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, February 18, 2015

The Here and Now

“Perhaps we never appreciate the here and now until it is challenged...”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh Gift from the Sea

   If I’m honest, I would say I wasn’t enjoying the last few years of my teaching career the way I had.  The first year or two were exhausting.  I was teaching with an emergency credential, which means I’d teach during the day and take classes at night to earn my full credential.  I was learning how to teach as I was doing it.  And objectively speaking, I know I was a better teacher at the end of my career than I was at the beginning of my career.

   But teaching had changed.  I was being judged by test scores.  Not by the fact that previously violent students were no longer violent.  Not by the fact that non-readers were now readers.  Not by the fact that kids were taking an interest in their school, cleaning up messes they hadn’t made.  No, my worth as a teacher was being based on how well my students bubbled in a multiple-choice test.

   Yet, I never would have left my teaching career if I didn’t have to.  I would have stuck it out.  Because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.  I asked for this career.  I signed up voluntarily, and there were parts I absolutely loved and whole-heartedly miss.  

   But, not working has provided me with the opportunity to have another way of spending my days.  For instance, most Friday mornings I volunteer in my son’s first grade classroom.  It’s a slightly odd, uncomfortable feeling, being on the other side of the desk.  I do it for my son who asked me to volunteer like some of the other parents.  I do it for his teacher because I know how exhausting this job is.  

   On one recent Friday, I volunteered, and then took myself to a nearby park.  I drank a coffee, read a book, did some writing.  I breathed deeply, marveled at the trees, listened to the nearby fountain.  I walked a few laps.  I felt peaceful.  

   It was then that I realized how I used to spend my Friday mornings with my fifth-grade students.  Testing them on their week’s spelling and vocabulary words.  Testing them on the week’s reading selection.  Testing them on the states and capitals they were learning.  A lot of testing for them, a lot of papers to grade for me. 

   When I was teaching, my energies went to my students, my son, my husband, and myself (in that order).  I didn’t value myself enough to slow down, to do things that made me happy, to stop putting everyone else’s well-being before my own.

   But now, I spend my Fridays at a different pace.  It’s not so clear-cut as to say that one way is better than another.  My new lifestyle also involves a lot of physical pain -- it’s the price I pay for less stressful days, and the only reason I am no longer teaching.

   But at the same time, this new schedule has given me the opportunity to re-invent myself in a way and take care of myself and my family in a way I couldn’t have done before.

“We are now ready for a true appreciation of the value of the here and the now and the individual.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh Gift from the Sea


  1. I know it was very hard for you to give up your teaching career.It was something your dr.wanted you to do for sometime.You were an excellent teacher.You went above and beyond for your students.I wish when you were in school you would have had some tachers like yourself.You had parents requesting their child be in your class.Since you are no longer teaching I really hope you will be taking better care of yourself.I love you and I am proud of you.

  2. The children you taught were very lucky to have you for their teacher. Your mother & I are proud of you.
    Love, dad

  3. Honey,
    You were an incredible teacher and you should be proud of the impact you made in these children's lives. I Love You!!!!