Suddenly — seemingly out of nowhere — concerned parents in every corner of the country are screaming and asking, “What about our kids’ education?” The debate surrounding reopening schools is contentious and exposes every systemic flaw in public education. Parents are bringing up inequity and inequality. They are discussing special education, mental health, social and emotional development of children. They are asking questions about legalities, taxes, and unions. They are concerned. They are extremely concerned.

They have all become experts in pedagogy, educational policy, economics, epidemiology, and virology. They all have sound advice for the teachers, administrators, and school staff…

Have you noticed? The world is on fire. The virus is lurking, it’s spreading its tentacles, it’s shedding its skin, it’s slithering into perfect lives, disrupting routines, exploding in living rooms furnished with white, tufted couches and oriental rugs. It’s bequeathing sparks of chaos, which ignite unexpectedly. It’s created discomfort, inflamed fear, ignited the rise of vile and dangerous conspiracy theories. It’s exacerbated panic, aggravated chaos. It forced us to a halt.

It’s been around for a long time. Always waiting, striking whenever, pouncing steadily.

The rise of extremism, sexism, racism, every ism. Synagogues burned, Jewish cemeteries defaced, rabbis taunted…

When I embrace my mom, my body melts into her warmth. My forehead nestles in her arm and the weight of everything slowly dissipates and floats far away into an unknown abyss, with the rest of the worries, the nightmares, the little fires. When she hugs me, sounds fizzle and fade into the mist of calm. She’ll run her fingers through my hair, and I temporarily forget everything that was. She smells like home, like my childhood, like crepes and shampoo. I want to hug her soon.

My dad’s strong cologne and aftershave — his brand, roams my parents’ home…

I function in a haze, or malfunction, is this simply existing?

When days run into nights and nights stumble down rusted rails

Is this what you call quarantine

At 2 a.m. cars burn outside my window, but who is touching the wheel.

The silence breaks, shatters on the kitchen tile

I function in the darkness

Light mocks and taunts, light baits the weakness

I accomplish nothing, it’s all empty

The stainless steel is scratched

The walls are stained

A timid paintchip squanders its shame

Crumbs cowardly snuggle in crevices and seams

I function, or malfunction in the chaos.

Purple foil…

I was 29 when I walked into my first classroom. I was hired as a long-term sub in an amazing school district, one of the top in the state. An affluent school district. A dream for many. I was just thrilled to have a teaching job.

I started in November. After the students had already developed rapport with their teacher. After they fell in love with her.

I was 29, with a child and a previous career in marketing and communications. I was “semi-seasoned,” in terms of professional experience. This was going to be fine. …

I remember the exact day my daughter declared “reading is boring.” She was in first grade, I had just come home from work, exhausted and frustrated with the day I had. I walked into the living room and asked her if she’d started her homework yet.

“Reading is boring,” she said as if she were deliberately trying to break my heart. And she did.

“Reading is boring,” shout children in unison.

“Reading is useless,” yell children everywhere.

“Reading is stupid,” they cry, and parents are instantly overcome with anger and despair.

When my first grader announced she will no longer…

I gave up planning and shifted away from the traditional curriculum—and it’s working

Photo: iam Se7en/Unsplash

I have a confession: I am currently teaching a book I have never read. I don’t have a single plan prepared. No resources are available online for me to utilize, nor do I need any. I’m winging this thing entirely. And I have almost total engagement from my students. But before I tell you why and how this works, let me take you back to my life as a high school student.

In 11th grade, I purchased Cliffs Notes for a book I was assigned to read. It was my first time taking the easy way out of reading a…

My parents fled Uzbekistan because of the rampant anti-Semitism, and took me and my brother to the United States of America. We came here as refugees and were taken in and provided for by the local Jewish Community Center.

I remember feeling sad leaving all of my friends and some family. I was scared of the unknown, nervous for my parents, and worried I wouldn’t be able to speak to anyone. I was 11. My brother was 7. My parents left everything and everyone they knew to get away from hate and give themselves and their kids the possibility of…

With childlike wonder I watched the acrobats seemingly effortlessly soar above and through the stage, batons cartwheel into the ceiling, BMX bikes spiral around ramps, and wizards fall into trampolines only to be immediately ejected into the air. Poof. At the Cirque du Soleil: VOLTA, I was stunned and left breathless by the levitating woman, suspended simply by her hair, obviously a type of black magic, defying laws of gravity. I listened to Darius Harper and Camilla Bäckman as their powerful voices transported me to a place of altered reality. How are such acts possible? Were my eyes deceiving me…

She was born in Kremenchug, Ukraine and her family fled to Tashkent, Uzbekistan right before the Second World War, during which she lost her brother. She received a degree in Economics and later managed a department in an economics firm. To everyone around her she was Mara Mihailovna, to me she was Baba.

For a brief moment in time, my parents and I lived with my paternal grandparents. My grandfather (deda) was wholeheartedly obsessed with me; I was his first and only grandchild. Because of my parents’ small living space, my crib was placed in my grandparents’ bedroom. I’d often…

Dina Ley

I write because it’s the only way for me to say what I really want to say. Also, because I can.

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