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.