It is going to be okay.

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As a teacher and as a grandparent of an elementary aged child in public school, I understand the anxiety about opening schools. But I want to reassure you; it is going to be just fine.

For the 2020–21 school year, my school district opened August on an A/B hybrid schedule that simply did not work well for anyone. It lasted about nine weeks. We also had a virtual option for students who needed to choose that route. But teachers? We were 100% in the classroom every single day as if there were no pandemic whatsoever.

Oh, make no mistake: I…

An age-old question with a surprising answer.

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My son asked me this morning, “If you had a superpower, what would it be?” He said he thought I would choose flight, but no. I’m afraid of heights so that would not be it. I told him I’d give it some thought.

Sometimes I would pose this question to my students as a bellringer writing topic and while some had predictable answers, others were really creative and thoughtful in their responses.

So, I started thinking about it.

Immortality? Nope. I don’t necessarily want to outlive everyone I know. It is painful losing…

My answer to this question is evolving

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How do you answer the question when people ask, “How does it feel to be retired?”

What is the right answer to that?

I retired from the classroom in May at the end of this school year. So, for me, when people ask, I just tell them it still feels like summer break. I mean, I taught for twenty-five years, and I always had about ten weeks off at the end of each school year. So, for now, it still feels like summer break.

But things are changing.

Right after the July 4th…

Meet Braveheart.

This is a post I wrote on my own blog in 2019. I am reposting it here because it meant something to a lot of people, but more than that, I believe that the lessons our community learned from this miraculous dog, Braveheart, are so relevant still. I’ve never in my life seen anything as impressive and memorable as the way this dog and his story impacted people.

“Just a dog” is a phrase I never want to hear again in my life. Ever.

Here’s the post:

Last week I was scrolling through Facebook when Braveheart’s page popped up on…

What I’ve learned in my six months at Medium.

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How many articles are on Medium about writing for Medium? A bazillion.

Is that a number?

I have been writing on Medium since January: I am a newbie. I have had a fairly successful blog on Blogger since 2008, but when I discovered Medium, I liked the interface; I liked the networking, and I liked the potential to make a little cash. I figured I would give it a year and see what happens.

What I have learned in this short amount of time boils down to this:

· There are a lot of people who write basically the same…

And no phone, no experience, no drivers, no facility…

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The older I become the more I declare that the world has left me behind. My mother used to say this all the time; I would roll my eyes and wonder why it was so hard for her to just keep up, but now, I think I see what she meant.

So often I look at events in the news and in my community and I think, “What in the hell…?” And then I decide that moving to the country, out in the middle of nowhere, sounds more and more appealing.

A much more interactive process than watching on television

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The pure joy of listening to a small league baseball game on the radio cannot be understated, or any baseball game for that matter.

When watching a Major League baseball game on television, one must endure the incessant chatter of professional broadcasters who feel the need to fill every second with their own voice. The high-definition glossiness supplants any real need for words and makes those announcers virtually unnecessary.

When listening to a game on the radio however, the announcer (not necessarily a professional broadcaster) paints a picture of the game with his words. …

Especially this year.

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I was in a big box department store yesterday for the purpose of finding a couple of cushions for some outdoor furniture. I headed straight to the section of the store where one might find such a thing and found nothing but bare shelves. The entire area was stripped clean of patio furnishings, citronella oils, pool floaties, and garden décor.

Gone. All gone.

As I stared blankly at the empty shelves, an employee with an armload of backpacks walks by, sets them down, and begins stocking the shelves with school supplies.

Wait, what?

We have not even enjoyed the summer…

Cleaning off my bookshelves is therapeutic.

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I have come to two conclusions this week.

· It is staggering how many books I have in my little seventeen-hundred-square-foot house. Just embarrassing.

· I have spent a bloody fortune on books.

One of the items on my retirement bucket list was to declutter my house. Your bucket list might include a trip to Paris or climbing Mt. Everest; my needs are more simple. I need to declutter my house.

To that end, I started with the bookshelves. Please note I did this two years ago. Two years ago, I took every single…

The joyful simplicity of Americana at its finest.

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What is better than the Midwest during the Fourth of July?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It is that time of year again when we make plans for Independence Day; as it happens, this usually coincides with our annual trip to the Midwest to visit my husband’s family. We have always traveled there during the summer because as a schoolteacher, this was the best time for me to take an extended trip.

Now, newly retired, I can go whenever I want to! But I still want to go on the Fourth of July.


Pat Austin Becker

Consumer of life, ELA teacher, Louisiana ambassador, avid reader. Author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation (LSU Press).

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