Author Archives: Lauren Muellner, Education

The customer is always right?

For those of you who may work in retail or customer service, the phrase “the customer is always right” is the WORST!  I know from personal experience.  I work in an industry that is a melting pot of knowledge, technology, trends that come and go, doctors recommendations, and a range of customers with a variety of needs: the running shoe industry.

Now, I first started working at a running specialty shoe store in the summer of 2001 when I was a going to be a Sophomore of high school.  I was very young and naive about pretty much everything.  I went through months and months of training about the technology of shoes, fitting customers properly, and customer service.  So, with 13 years experience, I’d say I have a pretty good grasp on the concept of customer service.  As a customer, I expect knowledge about the questions I have (or ways to get the answers to my questions), I expect that the employee is going to care about helping me, and I expect to be treated in a friendly manner.  I don’t think those are too much to ask because that is exactly what I will give my customers when they walk in my store. I rarely ever complain about services unless it truly put me out of my way, because honestly people complain about ANYTHING.

I rant about this a bit because I have been on both sides of bad experiences.  I have had shoes thrown at me, I have had customers belittle me and treat me like a doormat they can step on, all while still trying to help with a smile on my face.  It is not easy.  Last week, my mom broke the screen of her phone and it completely shattered.  She has an Iphone 4 and it is the very first smartphone she has ever had.  Now, I won’t name the phone provider, but I will explain what an awful experience it was to get her phone replaced.

It started out with multiple phone calls.  We made the switch to this company about a year ago (buying 6 phones, all with insurance).  So, replacing one hadn’t been attempted yet.  Trying to make a claim was almost impossible.  First, it’s all the security questions.  Yes. I understand there are people who try to scam but how many times to I have to tell you how to spell my name and the street I was born on.  Second, the shipping address she gave they claimed was “not a valid address.”  She gave the address to the business she works.  They were supposed to call her to remedy that.  They didn’t.  She calls back the next night (her fingers are starting to get cut because of the shattered screen) and she keeps getting hung up on while they keep transferring her to department after department.  FINALLY after the claim is made and they send her the phone the next day that was $50 more than they originally said (at the very valid address she gave them in the first place), they said she could bring it in any store to help her transfer all of her stuff.  No problem!

I first thought maybe I should go with her to make sure she gets the help she needs.  But it didn’t end up happening that way.  She spent an hour waiting for someone to help her.  When she was called the girl helping her was rude, ignorant and could care less about helping her.  My mom needed assistance in her Apple ID and ICloud.  Pretty simple request, I think.  No.  This girl didn’t even activate the phone for her.  So, she comes home with a new phone that doesn’t work.  I was pretty upset about it because it was a pretty ridiculous process already.  She went back, and I went with her.

When we walk in, my mom points out the girl who “helped” her before.  The girl walks up and asks “did you figure out your Apple ID stuff,” kind of killing us with kindness.  I told her SHE had to assist her with that.  THAT’S what my mom asked her to do.  I explained that my mom didn’t understand what she was talking about and left empty handed because she couldn’t care to give her the customer service she deserved.  Now, I was pretty heated at this moment but then when the girl had the audacity to say “Well, she wasn’t willing to work with me!”  I almost lost it! You NEVER talk to a customer like that.  I told her that I work in retail and I understand how customer service works.  When you have a customer who needs your help, you help them to the best of your ability. PERIOD.

One of the technicians came over and started helping us then and she was just amazing.  Answered all of our questions, activated the phone, transferred everything, reminded us about wiping data out of the old phone, that we have 14 days to return the old phone, and so on.  She was so incredibly nice and THAT is how customer service should be.

I still hate the phrase “the customer is always right.” Because they are not always right.  But the communication between the employee and the customer needs to be caring, helpful, and friendly. Both parties have a responsibility to be courteous of one another.  So, if I am not up to your standards as a salesperson, that’s on me.  This situation was obviously making my mom go out of her way and that girl was disrespectful to her.  When you’re rude to me, I might say something.  But when you’re disrespectful to my mom…..you better believe I’m gonna say something!!!! :)

Summer in the city

Winter is something we, as Chicagoans, tolerate.  At first, usually in November, we don’t mind it.  The first snow is exciting.  The kids hope for snow days.  Parents don’t.  But we can all admit that winter in November and December is easier to tolerate than in MARCH! And after days and days AND DAYS of the Polar Vortex, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that WE WILL HAVE WARM WEATHER AGAIN.  Let’s face it, summer in Chicago is pretty amazing and that’s why we tolerate those awful 9 months of winter.

Now that I can actually see warm weather in our future, I am getting really excited for the next few months.  As, I’m sure, every student is aware we have one month left of school.  Now, I like being in school and learning.  But I LOVE my free time and I am approaching the end of my last semester of classes before my student teaching seminar.  It’s a great feeling.

Another thing I look forward to is wearing shorts and tank tops.  Two weeks ago, I started an exercise and diet regimen.  The past polar vortex filled winter, I was very busy and VERY stressed.  Not a good combo for staying fit.  But now, I have the time and the motivation.  The first week, I lost two pounds and about an inch and I plan on losing more.  Not that I think I’m fat.  But because I want to feel comfortable in shorts, tank tops and heaven forbid, a bathing suit!!

Every year I go to Lollapalooza and I am sad to report this may be the first year in 5 years I don’t attend.  Partly because I wasn’t able to get tickets.  Thousands of people storm the website when tickets go on sale and buy as many as they can.  Then they sell them for profit.  It’s totally unfair.  Also, the lineup is not as great as previous years.  I do like Lorde a lot.  But I’m not going to pay some person $200 ($100 more than the website charges) to see her.  Instead, I plan on going to see Jack White at the Chicago Theatre on July 23rd and Luke Brian, Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice and Cole Swindell at Soldier Field on August 31st.

In addition to those concerts, I have a wedding, some birthdays, including my twenty-first birthday ;), I’m going to read for FUN, run some 5ks, enjoy some playoff hockey and White Sox baseball, and most importantly, I am going to relax.  After all, that’s what summer is about right?

I cannot wait for summer in the city!!!

 

Dr. Daniel Miltner

Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Dr. Daniel Miltner, a professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Mathematics at University of Illinois at Chicago, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

I did not have Professor Miltner as a lead teacher of any of my classes.  However, I did have the opportunity to work with him in preparation for my TAP test a few years ago.  I always had a difficult time with math and had previously taken the TAP test, passing every section but math.  Before I had a few tutoring sessions with Professor Miltner, I failed the math portion 2 times.  Needless to say, I was very discouraged.

Going into these tutoring sessions, I was nervous because, if anyone can relate to having struggles with math, not understanding math concepts can easily make you feel stupid.  I finally bit the bullet and made the commitment to seek help.

Prior to the sessions and meeting Professor Miltner, I emailed him asking for extra help and he emailed me a list of resources.  A LIST of things to look over before we discussed them in the tutoring session. I could tell he was more than willing to help.

I found out that there was an entire group of students that were attending these tutoring sessions and he sought out to help each and every one.  We were all in it together.  We were all struggling with math and needed to pass the TAP test.  He focused on the math problems we all struggled with, highlighting key concepts and easy ways to solve the problems.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pass the math portion of the TAP immediately after that.  I emailed him again and he sent me another list of resources to look into, including a reminder of the work we did together.

I finally passed the TAP test last year and I couldn’t have done it without him.

As quoted from the Dean’s office: “As a faculty member, colleague, and friend, Dr. Miltner excelled in three noteworthy ways. He demonstrated the capacity for excellent mathematics teaching and the commitment to the growth and development of aspiring teachers, particularly aspiring teachers who may have been under-prepared in mathematics, but wanted to teach in the Chicago Public Schools. Dan, a dedicated and competent teacher who embraced students’ full humanity, consistently received the highest student ratings. He won the university’s Silver Circle Award for Teaching twice. Second, Dan made clear contributions to the College of Education by serving diligently and thoughtfully on committees inside and outside of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Third, Dan applied research standards of quality in the field of mathematics education as he explored research on best practices in teacher education to promote and advance the practical consequences of the research. Without equivocation, Dan was a strong advocate for strong mathematics instruction.”-Maria Makkawi

I had no idea he passed away until I received an email from the department with information about grief counseling.  “I pass his office everyday I’m at school,” I thought.  Even though I did not know him well, his loss saddened my heart.

Last Wednesday, I took a walk past his office as I usually do and what I saw was amazing…an out pour of appreciation and love on post-its all over his office door.  It showed just how many students and colleagues lives he touched. Things like “Thanks for showing us your human side,” “I know you are smiling wherever you are. Thank you for everything!,” and “Professor Miltner, you are the definition of passion. Rest in peace.”

I didn’t leave a post-it in that moment because I could not find the right words.  I was inspired by all of the things I read and needed time to process what I wanted to say.  Here is my post-it.

Daniel Miltner Obituary

UIC NEWS

 

 

Free from oil dependency…

Why is it that no one seems to care as much about the environment than they do other issues when the devastation to our earth is irreversible, massive extinctions of eco-systems are occurring due to our warming planet, and we’re polluting our waters with oil, over and over again? 

There was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last Saturday when a vessel collided with a barge that was carrying millions of gallons of toxic fuel, unleashing almost 200,000 gallons of oil into Galveston Bay.  There have already been thousands of birds reportedly drenched in oil.

That’s not all.  There was another oil spill.  But this time, much closer to home.  In Whiting, Indiana, the BP refinery reported oil spilling into Lake Michigan.  SPILLING INTO LAKE MICHIGAN.  Where we get our drinking water.  They apparently “don’t know how much oil has spilled,”  but Mike Beslow, the EPA’s emergency response coordinator says there APPEARED to be no negative affects on Lake Michigan.  I don’t know.  Do you believe that?

This is getting out of hand.  Actually, it’s been out of hand.

As big as these oil spills are, they don’t even scratch the surface of the problem.

We need change.  We, ourselves, need to change.

Have you heard of the TESLA car company?  Tesla is the first company to make completely electric cars that require no gas.  Why wouldn’t everyone want that if it means it will protect our earth from catastrophic devastation?  Here is the blog posted by TESLA on the issue of Chris Christie banning the sale of TESLA in the state of New Jersey: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/defending-innovation-and-consumer-choice-new-jersey

This past Saturday was Earth Hour (http://www.earthhour.org/) .  Millions of people across the world shut off their lights for one hour to raise awareness for our planet in need.  It’s always celebrated at Pie-eyed Pizzeria. Here are some photos of previous years.  Everyone needs to start caring more about our planet.  There are people in power who make a lot of money keeping us dependent on oil and are trying to keep companies like TESLA at bay.  It’s time we all step up and do something about it.  Please check out these websites:

http://www.earthhour.org/join-the-hour

http://audubon.org

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/25/refinery-operations-bp-whiting-idUSL1N0MM0RQ20140325

www.earthjustice.org

 

 

Never a dull moment

Busy, busy, busy.  That’s my life.  I don’t know if this semester is easier or I am used to having very little (and I mean VERY little) free time. It’s hard to believe this week is my last week of practicum.  I’ve been looking forward to this for EVER! But when we were on a bus coming back from our field trip, I told a couple of the students it was my last week, they got pretty upset.  The rest of the ride they just laid their heads on me.  Although, they could have been exhausted from me dragging them all around the Kohl Children’s Museum all day.  (I’ll go with they were sad because I’m leaving). On the upside, when practicum is over, I can work out every morning!!!

This week is also when Lollapalooza tickets go on sale.  Already? I’m still paying off LAST years Lolla tickets!!!  As much as I love the whole 3-day experience, I don’t think I can afford it this year.  Also, I’m not that into the headliners that have been announced.

I like Kings of Leon, but I’ve seen them multiple times already and I’m not sure that they have come out with a ton of new stuff recently, either.

Lollapalooza 2013

I’d see Eminem but it’s definitely not something I’ll be upset about missing.

Arctic Monkeys, they’re ok.

Skrillex….yea…I don’t really listen to techno or dubstep or whatever kind of music he makes.

Moving on…St. Pattys was fun! I had a blast with my cousin and my boyfriend.  We went to The Kerryman, Glascotts, and OF COURSE Pie-eyed Pizzeria!
Lastly, this week my favorite little guy in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD is turning 3!!!! I can’t believe it! I started nannying him when he was just 4-5 months old.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM!! I love you stinker!

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Everything is green today! Clothes, food, the Chicago River, beer.  I’m not Irish at all.  But I sure do like to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.  I never really knew anything about St. Patrick, other than something about snakes.  Snakes? Yea…snakes.  Let me start from the beginning.

A brief history: St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.  Although, he wasn’t Irish OR a very devout Christian.  He was born in Britain but kidnapped at the age of 16 by a gang of Irish raiders. He spent the next years of his life in captivity. That is when he turned to religion. He ended up escaping and returning home to Britain.  Although, he later went back to Ireland where he began to spread the Christian word.  He is also known for driving snakes out of Ireland.  “Wait a minute…there aren’t any snakes in Ireland!?” Right. And there may have never been any.  However, many old pagan religions have symbols of serpents that they worshiped.  So, perhaps driving the snakes out of Ireland was merely symbolic of St. Patrick abolishing paganism in Ireland and converting the people to Christianity.  Did you know the original color associated with St. Patrick was blue? So, how did green come to represent the holiday?  Green became associated with St. Patrick due to the landscape of Emerald Isle and the shamrock.  A shamrock (or clover), having 3 leaves, is said to be how St. Patrick taught the pagans about the Holy Trinity. People would put shamrocks on their clothing which turned into wearing all green clothing.  St. Patrick’s Day is always celebrated on March 17th because it is said that was the day he died. So, where do the leprechauns come in? Well, our idea of leprechauns are very different than the traditional leprechauns that are connected to the Celtic folk religions that predate Christianity.  In the traditional sense, these beings, or spirits, would get angry if people went near sacred places.  So, how did our version of leprechauns become so silly? They are taken from cartoons that we actually used against the Irish in the 19th Century. St. Patrick’s Day History.

Favorite recipes: St. Patrick’s Day Recipes.

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup raisins

Did you know…..? Irish soda bread gets its name and distinctive texture from the use of baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Mix in raisins. Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

5 pounds corned brisket of beef
6 peppercorns, or packaged pickling spices
3 carrots, peeled and quartered
3 onions, peeled and quartered
1 medium-sized green cabbage, quartered or cut in wedges Melted butter (about 4 tablespoons)

Place the corned beef in water to cover with the peppercorns or mixed pickling spices (in supermarkets, these often come packaged with the corned beef). Cover the pot or kettle, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 hours or until tender, skimming occasionally. During the last hour, add the carrots and onions and cover again. During the last 15 minutes, add the cabbage. Transfer meat and vegetables to a platter and brush the vegetables with the melted butter. Serve with boiled parsley potatoes, cooked separately. (The stock can be saved to add to a pot roast or stew instead of other liquid.)

Have a lucky day!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Forward

The celebration for my uncle was just utterly amazing.  So many people attended and I heard so many stories from people whose lives he touched.  It was a very difficult day, but a very special one.  I hope that I made him proud with my eulogy.

The last night my family from Oregon was here, we all released sky lanterns into the night sky.  The lanterns were filled with things we wrote to my uncle like, “I love you,” or “I’ll always remember when…”  It was magical and yet my heart still hurts. But now, I have a sense of closure.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog feeling like I was in limbo and not sure what to do or feel after it was all over.  Well, I have stumbled upon that answer.  I feel grateful I had my Uncle Larry in my life.  I feel honored I was able to speak at his celebration of life.  I feel lucky to be surrounded by such amazing family.  And lastly, I am empowered and excited for my future.

A few days after the celebration, I received an email that I needed to get my student teaching application completed.  Already?! I jumped on it right away.  I wrote my essays, submitted all of the paperwork, and received an APPROVED email from my adviser.  Next step: placement.  I got a little nervous because I am hoping to choose a location that could potentially be where I am hired.  I looked to friends for advice and I think I chose a place.  It isn’t for certain yet, so I won’t jinx it.  But I am beyond excited.  I have worked so hard and I am finally almost there, and it feels GOOD!

In the next few weeks I will be placed at a school for student teaching, completing my practicum hours, starting a daily workout regimen, detoxifying my body, looking forward to the next year of my life, and hopefully the weather will start getting warmer again.  Nothing but positivity.  Nothing but determination.  I am springing forward.

                                                       I love you Uncle Larry.

A eulogy for my uncle

John Lawrence Muellner wore many hats.  Literally.  I mean, he has a hat on in half of those pictures.  He was stylish like that.  But I’m pretty sure that was partially thanks to my Aunt Maggie.  Jokes aside, he was indeed, a jack of all trades. Actor. Director. Musician. Loving husband and father. Uncle and brother.  Cousin and Son.  Vietnam Veteran. Woodworker.  He had a sweet tooth (which must be some sort of Muellner gene because I have it too).  Co-inventor of the pain game.  Oregon Duck fan. Chicago Cubs fan. Creator of the name Pie-Eyed Pizzeria. Someone who will be truly missed by many.  

 A few weeks ago, someone sent me this quote from an unknown author; “Sometimes I wish I were a little kid again, skinned knees are easier to fix than broken hearts.” Ain’t that the truth?

 I’d like to thank all of you for coming today to celebrate the life of John Lawrence Muellner. He was my uncle, my mentor, and my friend.

 A couple years ago for Christmas, my parents gave me a big container just filled with things they had collected as I grew up. Pictures, report cards, art projects. So, a little over a year ago, I felt the urge to go through everything, piece by piece.  I found a note that I must have missed before, that my Uncle Larry sent me in 1989, when we lived in our old house on Lamon.  Little did I know that at 3 years old, that little piece of paper with a few words written on it would mean so much to me as an adult.  I don’t remember what it came with, but I am so thankful I have that little piece of paper now.  It says, “To Lauren of Lamon.  With Deepest Admiration, Your fan and uncle, Larry Da Mule.”  That piece of paper is something I will treasure the rest of my life.

 I mentioned that my uncle Larry was the co-inventor of the Pain Game.  Let me explain a bit what that was.  The object of the game was to come up with the most creative way to inflict a small amount of physical pain and/or annoyance on another player.  There were specific rules to follow.  Obviously, it had to be creative and original. It couldn’t be mean spirited because it was all in good fun.  For example, a good 20 seconds of pinching someone’s cheeks. It actually sounds sort of barbaric, now that I actually explain it.  But man, it was hilarious.  I would rarely participate but I ALWAYS liked to watch and laugh.  In the beginning, the rule was if you were in the room, you had to participate.  But who could say no to this face.  It was a tradition every time he was here. Eventually, no one could come up with anything new and original.

 A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Eugene.  My uncle Larry and Zoe picked me up from the Eugene airport.  I remember Zoe had school and rehearsal for CATS, and aunt Mag was working all day.  So, we dropped Zoe off at school and he showed me around Eugene.  It was really great actually because we got to spend the whole day together, just him and me.  He brought me to Mount Pisgah, and we went hiking.  We took a couple breaks, enjoyed the view while trucking up the trail, and we talked a lot.  About life, love, and he told me how happy he was that I was there.  When we got to the top, I asked someone to take a picture of us with beautiful Eugene in the background. That is how I will remember him.

 On that same trip, I was reading different scripts a theatre company was sending me.  I was trying to decide which one I wanted to direct.   I didn’t think any of them were that good, to be honest, but I was getting pressured to make a decision.  So I asked for his help and he was more than willing to read whatever I gave him.  There was one script in particular; Let me put it this way; it was the least lousy of the dozens I had read. It was about these rebel nuns that would swear and smoke cigarettes.  I brought it with me to Eugene so he could read it.  That night when I went to bed, he stayed up to read it.  The next morning, I was eager to find out what he thought.  I walked in the kitchen the next morning and asked, “So Uncle Lar, what did you think?” and he said, with no hesitation, “I thought it STUNK!”  I laughed and felt relieved that he said what I had been feeling.  That was definitely the end of the nun play. “Don’t settle,” he said.  “Wait until they send you something great that you deserve to work on.”

 A few months ago when his health was ailing, I sent him a letter telling him how important and influential he was to me.  I was afraid for his health and I needed him to know how much I cared about him.  I wrote “Hey old man, I heard you weren’t feeling the greatest and I wanted to write you for 3 reasons. 1) No one writes letters anymore 2) It feels good to get something in the mail that isn’t a bill, and 3) I want you to know how important you are to me.  You know, you are my favorite uncle (shh don’t tell the others) and you always encouraged me to explore my passions in life. I always hoped you’d move back to Chicago so we could see each other more than once a year.” I ended it “With love, your favorite niece (shh don’t worry, I wont tell the others). Be well and I’ll be seeing you.”

 With all the pain and suffering in the world, I went through a time when I wasn’t sure what I believed anymore.  Monday, December 30, was the day we received the news that he didn’t have much time left.  My father, my aunt Donna, aunt Marilyn, and my grandmother and grandfather were able to skype with him one last time.  He said to my grandmother, “I’ll meet up with you. I love you.” Today, with every fiber of my being, I believe he is up in heaven, and we will all meet up with him one day. 

 Many of you know 2013 was a very difficult year for this entire family.  We lost Dorothy Borta, Anne Fritz, Dave Luttmer, and Bob Borta.  And we all questioned, why?  Why so many in one year? And I don’t know if everyone knows this but, the moment my Uncle Larry left us, he had a smile on his face.  And I think that smile came upon his face because he saw Dorothy, Bob, Anne and Dave, all waiting for him. And he knew it was ok to let go.

 I’d like to share with you quote from the children’s book “Peter and Wendy,” also known as “The boy who wouldn’t grow up.”

 “You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

 I’ve been having a reoccurring dream with my uncle.  Every time, the environment is different but the circumstances remain the same.  Everyone around me is crying and he says “It’s my time, please don’t be sad anymore.” 

Dear Uncle Larry, we may not be able to extinguish our sadness over your loss, but we are gathered here today to celebrate your life, a life that will never be forgotten.

 With deepest admiration, your fan and niece, Lauren Da Mule.

 Thank you.

Teachers

As a future teacher, I have a great respect for current teachers everywhere.  It breaks my heart that teachers need to go on strike to get fair pay.  The Chicago Teacher’s Union seems like they have a never-ending battle for fair pay, better teaching environments, and valuable resources.

At UIC, I feel I have received the best education and have had some of the best teachers that I have ever had in my life of academics.  I have not had a professor yet who would not go out of their way to help me.  Graduate school was very daunting at first.  I had some issues with the logistics of everything.  But I can say that every single teacher I have had at UIC has made my beliefs and love for educating much stronger.  They have helped develop my teaching philosophies.  When I first started, I had no idea what a teaching philosophy even was!  Never did I think I would have a 4.0 GPA in graduate school because I have never gotten straight A’s my whole life.  These teachers have challenged me and made me leave class with a headache from thinking so much (which is a good thing!).  How many times can you say someone has challenged what you think and made you think even harder to defend it?

Sometimes with all the work, long days and nights, and hours put in, you can get frustrated.  Sometimes you ask  “Why is this relevant?” “Why do I need to write a paper on my reaction to an article that I read that didn’t mean anything to me?”  I get frustrated and I sigh when people ask me when I’ll be done (I answer “Probably never!”).  But honestly, I love school.  I love this school.  And I owe so much to my teachers who have made me feel that way. And I am almost done!

It scares me that teachers have to fight so much for what they and their students deserve.  Why isn’t the education #1 priority in this country?

All I am saying is teachers, the ones who are educating our future, deserve more.  More respect, more pay, more resources for their students.  And I am not just saying that because I am going to be a teacher one day.  I say that because the education I have received from my professors at UIC has been of the highest quality and I am proud to say I am a UIC student.

Maybe a resolution to the UIC teacher’s strike will be resolved by the time this blog is posted.  But I stand by my teachers.  UIC is a great institution! Let’s make it better!

In Limbo

Grief is a funny thing.  It’s something I think everyone has whether it’s the symptoms of a recent loss or a loss that happened a long time ago.  Everyone faces it at some point.  Everyone learns to live with it.  It’s not a hurdle you need to jump over.  It’s a burden you carry with you.  But this is life.  Constantly moving.  Constantly changing.  Life can be great at times.  It could be painful at times.  We’re human.  We feel joy.  We feel pain.

One of my favorite lyrics from an Ingrid Michealson song is “All I know is I’m breathing.  All I can do is keep breathing. All we can do is keep breathing.” That is how you continue on, you just keep breathing.  Sometimes, It’s not as easy as it sounds.

At the end of this month we are having a Celebration of Life for my uncle.  It’s something we’ve been planning for what seems like months.  It has only been a little over a month since he passed.  I am looking forward to this event.  I will be able to spend time with my family.  Family and friends will gather and show support and love, share memories and condolences. There will be laughing and crying, and we will come upon some kind of closure that everyone wishes to seek after a loss.  Usually after a death of a loved one, you have the services almost immediately.  That can give you a sense of closure quickly but it also doesn’t give you a chance to breathe.  My family and I have been busy the last 6 weeks preparing for this celebration.  It’s going to be so incredibly difficult.  But a much needed gathering of friends and family.  When it’s over, then what?

I just kind of feel like I’m in limbo. I think part of it really has to do with the weather being so bad and being stuck inside a lot.  I’ve been working really hard on my school work, I try to give the best care to the kids I nanny, and I’m trying to learn as much as I can in Practicum.  All welcome distractions.

I sometimes still can’t believe it happened.  Since I am in charge of the slideshow for the memorial, I have been forced to look at pictures.  When I look at them, sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry.  But I think in doing that, it has helped me remember him how he should be remembered.  Most importantly though, I often see him in my dreams.  And that is most special to me whether it makes me happy or sad.  I still get to see him that way.

“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”-Peter and Wendy


 

 

 

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