About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


While reading Terry McMillan’s Getting to Happy, I came across a passage that resonated with me. On a blind date, one woman asked her male brunch-date the getting-to-know-you-question, “How do you measure happiness?”  His response:

“It’s a feeling of calm that comes from the inside.  When you figure out what’s important.  When you have nothing to prove.  Giving everything you do everything you’ve got and being satisfied, regardless of the outcome.”

I love his reply, and yet it doesn’t at all fit with my job duties.  I’m an elementary school teacher - on paper.  In reality, I’m much more.  I’m mother, nurse, therapist, coach, and cheerleader.  I teach my students as if they were my children; in fact, I constantly refer to them as “my kids.”  I teach each day with 100% of my heart and soul.  Yet, teaching isn’t making me happy.  Because at the end of the day, my value, my skill, my outcome is measured by my students’ test scores.

CST (California Standards Tests) are a big deal.  I tell my students that they’re important, but they are certainly not the most important thing in life.  I tell my students that I’m far less concerned with their test scores than with their character.  Are they honest?  Trustworthy?  Kind?  Loyal?  I told them their friendships will not be determined by their test scores but by their personalities.  

So I try to teach it all.  Character and geometry.  Respect and writing strategies.  Compassion and United States history.  Tolerance and physical science.  

And I celebrate all the little accomplishments.  A child with “impulse-control issues” who can hold it together and participate in a day’s lessons.  A child who easily shuts down and yet attempts all the day’s classwork.  A child who didn’t do an assignment and yet was honest and admitted it to me.

My teaching methods match this character’s definition of happiness.  But at the end of the day, I’m not happy.  Teaching is a profession that doesn’t have a “fixed outcome” at the end of “my shift.”  I often don’t know if I’ve made a difference or gotten through to my students.  And yet I try, each day, over and over again.  At the end of the day, I go home satisfied that I’ve done all I can do.  And yet, the powers that be don’t regard my teaching efforts in that manner.

I will not change who I am, as an individual or a teacher.  But, more and more, I’m wondering if my years in the teaching profession are coming to an end.  I am not happy with the way I am spending the majority of my days and hours.  I would want more for my kids, so why am I settling for less?

Which brings me to another definition of happiness.  After the first character defines happiness, his date replies:  

“When you’re willing to surrender to goodness and you.  Give yourself permission to feel it.  Not holding yourself hostage for making mistakes.  Doing what you love.  Doing for others.  Learning to cherish the beauty of right now.  When you can make yourself smile and laugh without depending on anybody else.”


  1. Honey,
    I know that you give 100% at your job everyday and your school and kids are lucky to have you as a teacher. I fully support you in whatever descision you make regarding your teaching career.
    You make a major impact in those kids lives everyday with your wonderful love and caring ways of teaching.
    I Love You!


  2. You are truly an EXCEPTIONAL teacher and you go above and beyond for the children you are in contact with.You have parents requesting you to have their child in your class and all the children love you.You make a hugh difference in their lives.I don't believe a test score can show anything,as some children will not score well no matter how bright or exceptional they are.You are a remarkable person and you give of yourself to everyone you know.I only wish when you were in school you had at least one teacher who does for their class like you do for yours.I love you and I am very proud of you.My WISH for you is that you one day soon will be pain free and happy.As a parent I only want my children to be happy.

  3. It is quite normal to re-evaluate your career or any task after twelve years. I often do it with my golf and my job. Your Mother and I are impressed with your achivements as a Teacher, Mother, and Wife. What ever the future holds for you, success will follow. You make a difference to your students, your son, your husband, and your parents. We are very proud of you.

    Love, Dad