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The Power of Thanks

November 21, 2012

Teacher Musings:

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Usually I’m getting super excited about four-days off, but this year the special part of this weekend is that my friends are on my current not-working schedule so I’ll get to see some of them.  However, as with most Thanksgivings, I like having the time to reflect on what I’m thankful for.  I’ve always been thankful to be a teacher, have a job I love and work with amazing people – students included!  However, this post made me think about some specific students who have really helped me grow and be a better person.  I always try and tell my students “thank you” for what they do.  Some people probably think I thank them too much for things they just “should” do, like have a positive attitude in class, coming after school for help, etc.  However, I think it is so important to realize how much work it is for some students to do these “basic” things.  They have busy lives, many filled with responsibilities.  They face tons of pressures, from peer expectations, to adult expectations, all while dealing with out-of-control hormones.  Yet, through this all, they are some seriously amazing people.

So thank you to my student who shares her Mortal Instruments books with me.  Thank you to my former students who message me on facebook to tell me what they are doing in their adult lives and give me faith in the future of our world.  Thank you to the students who used the feedback I give them to drastically improve their writing.  Thank you to the student who did every single assignment I gave last year, on time, with no complaining.  Thank you to the students who honestly share their shortcomings rather than make excuses.  Thank you to the students who ask me “how are you doing?” tell me “good luck” when on go on maternity leave and say “thank you” when they learn something.

Mostly, thank you to all my students – thank you for teaching me so much about reading, writing, our culture, your worlds and how to be a better teacher and better person.  Thank you for teaching me way, way, more than I have ever taught you.

Yummy Stuff:

It’s Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays!  I get a kick out of planning and cooking a large multi-dish meal, even when it is just for me, my husband and our kids (one 2 year old and one baby).  This year we will bring one of the best side dishes’ back since we haven’t had it for the last couple Thanksgivings: Bourbon-laced Sweet Potatoes!  This dish is from Chef Jason Wyrink.  It’s super simple but super delish!

Bourbon-laced Sweet Potatoes:


2 large sweet potatoes
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 TB of sugar (white or brown – brown is kind of awesome here)
3 TB bourbon
12-15 pecan halves (optional) (we don’t use these because my husband is allergic to tree nuts)


1) Peel the sweet potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch medallions.  Toss the medallions with allspice and salt
2) Layer the medallions in a large baking dish.  Sprinkle sugar on top and splash the bourbon over the potatoes. 
3) Cover the baking dish and bake at 425 for 35-45 minutes.
4) If using pecans, pull the potatoes out now and scatter the pecans on top.  Then, recover the potatoes and put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes. 
5) Pull potatoes out of the oven, let them cool a few minutes, then serve!

  1. The sweet potatoes sound amazing – not too sweet and with nuts!

    • They are super delicious. Every year I think “I should make these more than once a year!” 🙂

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