By Suzan Kurdak on April 17th, 2017
My mom was blessed with the baking and hospitality gene. As far back as I can recall, she loved to play hostess—still does, and when people come over, she has a quiet way of honoring them and making them feel special. It shows in the details, from a sparkling clean house to using the good dishes and serving delectable treats.
I remember my mom volunteered to be the class mom for Mrs. Kast’s second grade class in New York. I glowed whenever she’d come into my classroom to drop off some cut outs for a project we were working on, or when she’d bring in homemade cupcakes for a class party. And while I just thought I had the coolest mom in the world, she had sneakily found a way to stay connected to me during the school day.
By Suzan Kurdak on March 24th, 2017
Chances are that if you ask someone if they’d rather have dental work done or speak in front of an audience, that person will probably have to take a moment to think about it.
According to many studies, the idea of speaking in public or making a presentation ranks extremely high on the anxiety scale.
Along those lines, we’ve heard from many of our students that they are apprehensive when it comes to their discussion-based assessment, commonly known as a DBA. For those not familiar with the DBA, it is a verbal conversation between a student and teacher to discuss what he/she has learned in the modules.
If this is you, you can take some comfort in the simple fact you are not alone.
Have you ever watched someone talk in public and think, “Man, they are great—so relaxed and natural. I wish I could speak like that.” While it’s true that some have a natural gift for gab and their conversations seem effortless, it is quite possible that they had to learn to overcome their nervousness. Speaking professionally in a public setting, is a skill that must be developed and fine-tuned. And this takes time.
Here’s a secret… Continue reading
By Suzan Kurdak on January 11th, 2017
When my son was just three years old, he came very close to being swept away at sea. I wish this was an understatement.
My family and I were visiting our aunt and uncle who lived on Hutchinson Island during the winter. It was a comfortable December day and we strolled out to the beach to walk along the shoreline and see the ocean. There was no intent to go swimming. Maybe I didn’t make that clear enough to my toddler; he didn’t listen to mommy about not going into the water.
Taking off our shoes and putting our feet in was fine, but he quickly darted farther out—the receding tide was deceptive. I literally lunged toward him just in time to grab his tiny arm as a massive wave toppled over us both. I was knocked off my feet and completely submerged, doing my best to hoist him upward to where I believed the sky was.
Ah, I still get a shiver at the thought of what would’ve happened if I hadn’t been able to secure him in time. Continue reading
By Suzan Kurdak on November 11th, 2016
And I’m proud to be an American…
…where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the ones who died who gave that right to me. And I’ll gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God Bless the USA. – Lee Greenwood, Songwriter
I am proud to be an American. There is no doubt in my mind that we live in the greatest country in the world. We are very fortunate to enjoy many liberties. We are free, and I for one, am very thankful for my freedom.
On this Veterans Day, as our nation decompresses from a highly contentious race to the White House, let us celebrate this historic day by honoring the brave men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Continue reading
By Suzan Kurdak on June 30th, 2016
The countdown is over and summer is now in full swing!
Can you hear the rejoicing cries of school-age children saying “no more alarm clocks,” “no teachers,” and “woohoo, no homework!”
Ask students what they want to do as they’re just beginning to submerge themselves in summer-break mode and more than likely you’ll get answers like: relax, watch TV, see movies, go to the beach, and chill with friends. Continue reading
By Suzan Kurdak on May 31st, 2016
Can I get a “same here” in agreement—or was this just my experience?
While high school wasn’t horrible for me, my time there seemed to drag on like a never-ending prison sentence, with additional time added just for being an awkward teen. We moved five times between 8th and 12th grade; three of those times to different geographical regions in Florida.
It sure would have been wonderful to keep pace and consistency going from one school to the next… Continue reading
By Suzan Kurdak on March 29th, 2016
It’s a beautiful word. It means having options and being able to select an alternative for something that works for you.
Whether you’re male or female, if you live in the United States, you have a choice—where to live, what to eat, and what to do with your life.
Opportunities exist in this country like none other. We can choose our religion, our education, our life partner, our president, and what livelihood we wish to pursue. In many other countries around the world, these choices are made for you. Continue reading
By Suzan Kurdak on December 29th, 2015
I have a confession to make. There are some people I simply do not get along with. There, I said it. Notice I didn’t say I hate these people, but the honest truth is that sometimes I can only handle them in small doses.
I equate it to my love of chocolate. Two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, awesome! Two pounds of Reese’s in one sitting, not such a smart idea.
While this may sound harsh, I’ve accepted it as my mental reality and that’s not a bad thing. There are just certain people with personalities that I do not feel mesh well with mine.
I have another confession. Continue reading
By Suzan Kurdak on November 21st, 2015
And, that our stories matter. Whether you’re a student, parent, grandparent, teacher, homemaker, hairstylist, or CEO, your story is important and only you can tell it.
Did you know that it’s been estimated that 81 percent of Americans say they dream of being an author? That’s roughly 200 million people! I admit I am one of the 200 million, and it’s been a long road, but I will be publishing my book this year.
Have you ever thought of writing a book but didn’t know how to start? Continue reading
By Suzan Kurdak on October 22nd, 2015
This is one of several posts celebrating Connected Educator Month during the month of October. October 20th is National Day on Writing and we are joining The National Council of Teachers of English to celebrate how writing helps us connect. Join the #WhyIWrite and #CE15 discussions on Twitter to share your thoughts!
I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. How lucky I was to find this out about myself while still in school!
You see, after reading a poem I wrote, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Kast, said to me “Suzan, you’re a writer.”
I still remember those words of encouragement, although that is now thirty-something years ago. That praise not only boosted my spirit, it stuck with me my whole life. I began to create, theme, and express myself in many different styles of writing. My friends knew I would always carry paper and pen wherever I went, because you never know when creativity will strike! Continue reading