Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh really? Come on

One of the paramount things you have to do in my line of work is communicate. Anyone and everyone. Sadly some of the communication deals with young people who are struggling with growing up and taking care of business.

I tell all my young people that school, like life, is a game. They are rules. They are shortcuts. I try to ingrain into them that what they do in the classroom, how they act when they move from class to class, how they treat other people, and importantly how they act when no one else is looking is a fairly reliable predictor to what they are going to represent as an adult. It's simple really but oh so elusive for some.

I have a student who is really struggling and just incredibly negative. I wanted to touch base with his parents, because I've got to communicate, right? I compose the email offering support, informing them of his current status in class, generate strategies to help him turn it around.

I search the school data base for his parents email address and this is what comes up:


I send the email for all the good it will do. Why we don't mandate parenting licenses is beyond me. Have a great Friday and Halloween.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The ascendancy of Bufoonery

We all work around some people who for lack of a better, more delicate phrase, are idiots. To be honest, I tend to keep my own personal idiocy well cloistered in the home environment. May be a blessing, may be a curse. I dunno. Probably both.

I feel that it is very challenging, and perplexing when one can honestly appraise their individual line of work and confidently say: they are more idiots than ever. I realize that all human endeavors are fraught with inconsistencies and eccentricities but stupidity really isn't a qualifier.

I don't rush to judgement when bestowing the mantle of imbecility on those who are learning the ropes and may have other challenges that may mitigate their effectiveness. That would be unfair and after all, I do try to be fair. It's a job requirement.

I feel my career is important despite that scarlet letter than so many are hellbent to attach to it. The red T I wear is by choice. I think the benefits still far outweigh the drawbacks. I purposefully use the term career and not job. I haven't had a job in a long time, I've had a career for 17 years now! I'm proud of that because of the longevity and not letting the dark side envelope me as it has so many in my career. The attrition rate is appalling.

It's the atmosphere, it's the funding, it's the people. No, it is not any of those. When you keep the priorities foremost, it's all doable. I'm happy and content in what the career entails. It's a good life. Not perfect, good. Perfection is an illusion foisted on us by people trying to move cold cream and other sundry health and beauty aids.

I am, however, quite alarmed at the plethora of tiny kingdom builders who populate the higher levels of my profession. Their loci of interest is themselves. Their platitudes speak of the paramount importance of this and that and their respect and support for you in your profession are there as long as the grass grows and the wind blows.

What alarms me is that I really think they are starting to believe their own malarkey. Otherwise how could you voice such verbiage devoid of content when everyone knows it is mere rhetoric? I can not look at my fellow workers without fear of rolling eyes or more likely, an outburst of spontaneous laughter. Soon to grow into a groundswell amongst the assembled.

Well I shall persevere onward. It's what I do and it is what I expect of myself and others who have chosen our profession. Some days you feel like Diogenes and some days you got some Homer Simpson in you. Such is Life's Grand Pageant.

By the way......I teach high school.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A sad closing

About a week ago there was some very sad news. A school, a building was closing its doors. It was actually far more than four walls and an occasionally leaky roof. It's name was Sinagua High School in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona.

It's importance is manifested in so many memories and crucial events in my life in the past twenty years. I met my wife there. Make a long story short, after all this is a blog not a novella, I met Kim there who for all intents and purposes was beholden to another. I called bullshit on that. I do that when I sense inequity. A tragic personal flaw perhaps.

Our courtship was unlike any other in my life. She was so inherently calm and peaceful. She radiated goodness. She was different! I fell and fell hard. Best thing I ever did in this life.

Our 4 children were born while I taught there. Our first two grew up inside of those walls. Play-yards were set up in classrooms and the boys got used to pretty girls fussing over them. Maybe that wasn't a wise move, but whatever. It was a place of incredible fulfillment on a lot of levels.

Was it perfect? Hell no, what is? But there is something otherworldly about being a young family. It's all so new, all so meaningful.

To me, Flagstaff will be eternal. It will always be a place where I was younger. A place where I actually took the time to watch my sons and daughter sleep and had the foresight to say to myself, "Remember this, it will pass but it's importance will never be diminished." I continue to keep those images fresh in my mind. It's a commitment I've made to myself and my family.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the image of a new mother holding her new born son and both sleeping so soundly. I can still in my minds eye see his little measured breaths and Kim's sweet face so in the Mom zone. Good stuff to be sure.

Very strong place in terms of professional satisfaction also. I got to train 5 student teachers to be teachers and the last I heard all we're still engaged in the profession. I'm pleased with that considering how many bail after the unsavory reality of the profession can rear it's ugly head. Kim and I garnered much well earned praise for her innovative ideas regarding inclusionary practices in secondary education. The Fed's even gave us some love for that. Atta girl!

So for many reasons through many seasons I will miss you Sinagua. You always gave me far more than I gave back. Once a Mustang, always a Mustang.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks, but no thanks

As I was looking through my school my email yesterday I was informed about a visit from our State Superintendent of Public Instruction to the school I teach at. Normally this would be some measure of a point of pride for our campus. Sadly, in todays environment it is not.

Our school, district and state is in the worse shape in terms of educational funding that I have ever witnessed in my 16 years of teaching. While the economic struggles are well documented throughout the entire nation, in our state, they are at a crisis.

Our state is a Republican infested mess. Frankly, I think both political parties are just a mess. Either they are elements of destruction or are so preoccupied with doing what is politically correct, they in effect do nothing. Arizona is a haven for retirees who feel that there obligation to public education has passed with their children being grown up. Many of our state legislators, who are in fact Republican scum, wouldn't think of sending their children to public schools. They opt for a private education. They won't come out and say it, but.....the thought of their precious darlings attending school with those pesky people of color is just too proletarian for their fabricated socially elevated status.

You may say, "How can this be? Have we not an A-A elected president?" Well, keep in mind that Arizona has been referred to as the "South Africa of the Southwest" not too many years ago. This tradition of intolerance and thinly veiled racism is alive and well in the Grand Canyon State.


I do not wish to hear any palaver from a man who has dismantled so many valuable assets for publically educated students in our state. This big footed boob has not championed the importance of education for the students, including my own damn kids!!!, and the impact education has on their respective futures. He is here to feast on the achievements of students, teachers and parents despite his bungling and misguided efforts at the Arizona Department of Education. What a self-seeking political parasite. Away with him!!

This individual has political aspirations of serving as the next Attorney General of Arizona. It might interesting to see him prosecute himself for malfeasance of office. Oh wait, he couldn't do that as an elected Attorney General could he?

Another blinding zap of knowledge gained afflicts this life long learner.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Warning Signs

When having an alt isn't working

First off, I want to preface this blog by asking those of you that use alts in SL to please don't stop. You have no idea how much you can energize a place by your mere presence. People will ponder who you are and many times the subterfuge is so pathetically lame, it's magical.

People come and people go in the metauniverse. Some by choice, disinterest or by their sheer nastiness when they are socially removed by a group. I'll focus on the latter for the remaining portion of this blog.

The sure giveaway about many alts is that they travel in pairs. A nasty, manipulative person will always find one dupe-accomplice to roam with. This is a dead giveaway. Often they will also incorporate some segment of their name into their alts identity. Vanity is a bitch isn't it?

Alts can provoke such reactions in people. Most are curious if not bemused. Some want to leap into the mystery with both feet and tenaciously hang on until an identity can be ascertained. I imagine I can float to all viewpoints.

My favorite person to be with when alts are afoot is Blissie Boucher. They irk her. Alts I mean. Other stuff irks her to, but for this we will go with alts. I will never talk to her on voice. see RL pictures of her and that is ok. But if were to tell her that I think our neighborhood is being invaded by alts she would fly out of NY non-stop to Phoenix, cab from the airport and start kicking some alt ass upon her arrival. She's like that. Alts do that to her.

What do they do to you?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A step back in time....

Yesterday at the Wordpress WordCamp in Phoenix was interesting. Not so much the content which was frankly over my head for the most part. It was a glimpse or a vignette into the gaping maw of what is the human condition. In myself and outside of myself.

I was really disgusted at what cruel spirited comments can be posited forth when they can be semi-anonymous. This guy, I thought he was pretty cool and effective, was giving his talk and people were tweeting some of the rudest bullshit about his presentation.

Really brought home the fact that courage and risk taking are rare commodities these days. Not extinct but rare. These people in the crowd snipped and just made the most lameass comments. Most were little college kissasses who would never have the guts to say something face to face. That might be scary!

One of the more unsavory elements of technology is a decline in face to face social skills. Lots of people are so disconnected. They can't read someones facial expressions or body language because they have that disconnected elements via facebook, twitter or what have you. They live with a self-imposed buffer between them and others.

Back to the aforementioned speaker. Kim was so upset by the behavior of the audience towards this presenter that we spoke to him about a possible grant collaboration. The brief conversation illuminated us to the fact that he has worked with at-risk youth, has had a gun held to his head. Real shit in the real world. Not hiding behind this device or that. Fucking pussies.

I doubt these negative nabobs could speak before 5 people, let alone 500. Oh, by the way, the dudes name is Jayson Cote. He is not a coward and the audience was full of them. Google him for some interesting stuff.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I've often heard people comment about the similiarities of SL to middle school and high school. While its been ages since I was in those environments as a young person, I am afforded the opportunity as a close observer being a teacher of that age group. Recent occurances have made the aforementioned cliche ring true once again.

One thing I've noticed in my job is the amount of trash talked from JV players with respect to their varsity counterparts. They plot, they scheme, they prevaricate but after all of these nefarious activities, they are still on the JV squad. Ain't it funny?

Doesn't matter if it was in the 80's, 90's or the 2000's, it is what it is. I imagine if I had a time machine and fast forwarded to 2050, we would see the same thing unfolding.

On a far more positive note, great things have been occuring. Lots of new faces and talents have been showing up at Bistro. People have grown and are now ready to accept roles different for them than what has been in the past. It's really cool to see that occur. New DJ's, New Trivia types, New live performers. It's been great. Of course, those of quality have endured and always will.

Hope you can swing by Bistro and check some of these things out. The alt traffic in itself has been amazing!!