Anita

Anita

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

When Someone Grieves, Offer an Embrace

The Passing of a Family Friend I wanted to reach through the phone line and embrace my daughter. Instead, I texted her back and tried to concentrate on reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my freshman class. I kept losing my place and glancing at my phone. Not professional behavior, I know. But when your daughter texts you that her beloved German Shepherd has bladder cancer and the vet sees no hope, you do what needs to…

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When it’s OK to Call Your Kids a Friend

Why DID We Have Kids? “Mom, why did you and Dad have kids?” Sarah asked a few years ago. “Because we knew that when you guys became adults we’d have two awesome friends.” I quipped. “But didn’t you tell us that we couldn’t be friends?” Sarah reminded me. “No. We said we couldn’t be friends until you’re 18 and out of high school.” “Oh, yeah,” she said. “Kids need boundaries and mentoring. They don’t need the burden of having an…

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Being Half Vegetarian in a World of Abandonment

Half Vegetarian For some reason, Pedro is discussing meat eating and vegetarianism with students while he patrols the playground after lunch. As I walk by on my way to my next class, I overhear a youngster declare, “I’m the only vegetarian in my family!” “Really?” Pedro asks. “Everyone else eats meat?” “Everyone but me!” the second grader declares. “Guess what, Mr. Ojeda?” a third grader asks. “I’m half vegetarian!” “Really!” Pedro exclaims. The bell rings and I hurry to unlock…

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The Pitfalls of Treadmill Training You’ll Want to Avoid

Painful Lessons Two things happened after I finished a half-marathon two weeks ago. First of all, I realized the importance of trimming one’s toenails adequately BEFORE a race. I don’t do the mani-pedi thing, so I rarely consider my toenails and their needs. Thus, I started my race with the toenail on my right big toe just a wee bit long. When I finished the race, I realized that my toe hurt a little. Imagine my surprise when I removed…

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If You’ve Lost Your Purpose, I Know Where to Find it!

Morning Discontent When I woke up this morning, I felt bleh. I made sure to spend an extra amount of time in my gratitude journal, praising God for everything. “Thank you for the tulips that push their way through the hard soil in February. Thank you for the rain. I praise you for the sunset last night.” And then I confessed to God that I felt bleh. Frustrated because I still struggle to know my purpose in life. Yeah, I…

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Why I Hate the King James Version of the Bible

Hating the Bible? I know. One shouldn’t hate the word of God. I don’t really hate the King James Version of the Bible. I hate what it represents. Before you skip to the comments section and vilify me for allegedly trash-talking the Word of God, hear me out. We sat in church and I glanced around at my fellow congregants. Sixty percent had yet to reach their eighteenth year. Eighty percent had grown up in a home where the majority…

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There’s No Such Thing as a Slow Student

Slow Students I have a student that our school almost didn’t accept. You see, we don’t have a special education program because we’re a small, private school. This young man had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) from his previous school, but his parents really wanted him to experience life as just another kid. When I first met Fred*, I wondered if maybe we hadn’t taken on a task that we didn’t have the qualifications to accomplish. Some would call Fred…

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Why it’s Important to Encourage the Weak

Weak at Mile 11 I didn’t feel weak until about mile 11. At that point, I had run as far as my training had taken me last Sunday. The February drizzle and stiff wind had me feeling chilled. Although I only had 2.1 miles left to run, it looked like we’d have to run a long ways still to reach the Cardinal’s stadium. For the past two hours I had been running in my third half-marathon—only this time, I signed…

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Ten Tips for Turning Reluctant Readers into Voracious Readers

What Makes a Reader Reluctant? You might wonder what chasing the FedEx truck has to do with reluctant readers and how the two events relate (and who wants their kid chasing delivery trucks, anyway?). Let me explain. I teach at a private school where 95% of the students are ‘reluctant readers’—mostly because about 95% of them have never owned their own book nor do they have access to a public library. Reading happens at school. From textbooks. When I survey my…

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The Pre-Trip Inspection Keeps Me Safe in More Ways Than One

The Dread Pre-Trip Inspection I didn’t want to do it. Never in my life had I thought, ‘Hey, I want to drive a bus!’ Yet last week I spent hours and hours studying for my Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Six months ago I passed the written portion of the test to get my learner’s permit. The next day I took one look at the pre-trip inspection section of the manual and stopped studying. Our school has a maintenance guy who…

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