Monday, May 18, 2009

A Note to sAM

Chompin' at the bit...

It's after nine. The sink is full of dishes from last night's walleye dinner and this morning's confetti waffles. In spite of the name, they were tasty and delicious. Walnuts, craisins, chocolate chunks, butter,eggs, milk and a dash of pure vanilla. Dawn leaves for a four hour drive across the state to visit her Dad. He's in the hospital after suffering a heart attack. Big black clouds loom in the east, south and west. There's no indication of rain in the forecast. Last night I collapse into my recliner after another Olympian event of small farming. I didn't finish cultivating. If it rains, the tender crops-squash, pumpkins and gourds will go into the ground. I'm getting their beds ready for planting. The Pooch helps by pooping in the soft soil I rototill. When it comes to weeds in the early part of the season, you have to "hit 'em hard, fast and low" to quote my high school football coach.

A woman in Michigan whose blog I follow, leaves me a nice comment. On Sunday afternoon, I leave a comment reply and e-mail her similar regards. Both the blog format and especially, the space allowed for comments, is difficult for a motor mouth like me. In one of her recent posts, she mentions "fuss" at work. She's a teacher. Fuss is my label. I have to tell her of my experiences as an inner city teacher for two tours of duty and a total of 15+ years, longer if you include my year and a half as a substitute teacher. The total time as a teacher would and could extend longer if you include working with adults in some of the classes I organized and taught with Dawn's help as part of the art and craft business I started when I left teaching. I'll be a teacher until I'm buried and after that too, if I need to come back and haunt some people ( that's a joke).

Teacher's love turmoil.

At least that's my inner city experience. Out here, I avoid substituting because they give me the tough assignments none of the regular substitutes will handle. The kids here are pussycats compared to city kids. Even the worst special needs and behaviorally challenged would have a hard time one-upping some of the children I taught over the years. Thus, local teachers are what I'd term conservative, staid and for the most part low key. The substitute dispatcher gives me an assignment for one-on-one teaching of kid sent out here from the city to a group home who got expelled. She uses the term naughty to explain his behavior. I stifle a guffaw.

At the beginning of the school year there's an orientation for teachers and substitutes. The principal of the middle school tells the audience of a disturbing problem with her daughter. They take away her cell phone because she sent over 1,000 text messages in one month's time . They're aghast. I'm concerned because it's part of a trend with young people to communicate via abbreviations, short sentences, blurbs and so on. Language skills are diminishing.

One of the schools I did a ten year stint in has a serious problem with theft, vandalism and muggings. In one year 36 teachers had their cars broken into. Two cars were stolen. One substitute ran so fast to avoid being mugged, her shoes flew off as she ran back to the safety of the school building. As an aside, if you lived in the inner city, were poor and saw shiny new cars parked around a brick school building wouldn't you think of it as a candy shop? Yes, it's a serious problem. A bigger problem was the churning of energy that started with the school secretaries and worked it's way up to the staff. A friend and professor who happens to be Native American once described in a class on Native American Dreams and Visions how a person can attrack negativity to themselves by their thoughts and actions. I saw it happen first hand. Sam, you were right to stay out of the fray.

Oh, I forgot to add laundry to the above list of tasks. Which also reminds me of one of Sam's posts about splurging and buying Tide instead of a lower price detergent. I know it's a small matter, but it really impressed me. Every time I add a cup of that fluffy off-brand detergent to my whites, I wonder if they'd be cleaner if I broke down and used Tide. Then, perhaps I wouldn't have to add 20 Mule Team Borax.

So, if I don't leave a comment it doesn't mean your words don't leave an impression. They do. I'm glad to be part of a larger community of people who like to share events in their lives.

1 comment:

sAm said...

Awww...I take some time away from my blog to come back and find this!! Thank you so much - I did get your comment and email - I agree, it's hard to keep words succinct in this medium.
The stories you told about your time as a teacher remind me of how lucky I am to work where I do - a small town with the children of people I went to school with. The grandchildren of the people my parents went to school with. Definitely not inner-city. It's odd - I honestly would've never guessed you as a city dweller.
As for the laundry thing - I went back to the less expensive stuff. I can't say as the Tide cleaned any better. But it did smell better!
Thanks really brought a smile to my face!