The “Lasts”

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
– Dr. Seuss

This week I’ve found myself being conscious of all the “lasts” – the last time I’ll ever do an algebra problem with a student; the last time I’ll do symmetrical art with a student; the last time I’ll teach a student how to recognize when a paragraph can be split into two; the last time I’ll talk about trench warfare, and the drummer boys in the Civil War, and why civilizations start around rivers; the last time I’ll say good-bye to my students at the end of a school year…

Whoah.

Running for School Board

So what happened was… one day during lunch I walked down to the courthouse in the drizzle, squeeked my way across the lobby (my shoes decided to show off to the long line of people waiting to get their vehicles registered), and announced to the ladies behind the election counter that I was going to run for office. They smiled and pointed to the next office over, and there I was greeted by the mother of one of my former students who asked me (and how did she know?!) if I was going to run for school board. She set me up in front of a little computer, I typed in my name and pushed a couple buttons, and – just like that! – I was a candidate!

Here’s my statement for the voter’s pamphlet:
I’ve been a teacher in Skagit County’s schools since my husband and I moved here 34 years ago. I taught in the Burlington-Edison School District from 1992-2012. For the last seven years I’ve taught at Emerson, a nonprofit alternative high school in Mount Vernon. Recently, I wrote a health supplement on teen drug abuse for an educational publishing company. Working for the publishing company gave me an opportunity to recognize the challenges students and teachers face today in education.

As an educator my mission has been to help my students build a solid foundation of knowledge and skills they can bring with them into the future; and to help them see the power they have to make the world a better place. I retired from teaching in spring of 2019. I’d like to bring my teaching experience with me to the Burlington-Edison school board.

Our sons are Burlington-Edison graduates. I appreciate the dedication of the teachers who gave them the skills they need to achieve their goals in life. I’d like the opportunity to give back to the teachers of Burlington-Edison now, and to support our young people, by serving on the school board.

Suspended in Time Between Teacher and Student

So here’s a cool thing: I’m sitting at my table at school, working with one of my favorite students, when my cellphone rings. It is my fifth grade teacher, Peravena! Last night I’d found her phone number and called her and left a message – and now she’s calling me back!

I hadn’t heard from Peravena, nor seen her, for probably 30 years – it was amazing to hear her voice again! As I’m telling her what having her as a teacher meant to me – and the impact she had on my life – I’m looking at my student’s face and I find myself tearing up. I feel suspended in time between my teacher and my student.

It was cosmic.

That is all. Carry on then..

I’m a teacher. I’m not a Marine.

I’m a teacher. I’m not a Marine. I do not want to have to make the choice to shoot one child to save another. I don’t want to be put in a position where I might be responsible for “collateral damage” that might include my own students. I don’t want to have to walk around my class with an assault rifle slung over my shoulder while I’m teaching a lesson on cosines and tangents, or Shakespeare, or the geography of Asia – a gun might be kind of a distraction to my students, you know? Do not think that you are solving the problem of school shootings by arming teachers. Frankly, that is one of the most ludicrous, insane, nonsensical propositions I have ever heard.
– Karen

Message to My Senators

“The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good. ”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Message to the esteemed Senators from Washington State, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell:

Regarding the proposed budgets for Education and Health Care

I know you will stand, as you always have, with the poor, sick, disenfranchised, and struggling. I know you will do what you need to do to help our young people receive the education that will make their lives, and our world, better. I know you will do what you need to do to ensure that health care is affordable and accessible to all our citizens.

And I thank you for that. I am grateful to live in Washington State and to be represented by you in Washington, DC.

Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
– James 1: 27

“Privatization”

When you hear the word “privatize” what that means is that politicians want to give their corporate buddies permission to use your tax money for stock market speculation and for their own personal profit. We are the only industrialized nation that relies on for-profit health insurance. We have privatized, for-profit, prisons – which… just think about THAT for a minute. The Pres-Elect has chosen as his nominee for Health and Human Services a man who wants to privatize social security. And the Pres-elect wants a woman as Sec of Education who has never attended public school herself, whose children never attended public school, who’s never been a teacher or principal, and whose main goal in regards to education has been to “privatize” it.

Ahem. I have some concerns.

Alrighty. Carry on then…

 

Today’s Assignment

Class,

Here’s today’s assignment: Tell me what you most respect about your choice of presidential candidate, what you think are your candidate’s greatest accomplishments (please include specific examples), what you consider your candidate’s greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses, and why you think your candidate would make a good President. Avoid any reference to an opposing candidate (you will lose points if you do this) and personal attacks.

Have fun!

Mrs. Terrell

***

I will be voting for Hillary Clinton this election. Although I went to the Democratic caucus as a Bernie Sanders supporter, and would like to have seen him win the Democratic nomination, I have to admit that Hillary Clinton has won me over in the last month. The morning after the second debate I woke up realizing that I really WANTED to vote for Hillary Clinton. There was something about the way she handled herself during the debate that really impressed me. She was criticized by some for being too unemotional – but it occurred to me that if she’d shown emotion, she would have been criticized for being an “emotional female.” I liked, too, the way she talked to individuals in the audience face-to-face – I liked how she talked to the Muslim woman and addressed her concerns about discrimination.

What I most respect about Hillary Clinton is her commitment to doing what she thinks is the right thing to do – her “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” attitude about the issues that matter to her. She’s been demonized, threatened with bodily harm, lied about, and ridiculed – but none of it seems to phase her. She keeps her eye on the goal and keeps moving forward.

Her greatest accomplishments? As First Lady, her work in helping to bring health care to impoverished children through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; as a senator from New York , her work to bring aid to the first responders who got sick after 9-11, and to bring $21 billion in federal aid to New York to help it re-build after the attack; and, as Secretary of State, her work in keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran, and in creating avenues for women, globally, to become empowered. Hillary Clinton has admitted she’s better at the “servant” part than the “public” part. She’s more a Clydesdale than a prancing Lipizzaner. She’s one of those people who has worked for years behind the scenes – forging progressive policies, working for children, the poor, and the disenfranchised.

This brings me to what I feel are her greatest strengths and her biggest weaknesses: She’s great at policy-forging, and at behind-the-scenes negotiations. She’s tenacious. When she sees there’s a need, she finds a way to meet it. But this also might tend to make her focus narrowed – I don’t know that she always sees what’s going on in the periphery – I think she was blind-sided, for instance, by the strong support Bernie Sanders amassed during his campaign. I wish she were as much “public” as “servant” – I wish she held rallies in football stadiums à la Bernie, and had the ability to rouse the troops. But if I have to choose between “public” and “servant” – the “servant” part of a politician is more important to me than the “public” part.

I think Hillary Clinton will be a good President. Maybe even a great one. I believe she genuinely cares about people, and wants to help. I believe she wants to leave the world a better place than she found it. I believe she has the intelligence and savvy and heart to do this.

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