settled. The next time I come back, I’ll be a chubby, bright-eyed, happy, pampered pug to be doted upon for the rest of my days.

What will you be in your next life?