The world is a lot different now then it was when I was a kid. We certainly weren’t as coddled then as children are today. In fact, when I was growing up I was pretty well certain that The Grownups Wanted Us Dead. And when they weren’t trying to kill us, we were trying to kill each other. Pretty much anything could be pressed into service as a weapon, and the more ordinary and routine it was — like Tea Time — the better it’s potential for mayhem.
Every time I think I ‘ve had it and could easily kiss teaching good-bye, something happens to remind me why I do what I do. The other day the mother of a former student stopped by to tell me she’d checked into enrolling her daughter in my class next year, only to be told I might not be here. I confirmed that I plan to be gone. She wanted to know if I could wait one more year — or if she could transfer her daughter to where I am going. That was very uplifting.
All the wonderful comments that I received from you folk on my last post helped warm my heart and ease some of my frustrations. Brig went so far as to write an entire post honoring me and her 2nd grade teacher. There are people who care.
One of my former students stopped by today — the son of the woman who wanted to put her daughter in my class for next year. He said, “Mom told me you are moving and that’s messed up. You can’t be all leaving me!”
I said, “Last time I checked, you’d left me. Aren’t you in middle school now?”
He raised his hands and shook his head, “Yeah, but, see, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. I go on to do great things, but I know you’re always back here waiting for me if I need you or anything.”
I told him I wasn’t any farther away then his email. “Email!” He snorted, “That’s just messed up!” And that’s when he hugged me. Then he said good-bye and I pretended I didn’t see the tears in his eyes.
I love my students. And they love me. That’s why my teaching makes a difference, and as long as I’m making a difference, I will teach.
For anyone dreaming of becoming a teacher for the cushy hours and summers off, I’d like to suggest you reconsider. Yes, I am given weekends off, but don’t think that means I don’t work. It just means I don’t get paid. Deadlines are deadlines. Yes, I am given national holidays off, but that doesn’t mean I don’t work. It just means I don’t get paid. Deadlines are deadlines.
And that summer I get off? It takes the first several weeks to quit drooling and trembling. I snap awake in the mioddle of the night in panic over some imaginary un-met deadline. Then I relax for a week, maybe two, and suddenly it is time to start gearing up to go back. On average, teachers start the school year about a week and a half before the time clock actually starts ticking.
Teachers are expected to teach while they are in the classroom. We are actively engaged with the students. Btw, that’s one teacher to 30 or so students — and we are expected to have them all doing the same thing, at the same time, while behaving like saints, despite the fact that their parents can’t get one or perhaps two of them to sit still for 5 minutes and do their homework each evening.
Paper grading and lesson planning is done pretty much on our own time. And all that time we give for free — and the fact that we work very closely all day with the one thing that parents should value most in all the world — for the most part earns us only contempt.
I need a vacation, but I have report cards due right after Spring Break. Sigh.
OC is forever comparing his blog stats to mine and wailing about his lack of popularity. I chide him a bit, and tell him it is because of the T word. You know, the one we all try to avoid: Think! So that really makes what I am about to say next incredibly ironic:
On Monday, Silverneurotic awarded me with The Thinking Blogger Award. She said some very flattering things about me, and asked me to pass on the award to five other deserving blogs.
Here are my selections:
First, because it was first in my blogging line up of blogs that make me think, I nominate, Waking Ambrose. The host of Waking Ambrose is a curmudgeony Dawg who goes by the name Doug. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays he channels Ambrose Bierce and challenges his readers to redefine words from Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. You have to be on your toes to keep up with this crowd. At WA, the comments are the place to be.
Wednesdays this year are potpourri. Some days we get fables. Often we get poetry. We’ve even gotten memes. On the weekends, the Dawg corrals a collection of words and presents his readers with a story — both oral and written. This year Doug’s wonderful stories are being read by the guests who frequent his blogs. One of my favorite stories is here: ( An Honest Man). Listen to the audio and see if you can figure out why.
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Second, I nominate, Belle of the Brawl — always a first class lady — because her blog came second in my line up of blogs that make me think. BotB, hosted by Sar, explores todays hot topics in a no holds barred, yet somehow civilized way. Sar, a busy wife, mother and college student, isn’t posting as often as she used to, but she hasn’t lost her ability to stir the embers of controvery. Take a look at, Do Ask, Do Tell, and see what I mean. Like WA, the comments are the place to be on this blog.
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Third, I nominate Dr. John, of The Fortress. Dr. John’s blog is a lot of fun, but he is a retired pastor (and as I’m sure you know, pastors never really retire) and often he has insightful kernals of Biblical widom that enlighten without preaching. Dr. John is a regular kind of guy living out and sharing his faith with humor and joy. He hosts Leave a Comment Monday, and everyday he highlights a new blog, often sending traffic to visit — and comment — on the site of someone he doesn’t even know. Dr. John also has a little town that lives in his garage, and everyday he relates the events in the lives of the citizens of said town.
* * * Last, but definately the favorite of my favorites, I nominate, O’Ceallaigh’s Fellofatruck Publications. This blog provides an eclectic diet of humor, political commentary, humor, science, humor, personal reflections and humor. If you want to laugh while having your consciousness raised, Fellofatruck Publications is definitely the blog to read.
Every Sunday OC takes a well-worn word, and defines it in new and insightful ways. Some of my favorites include: dock, imagination, melancholy and vocabulary. Wednesdays OC usually expounds or laments some current state of world affairs or politics. On rare occasions he opens up and shares bits of himself, like his two part story of learning to ride a bike (one, two); or his fear of land crabs. Just recently he has added the Three Dot Friday column. These are easily my favorite posts to read, though the one that especially touched me was Three Dot Friday IV, because of the piquaint and revealing last paragraph.
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The participation rules are simple:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.
I am sucking down a venti Starbucks Mocha and wondering why I didn’t stick to my first reaction when OC announced he was going to be in town for about 16 hours on his way to Hawaii — I told him I hoped he’d like the plastic chairs at the airport. Of course, I didn’t mean it, but for a few moments this morning I wondered if I should have. Then I realized my mistake wasn’t in picking OC up yesterday afternoon, it was in taking him back to the airport this morning.
Now, at 6:10 a.m., having been awake for three hours (after sleeping only 4) and having driven to the airport and back already this morning, all I want is to curl up in my nice warm bed and go to sleep. Isn’t going to happen. In about 30 minutes I have to go to work — plus it’s day ten of the instruction cycle and a Tuesday — so I have a hectic day ahead. Today I teach teachers, teach students and tutor afterschool. I am also supposed to go to my weight-loss class tonight, but that is going to depend on how I feel about driving at the end of this work day. I might just roll home to bed.
Update: 6:40 a.m.
For those of you bouncing back and forth between the comments on OC’s blog and mine, he just phoned me from the airport. He was on the plane, and said they’d ask him to hang up the phone any second, but he just wanted to let me know he is house broken, he just doesn’t know his way around my house yet. I assured him I’d introduce him to the sink and the garbage can when he comes back this way. Pft.