A fashionable Friday night.

Lake at NightMike has gone skiing with our youth group, so I am on my own this weekend. Unfortunately, I have developed a bit of a cold. I am hoping it’s nothing more serious than that. I have had a low-grade fever for the past couple of days. So the exciting Friday night at my house consists of the Olympics, hot tea, and Girl Scout cookies. Also I am wearing my pajamas and a scarf. I am very fashionable in that way.

I am not going to go on and on again about how much I love the Olympics, but even though I wasn’t as captivated by the figure skating this year (the new scoring system takes so much of the fun and grace out of it), I was particularly moved by Joannie Rochette, the Canadian skater who lost her mother just before the games. Obviously she has an amazing inner strength, but I also felt as if every person in that room (including me on my couch in my pajamas and scarf) was willing her to land those jumps. The Olympics are big, but there was something even bigger going on. There have been some great moments in these Olympics, but I imagine her skate is the one I will remember.

I was also impressed with Johnny Weir’s press conference after some Canadian TV announcers made some jokes that perhaps he should skate with the women instead and perhaps he should be tested to prove that he’s a man. Instead of asking for an apology, he chose to call attention to the fact that they said those things and to ask them to think before they speak for the sake of young people who just want to express who they are. I appreciate that perspective and his insistence that they think about the power of their words. I saw a young man crying this morning because he did not want to be made fun of for being smart, so this is an issue that is on my mind. I want my students to be able to express themselves through school and sports and art and music and words and even feathers (like Weir) or ballet (like Billy Elliot) if that’s what they want. Thanks to Weir for articulating that in such a thoughtful manner.

I have been working with a couple of classes on projects on the Holocaust, and one of the topics that has come up was the Armenian genocide. I never learned about it during school myself. In fact, I learned about it from, of all people, Charla and Mirna on The Amazing Race. So I have taken that opportunity to help my students see why we spend so much time focusing on the Holocaust, because it happened before and we did forget, very quickly. One student has been particularly engrossed with the Rwandan genocide, and I have pointed him in the direction of some of the resources I encountered when I was studying that topic for myself.

This was a long week, which is something I imagine I say every year at the end of February. With all the snow, I think everyone will agree with me if I go ahead and declare that, this year, February was the cruellest month. But doing good work with students, telling them that they should be proud of themselves, and pushing them to explore new things prove that even February and a nagging cold cannot completely keep me down.

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