The Worst Advice I’ve Ever Heard

In honor of giving up advice for Lent, here is a list of the worst advice I’ve ever heard: You should lose weight. You would be really pretty if you lost weight. (A grown man I worked with the summer I was 17.) You should be stricter with your students. (A former colleague who was let go for getting high during school hours. At school.) You should establish firm consequences for your students. (A former boss who freaked out and suspended one of my best students the one day she subbed for me.) That brown skirt makes for a good…

I’m giving up giving advice for Lent

I’m giving up giving advice for Lent starting now, I announced to my class yesterday. I’m also giving up sharing my opinions, especially at work but also in general. My students were appalled. How are you going to not share your opinions? How are you going to not give advice? That’s basically your whole job, Mrs. Wanket. Giving us advice. Telling us your opinions. You’ve just proven to me that I am correct in my chosen Lenten sacrifice, I said. One girl protested. What if someone asks for your advice? Even more reason to keep my mouth shut. Okay, but…

Lenten Theme: Focus

I did not grow up in a church-going family. The Liturgical Calendar meant nothing to me until I began teaching at Catholic schools in my very early twenties. Since then, Ash Wednesday has special significance. I attended Mass with my students today. I received ashes on my forehead and made some private and public promises about what I would “give up.” Maybe it’s because I only participated as an adult, but now I think Lent is awesome. Today, an early morning message from a friend evoked the word “focus.” She is making choices about her time in order to maintain…