Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

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SCHOOL DIARY #1: First Day of School Jitters (and how to deal)

computer-and-school


My grandson who is seven shared with me the other day that he is “scared” of second grade. Now mind you he’s a very bright student and a confident child…(Spoken like a true grandmother!). But still, he expressed what many of us feel each year as the summer winds down and the new year –with the first day of school and other firsts — creeps up on us.

Fear. Worry. Concern. How will things go?

All beginnings are hard, our sages tell us. As a teacher of high school, I have my own share of jitters in the weeks leading up to the first day of school. Will my students do well? Will they behave? Will I have a good lesson planned? And so on.

I shared how I’m also nervous, but not to be a student. I’m jittery about the first day of school (in a few weeks) when I will be an teacher after a 6 year hiatus from that job.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, I taught music in various settings. Between 2000 and 2009, I taught high school English in a local high school. Then, in 2009, I “retired” from teaching, partly due to burnout and partly to focus more on my writing career, my grandchildren, and my music therapy career. Sounds like a lot, and it was.

And now, I was approached by the principal of a small school to take on several English and language arts classes. This teaching job of approximately eight lessons per week will be on top of my already full load of music therapy patients.

As I told my grandson, I’m nervous. Why? Several reasons, but mostly because beginnings are often difficult and it’s relatively normal to have butterflies in our stomachs when starting new things. New auditions. New rehearsals. New roles. New anything.

So what do we do when we are worried about starting something new?

We draw on our old experiences and remind ourselves what we did right. And do more of that. In my case, I took out all my materials from years ago, and sorted through it all.

Things are different these days. More material online. Communication between administration, I’ve noticed, is less on paper and more via email and text. Grades are posted online. And students have computers in the classroom.

Kids have things to worry about too. Will they make friends, will they understand the material, and will they get picked in sports? Among other things.

This is also the time before the Jewish New Year, when we pray for a happy new year and lots of good things to come. A  certain amount of concern and vigilance is in order. 
 
Maybe it’s a healthy sign for us to have some degree of anxiety at this time. That motivates us to pray, to prepare ourselves for the High Holy Days.

How do you get motivated to do the preparation necessary for good beginnings? Do you have any sense of fear or anxiety when starting new things? How do you cope?


First Day of School for Grandma

There used to be those jokes: You know you’re a redneck when….
My feeling today was: I know I’m getting older when….

I had no clue about the start of the school year. Yup. This week was the start of the schools in our neighborhood, and I didn’t even know anything about it until today. For the first time in almost 30 years, I didn’t think about school supplies, admission cards, backpacks, or teachers. For the first time in a long time, I found out in casual conversation that – oh yeah, today was the first day of school.

My daughter-in-law mentioned to me that her son is starting school today. Then, I perked my ears and eyes up and did notice kids walking home from school in uniforms at the end of the day. I guess I needed to pay attention!

So how am I celebrating this newness of the school year this year? I do have to commemorate it – if only for old times sake. I know. I will buy my grandsons who are starting yeshiva a special picture book that was just released this week!

The book, “Moshe Goes To Yeshiva” is about a little boy who starts school (you figured that out, didn’t you?), and his mom is all anxious about how he will fare. The boy is fine and prepared, and all pumped up. But then when the mother pulls away from her child, he clamps up and becomes afraid.

A great book to  read to kids before school starts (or once school starts too…), and prepare the child for the beginning of school. All beginnings are hard, and this book can ease the transition.

Well, that’s my Grandmother perspective and take on  beginnings, newness, and first day of school.

So, I know I’m getting older when the main focus of the first day of school is going out to buy a book for my grandson!

Happy reading for me and for other grandmothers! Much luck in the coming school year for all the children!!


Playing By Ear

Some things in life are meant to be planned. As the saying goes, “if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” For example, dieting, traveling, teaching, concert performance, and public speaking are pursuits that require planning. Preparing one’s food for a nutritious diet, organizing a travel itinerary ahead of time, writing up lesson plans, practicing one’s music repertoire, and composing a speech are ways that can help one achieve the strongest results.

Yet, other situations in life  call for playing by ear, improvising and figuring things out as one goes along.

Or better yet, some people are not that great at planning. They prefer to have a loose plan and then kind of wing it when the time comes. Just figure things out as we go along. Kind of make it work.  Continue reading


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