Life lessons from the dog, & checking in with students

Hi friends!

Last week my dog got neutered. It came out of nowhere. He wasn’t expecting a thing. One morning we playing and snuggling like normal, then he got loaded up and dropped off at the vet. He came home that evening groggy, sore and sporting The Cone of Shame. He was a pathetic mess the next few days: bashing into walls, staring mournfully at the floor, whimpering at night, tripping over his cone.  He was a wreck…

…until he learned to look up.  Quickly he figured out that if he would just tilt his head up, he could run without tripping, he could make it around corners without bashing the walls with the cone, he could make it up the stairs without falling.  Was he happy with his new normal? No, absolutely not! But he figured out how to make it work for him. All he had to do was look up.

I don’t know about you, but it feels a lot like my transition to QuaranTeaching. It came out of the blue, it was life altering,  and I was a pathetic mess…until I figured out the secret: look up. 

For those of you who share my faith,  you know that we’ve got to keep our heads heavenward, eyes on Christ.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?…But seek first His kingdom and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

 Matthew 6:25-34

I think the lesson is still there, even if you don’t share my faith: we’ve got to look at the bigger picture. If all we’re focused on is our classes and why our students aren’t completing our carefully crafted online lessons, we’re going to be tripped up pathetic messes, bitter and annoyed. Just like this QuaranTeaching punched us in the face without any warning, and we’re having a tough time adjusting to it, think about how it must feel for our Little Darlings.

I know that even my kiddos who come from stable homes, with food in their fridges and parents who still have steady income are having a tough time. What about our Little Darlings who count on school for an escape from their rough lives? What about the ones who are caring for their siblings or working 40 hours a week at the grocery store, or who are worried about their family’s finances or have sick family members or….? Man, I sure love Spanish, but let’s get real here, as much as I love Spanish, it’s not a priority for my students right now…nor should it be! And we’ll be a lot happier if we accept that and have realistic expectations.

Let’s not forget, we teach students first, we teach language second. 

For a lot of us, the worst part of QuaranTeaching is being away from our kiddos, not being able to greet them at the door, high five them, read their energy and check in with them. I’ve been hosting optional Google Meets to play some games and see their faces, but I haven’t seen the vast majority of them since our last day together,  April 13, and I won’t see them again this year. Nevada, like many other states, has announced that Distance Learning will continue through the rest of the school year. I miss my Little Darlings!

My brilliant colleague, Mena,  shared a google forms survey she used to check in with her kiddos during the school closure, and I loved it! It is helping me keep the big picture in mind, helping me to understand how they’re feeling and what their situation at home is like. I adapted it a bit, and with her permission, I’m excited to share it with you. If you want to use it, you’ll want to edit it. I’m sure your Little Darlings don’t miss Sra. Chase, but they certainly miss you!   Here’s the survey, when you click here, you’ll have a copy that you can edit as you wish!

survey 1

Survey 2

Take care, friends, as we navigate these unfamiliar waters.

Tilt your head up to keep your perspective on what matters 🙂


  1. Thank you! This is exactly how I’m feeling right now! I’m sad I didn’t get to see you at the CI in the Mitten conference last week (maybe next year?). Your blog is so helpful and inspiring to me. Be well!


  2. Thank you so much for articulating some of my thoughts and feelings about being a teacher during this time and considering a compassionate and loving view of what we do and for whom we do it! I keep coming back to the idea that “less is more” and when we cover less we reach more!! I love getting your notifications and I am going to share your google form Questions with my colleagues and hope that they will agree to sending it! (l plan to send it out anyway!) I also am trying remind them that we are trying to level the playing field in this environment and we are trying to be an equal opportunity class! Not everyone is in the same boat, but everyone is experiencing the same storm. I also loved reading your scripture from Matthew…although I won’t be sharing it on paper with my students, but I can let those words lead me as I go forward until June 26th!! Again thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us! Stay safe! Stay home! Be well! Con cariño Señora Debbie Albert

    7th/8th grade Spanish Teacher Lawrence Junior High Falmouth, MA 02556

    On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 10:43 AM Loading up my little darlings with Comprehensib


  3. Maria, I follow this teacher form Nevada and I think she has some good ideas. Not everything is something I would choose to use! Debbie Albert 7th/8th Grade Spanish Teacher Lawrence Junior High School Falmouth Public Schools


  4. Gracias por compartir. I appreciate the candor that you show in your posts and love the term QuaranTeaching. Thank you for sharing such great resources and ideas. You willingness to offer to others is appreciated!


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