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When Life Interferes

June 26, 2012

Teacher Musings:

Two weeks ago I was reminded of how school fits into the whole picture of “life” for both myself and my students.  I was dealing with some sad events at home, and at the same time I was communicating with one of my students who was dealing with some serious issues of violence in her own home.  So, as school was wrapping up, I was completely emotionally drained, and my student was stressed beyond belief as she tried to get all of her finals and final presentations put together amidst the massive personal stressors she was facing.

While school and work can feel like life sometimes, in reality life is often what happens outside that school/work space.  This realization has come to me many times, both in positive and negative forms.  Both situations (mine and my student’s) reminded me that of what happens to our school/work side of life when we are dealing with other issues.  This student is one of the hardest workers and most thoughtful teens I have taught, and she was struggling to get it all done after not sleeping and worrying about things at home.  On my end, I was pretty much useless for two days.  I had intended to do a bunch of planning and reflecting, but instead I packed up some office supplies and spent most of the day looking at my computer blankly.

Sometimes life interferes with work and school.  I want to remember this the next time a student comes in with a bad attitude, or not doing any work, or any other such thing.  I am lucky to have a good relationship with the student I am discussing.  However, there are plenty of other students who will not tell me what is going on with them or what they are dealing with.  Instead, they will just act in a way that doesn’t work with “school.”  We need to push students to be resilient, to continue to work through hard times, etc.  But we also need to take some time to listen to them, empathize with them, and remember that the stress they feel is real, even when the events they are willing to talk about with us seem trivial.  This year I didn’t listen to my students as much as I should have; I was overwhelmed with twice as many students than last year and with new responsibilities.  As I finally take the time to reflect on this year I want to remember that, and be more empathetic next year, even as I push them to to “push through” whatever issues they are dealing with.

Yummy Stuff:

We finally tried making a vegan ranch dip since we are getting some awesome veggies (like sugar snap peas!) in our CSA box.  These veggies just BEG to be dipped in ranch, so what better time to try some out!  After searching the internet for ideas, I landed on this combo that worked really well, even for a first try!  This version worked well as a dip right off the bat, but after some time in the fridge it thickened up even more.  I like it best as a veggie dip, but if you wanted to use it for salad dressing I would just add some more soymilk until it is the consistency you want.

Vegan Ranch Dip


1 cup of vegan mayonnaise (Earth Balance or Nasoya are both good brands)
1/4 cup soy (or other non-dairy) milk
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 tsp powdered onion
1/4 tsp of pepper
2 tsp dried parsley (feel free to substituted 1-2 TB of fresh parsley as well!)

Blend all ingredients in a food processor (or by hand with a whisk) until very well blended!

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