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Photo Credit: Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

I have been teaching on a hybrid schedule since October. Teachers have been on edge and walking on eggshells in hopes the virus will not spread in schools. So, it was with great delight my colleagues and I learned Governor Hogan moved educators up to the second group on the vaccine list. The process moved so quickly that within a week of Hogan’s decision every educator in my school had appointments to be vaccinated.

I anxiously awaited the vaccination day as anyone would. I was extraordinarily careful all week to ensure I had no symptoms and was healthy enough to…


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Photo Credit: Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash

Will 2021 be a better year? Are we on a path back to normalcy? Will we once again be able to connect with friends, laugh at jokes, and live without constant fear? Will 2021 be the dawning of a new day? We are all so anxious for 2021 to save us.

Our 2020 challenges were daunting. Living with a highly contagious virus has been traumatic. So many of us became severely ill, and so many died. Not only have we lived with loss of “normalcy”, we have had to live with loss due to death.

Yes, 2020 was a year…


Then You Can Write A Book

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Photo Credit: Art Lasovsky on Unsplash

Have you ever considered writing a book? Is writing a book one of your dreams, but you are overwhelmed at the thought of starting? Have you started a book but got lost in your ideas? If so, it is time to rethink the concept of writing a book.

I have always wanted to be a writer. From the age of 7, I would spend my time writing stories or articles in my notebooks. As I aged, I still had the idea of becoming a writer, but pulling a book together was an overwhelming thought. I started several books myself, and…


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Photo Credit: RetroSupply on Unsplash

A few months ago, I had an idea for an uplifting Medium essay about an open water swim I completed in Turks and Caicos. I started the draft hoping to publish in one of the larger publications, like the Ascent. I knew if I included the story of my training and the race itself that I could have a substantial length essay.

I worked on the essay on and off for a few weeks. I had other ideas that were quicker and easier to write, so I completed the first. Because this swim story was near and dear to my…


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Photo credit: Minh Pham on Unsplash

Here we are at the end of a most challenging year. We all want 2021 to be the year of our dreams more than any previous year we have lived. Everyone is setting resolutions and creating plans for growth, success, and joy.

I, myself, have created goals and plans for the first 6 months of 2021. Overall, I want to generate more income from my writing. I want to shift toward writing as a worthwhile side hustle. I also want to lose weight, just like many of us who have been using foods to cope through the pandemic. …


All you need to do is take one step forward

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Photo Credit: Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Last January, I set a goal for myself. I intended to publish my first book. I had two ideas, and I hoped to self-publish one and submit another to a publishing company. I set up a calendar, I set up a monthly goal plan, and I wrote. Until, the pandemic.

As a teacher, I was overwhelmed in the spring with the switch to online school in addition to the general stress, anxiety, and isolation the pandemic lockdowns brought for all of us. The last thing I wanted to do was sit alone in my office and reflect. …


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Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Covid’s impact on children has been overlooked during the past 9 months. We have ignored their needs and expected children will simply roll with the punches as the punches come. We expect them to learn and achieve in virtual school despite the environment. We expect they will buckle down and work hard to learn as if nothing is happening around them.

Just learn on the computer now, we tell them. Just use your computer. Even when we have in-person school, everything revolves around the virus. Wear your mask. Stay 6 feet apart. Eat lunch outside in the cold weather. Don’t…


Allow yourself to be one

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Photo Credit: Rita Morais on Unsplash

Have you ever heard yourself asking, what can I offer people? I am not an expert in anything! I struggle with this question a lot as I write. I teach middle school what do I have to offer? If we look beyond the surface of our lives, however, I think you will be surprised to see your experiences offer vast expertise.

We are all experts.

What am I an expert in? I am an expert in transitioning students to middle school. I have been at this work for over two decades, and I have actually been professionally published on the…


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Photo Credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

On a cool October day in 2016, I sat with two colleagues and discussed the presidential election. As people who regularly engaged in politics, we were concerning ourselves with the larger impact of the election of Trump as the GOP candidate. Far ahead of our time, we wondered, was this the death of the GOP?

Fast forward four years, and here we are. Make no mistake, Trump did not destroy the GOP. Members of the party contributed to its continual decline over decades. …


My Top 4 Priorities

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Photo Credit: Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Imagine the end of the pandemic. We have lived so long in the midst of this turmoil it is certainly hard to even fathom going back to normal life. And yet, perhaps this is why we must imagine our lives post-pandemic. What will you value? How will your life change? What will you do that you have missed so much?

Over the course of the year, we have lost so much of our normal lifestyle. From travel to movies to happy hours, we can no longer live in the way we want. Socializing and being out…

Jennifer Smith

Dreamer. Water lover. Educator. And mom. @Jennifer_Smith5

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