The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Katie Gates Writes

        I follow a number of blogs.  Sometimes too many for my feeble mind to keep up with.  Some of the blogs I follow are gut-bustingly funny.  Some are serious and introspective. Some are teaching blogs. Some are writing ones.

         However, I am never disappointed when Katie has a new post.  Today's is a gem.

          If you are 50-something, you remember bench seats--front and back--in cars.  No seat belts, which meant corners involved some sliding at times.  It was a time when mothers dropped their kids off at the toy department at Target, and the kids were safe wandering the aisles until mom was ready to check out.  

         Although it was a different way of life then, now that we are 50- or 60-something, we are now the middle of the "sandwich."  Some of us have children and grandchildren. Some don't.  Some are lucky enough to still have their elderly parents with them. Some are not.

         Read Katie's post.  It's entitled "The Distance From Our Corners." She can say it so much better than I can... 

(Katie's novel, The Somebody Who, would appeal to anyone who has older parents or anyone who hopes to be able to enjoy their parents when they become elderly.  She generously has quite a few excerpts on her blog to pique your interest.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Magpie Tale

      Thanks to Magpie Tales, there is a photo or drawing every Tuesday to prod you into writing.  Check out the site for many, many interesting takes.

      Here is mine:

          Dark song,
          with low, disconnected chords
          played out with a halting limp.

          A dirge.
          A hymn to play
          to honor the dead.

          The past is gone,
          and life as we know it
          will never return...

What Teachers REALLY Do on Snow Days

         My students think I get disappointed when school is not in session.  When I tell them at dismissal, "We might not have school tomorrow--so sad--and if that's the case, you will have extra time to..."

        I add a wink in when I express how regretful I will be if we get a snow day.  My brighter kids get my true intentions before the wink even happens.  Some of my slower kids try to argue with me, telling me they think it would be great if school was called off. 

        Don't get me wrong.  I enjoyed our holiday break.  I would have loved to have another few days tacked onto it, but I was genuinely glad to see my kids when January 3rd rolled around.

        However, snow days are another thing...

        Snow days are like a gift from the gods.  They are an unexpected day to do...whatever.  Snow days are a nod from above, telling us 'We know you lead too hectic of a life, so here's a span of time, and life as you know it is suspended for one whole day.'

photo by Wowpictures

       This is what my students probably think I do when I am not at school:
  • use sharpie markers to make the circles under my eyes darker
  • comb the hair (gray!) that has the ambition to become a full-blown mustache
  • practice my broom-flying skills
  • devise new ways to torture them through writing and math assignments
      However, when this morning rolled around, the possibility did not look too hopeful. At 3:30, the snow did not look too deep.  Would there be enough inches on the ground to cancel school?  Or, would I have to drag myself to work, surly, because I had counted my snow day before it had hatched arrived?

       This is what I really did this morning:

4:00 A.M.  Turned on the TV, even though the "real" (main") closings don't begin until an hour later. 
4:02  Switched channels several times.  No mention yet...Went back to sleep.
5:00  Turned on the TV again.  After looking at several channels, I have the schools--the ones that are close alphabetically to my district-- memorized, and when mine is skipped over, I groan.
5:00-5:19  Kept changing the channel on the TV, trying to find the station that would deliver the good news first.
5:20  I see my district's name at the bottom of the TV screen.
5:20:2  I scream and jump into the air.
5:21  I watch again, to make sure it was not a mirage.
5:22  I call the teacher "below" me on the phone chain, and then I call several other teachers (just because I want to share the good news).  
5:25  Hug the dogs extra tightly, and tell them what a fun day it is going to be for them.
5:30-7:00  Read "The Help" until I only have 70 more pages til the end.  I decide that will be my afternoon "treat."
7:00 Shout at my (now awake) husband:  "No school today!"  He rolls his eyes, mutters something under his breath, and tries to escape my squealing and shrieking.

Later on in the day, I ate a few things (nothing bad, which was miraculous), did some knitting, did a session of our new exercise program (only lasted for 30 minutes; the hour was impossible to even contemplate) and finished "The Help."

photo by Christina007

       So tomorrow, unless we get a bunch more snow dumped on us tonight, we'll be back in school.  We'll have our normal routine, and that's a good thing, because I'm glad to have the 25 kids I have. I'm grateful for the job I have.  But I definitely enjoyed this day of playing hooky...

photo by Shutterbee by Liz


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Legalize Freedom

photo by kameraurmel

          My friend "M" * works in a school as a teacher.  As all teachers are overwhelmed these days with state testing pressure and crazy parents and (occasionally) lazy colleagues, faculty meetings are not fun.

        Imagine you are a lobster, put in (still alive) into a pot of boiling water.  That's what it's like being a teacher these days...

       During a recent staff meeting, the principal spoke of how they "journaled" during administrative meetings.  This particular principal writes in their notebook to calm down.  They write things down so they don't say them aloud during the meeting.

      When the principal recounted this, "M" said she journals as well during our faculty meetings.  (I should tell you that "M" is very religious.  Probably "spiritual" is a better adjective.  She is not one of those people who goes to church but then treats people in an unkind fashion.  She is a gentle soul who constantly tries to reach out to others, she bends over backwards to avoid offending anyone. "M" is the kind of person who always tries to make allowances for people's boorish behavior, by examining what they might be going through.  She has had many obstacles in her own life, and her faith is an integral part of who she is.)

       Unfortunately, "M's" best friend is "R,"  who is a heathen.  "R" goes out of her way to offend people who are boorish.  She is intolerant of those who are lazy or those who whine or those who hate kids but continue to work with kids or...The list goes on for quite a while. 

       Anway, at the end of the staff meeting, a colleague asked "M" if she would mind reading what she had just written in her journal, knowing what a kind and gentle person "M" is.  Perhaps this would help uplift the faculty, after all the twice-monthly doom and gloom we get heaped on us...

       "M" obliged.  Horrors!  The "G" word was mentioned.  Heaven help us!  Jesus' name might have been uttered.  Anyway, it was just one person's thoughts and beliefs.

        The next day, the poop hit the rotating ceiling paddles.  Another colleague was "offended." 

        Now, if someone was offended by "R," that would not have surprised anyone.  That happens on an hourly basis.  But offended by "M" was shocking to most.

          Was the offended Buddhist?
          Do they belong to a Wicca group?  (not sure how to word that...sorry.)
          Are they Muslim?
          Are they atheist?
         Are they agnostic?

        "R" was not sure, but it was none of her business.  "M" wrote up a little apology and gave a copy to each staff member.

       A few days later, it was "M" and "R's" turn to cook chili for everyone, along with their two grade-level colleagues.

      Since "R" does not eat red meat, she made meatless chili.  Not wanting to offend, she wrote a sign and taped it in front of the crockpot.

       This is meatless chili.  I embrace the no-red meat lifestyle.  I hope I am not offending anyone by offering this chili for your consumption.  I am not expecting you to embrace my lifestyle.  I am not making you enjoy this meatless chili.  I am not physically forcing you to consume it.  It is just here if you care to partake..."

       The principal refolded the sign, so all that showed was "This is meatless chili." Apparently someone was offended yet again...

photo by LoveVickyx

Initials are used to protect the guilty (in the case of "R") and the innocent (in the case of "M").

Welcome to my newest follower, Kayenta.  I don't know much about her, but she has started following several teaching blogs. Kayenta--I follow a few educational blogs myself. Check them out, and thanks for following...