Beatitude (Supreme Blessedness)


Today was the fourth day of summer school (I’m teaching a 2nd and 3rd grade combo class).  We hadn’t even gotten to the fun stuff yet (math Bingo with M&Ms and vocabulary skits) when one second grader beamed and said, “I love summer school!”

What part?” I asked.

“All of it!”

Her gratitude was intense and contagious. Other students murmured in agreement. Summer school is the bomb. 

She could have complained about waking up, getting dressed and going to school.

She could have dreaded doing math (again).

She could have complained and compared herself to other kids who are going on vacations to California and beyond.

But she was completely present. She was 100% here with 16 other kids and me and we had a great time.


Don’t Overestimate the Power of Review



A couple weeks ago, I taught my 5th graders how to diagram sentences. We started out very simple. They liked it, because it was kind of like geometry in English class. Basically, students were to separate the subject from the verb and create dangling shelves for modifiers. After practicing ten sentences, we started our literature study and left diagramming off to the side.

On their vocabulary test today, I decided to be generous and offer extra credit for diagramming a very simple sentence related to our literary study, The Sign of the Beaver. Here are two responses:


Where’s the other woman?



I’m speechless.


When Your Past Comes Back to…

We were walking on our daughter’s high school campus during Open House. The schedule was set up as a truncated school day: we were to follow the students’ schedules and meet each teacher for six minutes. We were given five minutes between each class. Willey and I were a bit overwhelmed and we realized how Josie  (our first high school child)  must have felt on her first day: the buildings so far apart, the time to get to each so limited. It was also over 100 degrees outside, even though it was 6pm.

“Mrs. Chung-Wipff?”

I turned around. I didn’t see anyone I recognized. A petite “helper” student walked toward me. (The high school had arranged to have some juniors and seniors assist parents). I searched the girl’s face. And suddenly, I recognized her. Same cute nose and adorable freckles.

I taught Taryn second and third grade. It was the only time I looped in teaching, carrying my entire class over to a second year. It was over eight years ago. When I said goodbye to that class, it felt like I was saying goodbye to my own children. One girl, Taryn, was moving to Utah. She had an angel face and greeted me every day with an enormous smile and the best attitude! She – and the others – made me a better teacher. She and I wept together on the last day of school. I was surprised at the amount of emotion we had. I was going to miss her so much!

And here she was!

I can’t believe she remembers me, I thought. As if she could read my mind, she said, “I can’t believe you remember me, after teaching so many kids!”


No matter what your profession, you must realize that your kindness, love and attention mean the world to someone in your life. It can affect others for years to come, you just never know.