The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Life of a Teacher

         As a third grade teacher, I am hugged daily. I am given homemade cookies(that look suspiciously like a bite has been taken out of them--probably just quality control at work, I imagine) that have been carried in their hands, without any plastic bag or food wrapper. I have had students lovingly share their stickers by patting one onto my shirt (which I only remembered--too late--when I went to a neighborhood copy center and pranced around, getting strange looks when the other customers and the employees looked at my chestal region (which is way above the "nether regions," one of Val's favorite phrases).

      My kids want to learn how to become more proficient readers. They want to become more capable with their math skills. That's the big picture. But every day, what they fight and fret over daily are things like this:

  • Special pencils. In our class we have a communal pencil container. At the beginning of the year, everyone   most of the students some of the students bring in several boxes of pencils. Every morning, I sharpen 8 dozen pencils. At lunch, I resharpen them, because apparently my classroom was invaded by a gang of marauding beavers.  My students form relationships with pencils they deem special. There is "Crimper," a pencil that has had the eraser part modified. The eraser is gone, but the top of the metal part has been crimped tightly shut. This makes the pencil suitable for many purposes. There is also "Two Points." A pencil much in demand, this pencil--although only two inches long--has two points. Each end is sharp and ready...There is also "Chewbaca." From all appearances, the colored coating has been chewed/peeled off, revealing a smooth, beige wood surface.

  • Getting to use the tall water fountain instead of the short one. When we come back from PE, we stop and get a drink. There are two water fountains--one for taller kids/adults and one for the shorter students. Jockeying in line, to guarantee drinking from the taller one is crucial to their existence...

  • Getting at the front of the line to go to lunch. At recess, many of the students get in line 5-10 minutes early, and just stand there, waiting for the whistle to blow, just so they can be "first." Of course, they are worrying needlessly. The cafeteria ladies never run out of corn dogs...
       There are other life-or-death battles fought every day, but I will stop here. However, if you want to get a glimpse into what high school teachers deal with, go to this post. This hillbilly teacher is a hoot!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good Intentions

         Last Friday I had a sleep study done. A number of years ago (8? 10?) I had had one done initially. My snoring is notorious, and has been the case since I was a teenager and rail-thin, so fat is not the only issue (although it is exacerbated by the layer of lard I've become so fond of). Over the years, I've gotten used to the CPAP machine--with the long hose that accompanies it--but my doctors felt I needed to be "recalibrated."

         If you've never had the pleasure, they hook you up, using a gross of electrodes. You're in a room with a comfortable bed, a television, a tiny restroom. Oh, you have to void?  Don't forget to take along your huge "box" of electrical something-or-others, that keeps all the electrodes straight. That is, until they hook you up for real...After that, you'll have to get permission to pee.

         And then, they give people (who have paid for their admission tickets) access to the "observation room," where the techs are sitting, monitoring the studies and the cameras. You think you're safe, because it's dark? Don't get too secure--they have special cameras that can see everything despite the darkness, kind of like those night-vision goggles worn in "Silence of the Lambs." Popcorn is nibbled on, slushies are slugged, and everyone in the audience gets to laugh at the varied and hilarious snoring that goes on...

         They ask you what time you want to go to sleep. I said "between 10 and 11, and probably more like 11." That's the case every Friday evening. I have great intentions of staying up, because sometimes, I can sleep past 5 on Saturday morning. The idea of kicking up my heels and being up late is thrilling. However, my body is rarely able to fulfill those intentions. Usually, around 9:30 or so I'm drooling and snoring on the couch, missing out on all the wild antics I had planned. I've gone all week without enough sleep; my body finally crashes...

         And this was a normal Friday night. Somewhere before the clock had struck ten, I had already snorted myself awake. The technician came rushing in, and gave me the officiall hook-up. Within minutes, I was asleep.

        So it is with my writing. I have good intentions to live a more writerly life. I have the intention to write every day at the same time, to develop a real habit. However, what drives me most are deadlines. And I can't find a set time every day, so I eek out bits of time here and there.

         How about you? What are your intentions when it comes to writing or your creative life? How do you balance your intentions and the everyday muck of life?

         (Inquiring  minds want to know.)