Elsa Glover

The DeKalb High School Marching Barbs prepared a field show this year, even with COVID-19 restrictions. Their show, “The Wall,” allows for social distanced marching and playing. Last week, the Barbs performed the entire show live to a small audience.

Perspective: American Values

Sep 1, 2020
Mediamodifier / Pixabay

Kaneland’s school year has begun unusually. Our teachers worked hard to prepare and provide our students with the best education for this moment. It’s not a typical situation, so our actions and expectations cannot be typical.

All summer we asked -- how do we move through a time where nothing is normal and no plan seems appropriate? That we have to make things up as we move forward? How do we succeed when everything feels like an experiment?

Although these questions seemed appropriate for school, they also point to our nation’s current state.

Perspective: Making Trouble

Jul 28, 2020
Lawrence Jackson / Official White House photo

Since March, we’ve faced impossible issues and  limited choices to make the best of bad decisions. 

Enduring stressful days trying to keep everyone healthy and alive, our jobs and schools have been in a constant state of flux.  With the new school year looming, we wonder how to prioritize the health issues involved in opening our schools.

There really isn’t a good solution. 

Our world erupted after George Floyd’s horrific murder. And we found ourselves wrestling with how we as a nation reconcile ourselves and our actions of racism.

Perspective: I'll Try To Be Honest

Jun 23, 2020
Arek Socha / Pixabay

As a U.S. History teacher, I wanted my students to understand that we live in a flawed country, that our government has flaws, that we as humans have flaws and that with all of that, if we can view and accept multiple perspectives, we should be able to live together in some sort of harmony.

In the classroom, I’ve facilitated eye opening discussions about race and privilege. And I encouraged my students to sit in their discomfort to really reflect. I’ve done this before. I should know what to say now. But I really don’t.

Perspective: Stepping Out Of The Circling

May 19, 2020
Alfred Leung / Unsplash

Waiting for the stay-at-home order to lift is getting hard. We are in so many ways stuck and stagnant.

The other day I found myself walking in circles around the house. I didn’t know what to do with myself. There was plenty I could do. But I'd already done so much of that. I had no motivation; I had no direction, just aimless, anxious energy. I needed relief. Some sort of distraction.

Perspective: Do Mom And Dad Have A Point?

Apr 14, 2020
Elsa Glover

During tough times, my parents sing a song. It's sweet -- two real voices, not quite in tune, but full of energy.

Whenever I complained, they’d break into song:

You’ve got to accentuate the positive

Eliminate the negative

Latch on to the affirmative

And don’t mess with Mr. In-Between!

Listening, I often thought it’s old fashioned mumbo jumbo. It’s parent talk.

Finally, I listened to Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters sing the whole song. The lyrics surprised me:

Perspective: What Are YOU Going To Do About Microplastics?

Mar 10, 2020
Elsa Glover

Occasionally, our Perspectives author Elsa Glover turns over regularly scheduled spot to her colleagues and students who have something to say. This time, she asked students in Clinton Rosette Middle School's Green Club to talk about something important to them. Melanie Hernandez and Julia Glover worked together to research, write, and deliver their Perspective.

Perspective: Guilty Pleasures

Jan 28, 2020
Jill Wellington / Pixabay

Guilty pleasures -- we all have them. A sneaked candy bar at the grocery store, a fancy drink at the restaurant, a magazine subscription, or binge-watching the soap opera that drives away the family. Guilty pleasures provide us with momentary escapes from reality.

Not that my reality is bad, it’s actually pretty good. So why do I need my guilty pleasures?

Perspective: A Tradition Shines In Dark Times

Dec 24, 2019
insung-yoon / Unsplash

It’s Christmas Eve and my thoughts turn to tradition. December holds many cultural traditions that bring our lives meaning. My tradition comes from the Christmas Story.

When my children were young, we read the story about the shepherds. An angel visited the shepherds and said, “Do not be afraid.” What a strange thing for an angel to say.

Throughout the Christmas story, angels visit Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. Each time, their first words are “Do not be afraid.” It‘s important, my kids thought, because it’s repeated. Perhaps we have missed something important.

Perspective: Stuck In The Details

Sep 10, 2019
Art Institute of Chicago, photo by Elsa Glover

 

Perspective: Routine, Please!

Aug 6, 2019
robinsan via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Some people say there is a season for everything. I reflect on that saying during mundane moments. Routines are followed and no surprises occur. Living in routine time is nice because it’s easy and predictable. I often stop and lavish in the moment of living routinely because I know it won’t last and I will long for routine and predictability at some point. 

Perspective: Our Voices Matter

Jul 2, 2019
Albrecht Fietz / Pixabay, edited

Sometimes I wonder if my words and efforts matter. I am easily discouraged when immediate change doesn’t transpire. If we allow it, setbacks can strangle change. We cannot see the course our efforts will take when we are in the midst of it. 

Two monumental events happened on July 2 that offer hope to us all: 

Perspective: The Robin At My House

May 28, 2019
Elsa Glover

These last few weeks, I’ve watched a robin build a nest on my front porch, lay eggs and then take care of her four babies. The mama bird goes about her days. She feeds her babies, she keeps them warm and protected.

Nature has provided her the ability to do all these tasks sufficiently. It’s instinctual for the mama robin.

The mama robin does what any mama robin would do; she’s a mama robin and that’s who she is. She lives her purpose with courage and strength.

Perspective: Lessons From A Gunslinger

Mar 19, 2019
public domain

 

public domain

102 years ago today, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917.  This law was the most sweeping immigration law to that date.  In essence, the law barred most Asians and severely limited any immigrants who weren’t from northern or western Europe.  The Nativist movement had hold of Congress who fought for this law.  This loud group didn’t want anyone but Americans in America.  When President Wilson disagreed, Congress overturned his veto and made it a law. 

Perspective: It's Time To Start Fresh

Jan 1, 2019
Pixabay

I’m always grateful for those opportunities to start again.  Beginning fresh, no mistakes, trying something different, more challenging.  Restarting offers us a chance at a perfect moment in the future. 

A perfect moment – what does it really hold?  Everyone getting along?  Having a good hair day and being on time?  Having that new idea work just right?  Cooking a steak to the just-right medium rare?  A perfect moment where I’ve strung words together that motivates someone.  It’s pure synchronistic magic. 

Perspective: A More Perfect Union

Nov 27, 2018

 

DeKalb’s seventh graders are studying the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble. Throughout town, you can hear the Schoolhouse Rock music about those 52 words starting with, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union.”   

 

I Am Woman, Hear My Chainsaw Roar

Oct 23, 2018
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

 

A Little Act Can Make A Big Statement

Sep 18, 2018

 

One day, I stopped at the gas station and saw an old friend. She was busy picking up the litter throughout the gas station parking lot. After watching, I realized my friend had been simply walking by the station and had decided to take a moment to clean up. 

Summer Book Report

Aug 14, 2018

As an educator, I love summer reading – the chance to explore different literature. This summer, I read John Krakauer’s Into the Wild, my son’s summer read, and pondered the term adventure. This book chronicles Christopher McCandless’s journey of deserting conventional life to see how wild he could become.  McCandless said, “The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.”  No matter where I went this summer, I connected my activities to this thought. I considered, how do I live into adventure?

The Power Of American Opportunity

Jul 10, 2018

Summer vacation allows kids this opportunity to live their own dreams for a short time.

Kids all around me are breaking down their classroom’s four walls to engage in a larger learning experience.  This month, I’ve seen kids taking classes, learning new instruments, practicing a foreign language, working a job, paddling the Boundary waters, exploring their minds, talents, and interests.  

 

These kids’ American Dreams of opportunity and learning inspire me.

Avoiding Those Trojan Horses

Jun 5, 2018

Last week my daughter studied the story of the Trojan Horse, where the Greeks trick the Trojans into accepting a gift of a huge wooden horse only to find it’s filled with Greek soldiers. That horse was amazing – a grand gesture the Greeks made after 10 years of grueling war.

Yet Julia questioned why anyone would accept this horse. How could the Trojans be so short sighted?

Different versions of the myth portray some Trojans questioning the Greeks’ intent. But no one listens. Why don’t we listen to reason?

A Tale Of A Tired Bird

Apr 24, 2018

Another of Dad’s stories illustrates the best and worst of decision making. It came in handy recently, so I’ll share it with you.

This little bird lived happily in his treehouse. The weather was cooling, and other birds were flying south. Not ready to uproot himself, this bird couldn’t make himself leave.

One morning the bird awoke to snow. Shivering, he realized he should have flown south earlier. No matter, he’d begin his journey now.

So the bird flew for days on end to catch up. Even when his wings got tired, he kept flying – yet he had many miles to go.

A Philosophy That's Hard To 'Beet'

Mar 20, 2018

My dad tells stories to illustrate how to make life decisions. Of all his stories, I love this story of perseverance and courage. It’s a unique look at a person’s ability to fight through weakness and find might. Everyone can gather strength from this story.

During college, Dad ate his meals in the university cafeteria. With all its choices, there are always a few that don’t measure up. In this particular cafeteria, my dad’s overlooked choice was beets. After a few months of seeing those beets, Dad decided to try them. Still, he didn’t like those beets.

Who Will Today's Students Become?

Feb 13, 2018

This month, U.S. History students defined their generation for me.

No surprise, they recognized their teenage angst and identified their dependence on technology. They also argued for their innovative nature.

These kids understood they are a generation, like any other, with timeless human qualities and unique opportunities. Their clarity in their common identity amazed me.

Finding The Right Balance

Jan 9, 2018

Two years ago, I realized I could not light a fire and decided I should know how. It couldn’t be hard -- they say it only takes a spark to get a fire going.

I’d watched many people start fires. I’d gathered the kindling and wood for them. But I’d never placed the logs. I’d never lit the match.

After watching a YouTube video, I decided I knew enough. I began laying paper, sticks, and wood together. Saying a prayer, I lit the match. A flame took hold. Ambitious, I added wood. And the fire died.

Change Of Pace Can Reawaken Beauty

Dec 5, 2017

I am no gearhead, but cars are cool.  For six years, I drove a very utilitarian minivan.  It’s great for family, but turning the key, I just feel stale. 

Last spring for a change of pace, I acquired a classic car-- a bright red, v8 engine  Mustang.  It’s been around, but it still has lots of life.  I giggled the first time I turned the key.  I gave the car some gas, laughing as the engine roared.  I revelled in Little Red’s power. 

What Do Your Words Really Say?

Oct 31, 2017

There are certain go-to phrases we adopt to thoughtlessly express a given moment. A way we say hello. A word when we hit every green light. A muttering when the dog tracks in mud.

Mostly my go-to phrases are pretty tame. But three years ago, one of my phrases of frustration suddenly became tasteless. These words, never serious, often triggered polite smiles. They simply were meant to be a humorous release.

Opportunities Beyond The Routine

Sep 26, 2017
Guy Stephens/WNIJ

By now most classroom routines are established. There is a lot to be said for routine. It brings comfort and an understanding of what is to come.

Often we live within the confines of routine, not making the effort to think outside the box -- simply slogging through. When imagination goes dormant, our worlds shrink. But when engaged, imagination paves new roads. Carl Sagan said that “imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were.” It is a powerful tool that helps us create and dream.

Dealing With Pesky Roadblocks

Aug 22, 2017

Tomorrow is our first day of school. It marks the start of my twentieth year as an educator, and my thoughts go to beginnings and endings, cycles and goals, and inevitable roadblocks and challenges.

We start on the right foot, but roadblocks prevent us from moving in our expected direction and force us to make a change. We create attainable and measurable goals, and roadblocks prevent us from achieving them. Sometimes roadblocks provide us new adventures and positive outcomes. And sometimes roadblocks bring pain and sadness.

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