• Books in library for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley

    Time Travel

    I love teaching for so many reasons, but I get a particular thrill when I hear from a student who I taught long ago. At this point, I have many students who are grown adults with careers and partners and even children of their own. Sometimes my students write me notes or find me on social media, and every once in a while I run into them out in the world. In fact, when I was in labor with Austin ten years ago, I was triaged with another woman who was also in labor. “Ms. Clark?” she asked, using my maiden name from my earliest teaching days, and I turned…

  • Desks in empty classroom like that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Four Years Ago

    (Below is a letter I wrote my first class of senior-level government students. We lived through the election of 2016 together, and the day afterwards, I had them write letters to themselves that I saved for four years. Last week, I sent them those letters, along with this one. It’s been edited for privacy and brevity.) Almost four years ago, on the day after the election, I looked out at all of you from the front of my classroom and I wasn’t quite sure what to say. We were all surprised at how the election had turned out, and I knew there was a lot of emotion in the air.…

  • Students throw caps in air during graduation like that during speech by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Congrats, Graduates of 2020

    Welcome families, friends, teachers, and graduates.  To the class of 2020: thank you for inviting me to speak.  I’m so lucky to be here. Wait – actually, that was the start of last year’s speech, the one where you picked me to be your faculty speaker. This year, you didn’t pick me, but you didn’t pick anyone else either, since the graduation ceremony itself has been pushed back. We can’t even say for certain that it will happen this year. For the first time in many years, I will not watch a group of seniors – kids I’ve loved throughout their high school careers – walk across the graduation stage…

  • Kindergarten classroom similar to that of son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    How Does This Actually Work?

    I re-read the headline three times before I could really process it. “DC students could be in classrooms just 1 or 2 days per week this fall.” I knew this could be coming. I mean, of course there has to be a plan for alternative schooling for next school year. But, um, how does this actually work? Here’s the thing: under this possible plan, DC public school kids would only go to school a few days a week but would continue to learn online the other days. And if I’m following this logic right, that means that teachers would teach in the classroom five days a week and also teach…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley teaches students remotely surrounded by her kids

    This Is Not a Referendum

    I cannot do 5th grade math. I’m not saying this to be dramatic. I simply don’t understand it. I never have, so the role of helping Claire with her math homework fell to my dad when he was here. But now that he’s gone, she just has me. And now that school has been cancelled, I’m her teacher as well as her mom. You’d think I would do okay with this new role. I mean, I am a teacher, so home school should be easy for me, right? Wrong. First of all, I don’t teach elementary school and I never have. So my content knowledge of things like 3rd grade…

  • Graduating class of school where DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley delivered commencement address

    Marjorie’s Graduation Speech

    Welcome families, friends, teachers, and graduates.  To the class of 2019: thank you for inviting me to speak.  I’m so lucky to be here. And so are you.  You made it past this first big finish line: high school graduation.  You wrestled with the complicated history of feminism with Julie. You explored your identity through art with Michelle.  You learned about biogeochemical cycles from CA. And now, you’re getting ready to start the rest of your life. While I’m hopeful for all of you, I can’t predict your future.  I don’t know whether you’ll major in engineering or graphic design.  I don’t know who you’ll marry (or whether you’ll get…