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For several months I have wanted to tell you about a miraculous event in my family's life, but I haven't been able to. Now that I can, I'm not sure I can do it justice.On October 11, we legally and forever gained a new niece, Ivey Elise. My husband's sister, Mandy, and her husband, Chad, adopted the most beautiful baby girl, a child whose story grabbed our hearts and whose presence has changed our lives.Mandy and Chad had gone through all of the paperwork and preparation for adoption, having their home inspected, fingerprints run, and lives dissected. Their names were placed on the list, and just four months later, they received the call. Both teachers, Mandy and Chad were at work when the call came saying, "There is a baby girl - if you want her, come to the hospital."You have to hear Chad's story of running through the halls and parking lot - I picture it like the scenes of expectant dads in movies. Of course they wanted her. They were going to have a daughter.Sweet Ivey had been dropped off at an upstate South Carolina hospital under what is known as Daniel's law. Under this special provision, parents may...


My earring fell out of my ear today while I was in the restroom and nearly landed in the toilet. What is one supposed to do in such a situation? Flush it? Reach in and grab it? Thank goodness I didn't have to decide. I wouldn't mind flushing it - it is a cheapo earring, but I would mind ruining the only adult female toilet in my wing of the building. I might never be forgiven.I hate hand painted signs by the side of the road. What makes you think I want to vote for your candidate because you spray painted with yellow paint on a blue tarp? Professionalism you do not require, apparently.The day before a teacher workday is tantamount to the day before spring break or Christmas vacation or the day of a full moon. They're nuts. And I need a nerve pill.While we're on the subject of teacher workdays, is it too much to ask that teachers be allowed to really work on said workdays? I could get so much teacher stuff done - say, planning and grading! - if I were not required to be in meetings all day. Guess that's what the weekends are for,...


At first I didn't understand her question, her face looking at me expectantly from around her computer's monitor."What state is Germany in?"I'm sure my eyebrow lifted as I contemplated what she meant. State? Germany?It suddenly dawned on me that she wanted to know where in the United States Germany was. Germany, the country, in the United States.Her neighbor looked at me, too. She had already asked him, and he wasn't sure either.I gently (I think - I tried to be gentle) explained that Germany is its own country and that it is located on a separate continent from the United States.I write this not as an indictment of this particular student (or her neighbor) or in a mocking sort of way, but rather as a very serious, contemplative question that must be posed in every educator's mind.What in the world does this mean?When two students who have made it to high school do not know that Germany is a country, we must take this seriously. If they do not know where Germany is or that it is a nation, they must not understand exactly what happened in the Holocaust or the implications of that event either. (Am I right? Is...