1. msjailew

    Long Distance


    In 8 weeks

    1 taxi ride – Beilun to Ningbo airport

    2 flights – one to Hong Kong, one to New York

    1 taxi ride – JFK to Harlem

    16 days

    innumerable moments filled with





    comfortable silence

    And then

    1 taxi ride – Harlem to JFK…

  2. msjailew

    Students Make me Smile


    Picking noses

    Blowing spit bubbles

    Screaming YEAH when they guess the mystery word

    Splayed out on the floor working on math problems

    Inventing games with glue sticks, pencils and toy cars

    Sharing books and laughing out loud over books

    Yelling out YES when they see we’re reading Captain Underpants together…

  3. msjailew

    Old School Teaching


    In my current classroom we don’t have one-to-one iPads. There is only one computer available to students in the classroom. Despite the VPN, there are still websites that take their time to download. We don’t use Gonoodle to exercise. We don’t use SeeSaw or any other portfolio or documenting app. …

  4. msjailew

    Morning Breakfast


    I love food.

    I love to eat.

    I do not diet although I do try to think about health and fitness. Sometimes.

    That being said, my latest venture into making myself at home here in China has been tasting new quick breakfast spots.

    The way that things are set up …

  5. msjailew



    Saturday market day and morning run

    Sunday morning run, exploratory strolls, and do it yourself pedicures

    Monday yoga

    Tuesday morning run

    Wednesday P90x

    Thursday morning run

    Friday P90x

    I am slowly creating rituals and routines for my life here in Beilun, China. Every year that I teach abroad I recognize …

  6. msjailew

    I’m a Runner


    I’m a runner.

    Not because I own fancy running shoes. Not because I run long miles. Not because I’m fast. Not because I own a pair of high priced running shoes, I don’t.

    I’m a runner because I I put one foot in front of the other and move faster …

  7. msjailew

    The Witches are right


    Little kids do smell.

    So maybe I’m a witch.

    Good witch or bad?

    Or maybe none.

    Just a regular household witch who understands that children smell.

  8. msjailew

    That one student


    There’s always that one student. The one that you find yourself going home and thinking about. How do I get him to get it? How do I get her to understand? Why won’t she follow directions? Why doesn’t he listen? How do you not show how much they get on …

  9. msjailew

    Tuesday – It’s only day 2 and I’m tired


    It’s only Tuesday and I’m already tired. Wow!

    Every day that I go home after a day in the classroom I reminded of a moment with my sister. My sister has been teaching for over 25 years. I recall a day, walking into her home and her sitting at the …

  10. msjailew

    Sundays at home


    Some Sundays there is nothing better than spending the day at home.

    A list of Sunday:

    Awake Read – Breath, Eyes Memory – Edwidge Danticat Meditate Mindless Internet searches Write Paint Doodle 2048 Game Mop Eat – grapes, cherries, bold eggs, grapefruit Drink – water, water, water Laundry Read –…
  11. msjailew

    Market Street and Tai chi


    I wake up at 5:00am to meditate and then I go for a jog. My jog takes me down market street, across a 4 lane highway, over a bridge and to a park. I love my morning jog because it’s a time when most of Beilun is asleep, or if …

  12. msjailew



    As I walk down the street and look at signs filled with Chinese characters

    As I go in and out of grocery stores and corner stores without being able to read a single label

    As I stand in line waiting my turn to get a sim card for my phone …

  13. msjailew

    Jet Lag Crash


    If you’ve ever flown across time zones then you know what this is:

    My head aches

    It pounds

    My eyelids flutter, desparately trying to stay open

    Legs like lead

    Jaws involuntarily clenching

    Shoulders somehow tight and drooping

    Brain swimming in a fog

    I have no memory of what was said …

  14. msjailew

    Medical Check


    On the second day of my return to international teaching I got to experience the Chinese medical check. This is something that all foreigners must do in order to complete their visa. Here are the steps:

    Arrive to the dedicated hospital specifically for the purposes of doing medical checks. Get…
  15. msjailew

    Blood pudding with Mr.D


    You were there from kindergarten to college graduation.

    yet strangely, I never called you dad,

    you were always Mr. D.

    We shared no more than polite greetings,

    good mornings and good afternoons, pass the salt please.

    And then your friends came with cut up pieces of beef after the slaughtering …

  16. msjailew



    Happiness right now is having friends who care about me enough to let me sleep in their beds for weeks. Happiness right now is having random conversations with strangers that lead to laundry cards with extra money on it. YEAH! That’s an extra 16 minutes to dry my clothes.

  17. msjailew

    Missing Days – Rededication


    Last year was my first year doing the Slice of Life Challenge. I think I may have missed one day but hey, I was working full time AND pursuing a master’s degree in leadership AND adjusting to life in a new country.

    This year, I have missed three days and …

  18. msjailew



    I love weekends.

    Getting up whenever I feel like.

    Quiet in the weight room at the gym.

    Buying fruits and vegetables.

    Preparing my meals for the week.


    Scrambled eggs, home fries with chunks of onion and bell pepper, 4 slices of bacon.

    Roaming aimlessly.

    And this weekend, there was …

  19. msjailew



    Conversation between me and B.

    Me: “What level are you reading at in school now?”

    B: “An E or F I think.”

    Me: “Wow, you’ve been working really hard. All the way from a B to an E!”

    B: “Yeah, I test on level B, then C, then my teacher …

  20. msjailew



    I know, teaching is challenging work, it is difficult work, it is more than anyone who hasn’t taught could possibly imagine. I know.

    I also know that teaching has its perks.

    Last year I decided to walk away from the classroom. I wanted to finally take the break that I’ve …

  21. msjailew




    Spring is coming.

    I can tell by the birds chirping on my fire escape.

    Winter coats being held in hands.

    And the smile that’s finally made its way to my lips.

  22. msjailew

    Artificial light


    Florescent bulbs all lined up in a row, I do not like you.

    My eyes burn from your artificial intensity.

    Shoulders slump, back curves, jaw tightens.

    Is there real light out there?

    Will the Sun still be up when I leave your ever watchful presence over me?

    Do those windows …

  23. msjailew

    Monday Morning


    Good morning Monday,

    I woke to you, swung my leg over the side of the bed and felt the pain shoot up to my hip. I limped my way to the bathroom and performed my morning ablutions. Wash face, brush teeth, and well, you know. I limped back into the …

  24. msjailew

    After accepting


    Phone calls and emails

    Scanned documents and fingerprint cards

    Background checks, reference checks and employment checks

    Passport photos, apostilled diplomas, and transcripts

    What do I need? What will I leave? Will it all fit in 2 bags and a carry on?

    And will I ever see him again when I …

  25. msjailew

    Fridays lead to Saturday


    Friday Night

    Crab claws Shrimp Coconut Milk Ginger Curry Tumeric Red Pepper Flakes Garlic White Wine House of Cards Comforter Sleep Saturday morning Run Squat Yoga Cause I don't want all that coconut milk, shrimp, and wine to settle.

  26. msjailew

    In Transition


    What can I write about?

    I am currently a literacy specialist with a non-profit organization in the Bronx. I work with K-2 students who are a grade level behind in reading and writing. My students love to read and learn about anything. They stumble most when it comes time to …

  27. msjailew

    Second Shift Literacy


    It’s the end of the second shift, 5pm to 7pm.

    My eyes are weary. My shoulders are tight.

    My mouth is dry. My heels hurt.




    And children went home with books, smiles, and laughter.


    And satisfied.

  28. msjailew

    New York Summer – semi interrupted free write


    A different kind of New Yorker doesn’t stay in the city when the summer comes. Too hot. Too sticky. Too stinky. Too many people in the streets. Too many fire hydrants turned on and forgotten about. Too many children in the street. Those New Yorkers remove themselves to summer places …

  29. msjailew

    Sometimes I need a nap


    I’m sitting in an adventure sports office in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. My friend and I have walked and cycled here from our cozy ecolodge and we’re about to book a sandboarding lesson. I start to cry. Silently. Tears just start rolling down my face and I’m reaching under …

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