Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Bird in the Hand

There was once a young man that wanted to prove himself smarter than his friend. Behind his back, he held a bird. He asked his friend if the bird was alive or dead. But you see, it did not matter what his friend answered because he was destined to be wrong. If the friend answered that the bird was dead, then the young boy was going to bring forth the live bird in his hand and prove his friend wrong. However, should the friend say that the bird was alive, then the young boy was going to break the bird's neck behind his back and again, show his friend that he was wrong.

This is a story told often by our Superintendent at the Back to School meeting for teachers in August and at graduation in June. It is the message that you control the year, or the life, ahead of you. Are you going to soar? Or are you going to crush the opportunity?

Tonight that same Superintendent held the bird behind his back as he was honored at a retirement party sponsored by the school board. He began his career in education as a Physical Education teacher and coach of many sports, then as assistant principal for the high school before serving as Superintendent for over the last decade.

He has worked in our school system for 45 years. I find that "significant" for two reasons. The first, think how much he has seen the face of education change in 45 years! Graduating from a segregated high school to running a fully integrated and high-achieving school district.

Secondly, I am in awe of working in the same field for that long, with the same specific employer. A couple of years ago, I was "inspired" to make a list of all the jobs I have held. From beginning at KFC at age 14 to entering the field of teaching at 32, I have held well over 50 jobs. It's not something that I used to give much thought to, but something that is unfathomable to me now. I am about to begin my 9th year of teaching (at the same high school). Prior to this, I'm pretty sure I never had a two-year anniversary at a job.

I'm not nearly as flippant about this as I used to be. I am glad that I fell into teaching when I did, only because I have so many more years ahead of me. The kids, and sometimes co-workers, will ask how long I plan on teaching at my high school. The question is odd to me. I don't think about leaving. I have gone through "bad times" at work, but they are just seasons, and seasons change. I was talking about this general topic with another teacher the morning of graduation as we "guarded" the doors. He said most mornings you get up and look forward to coming to work. Some mornings you get up and dread (probably not his exact word) coming to work, but as long as there are more mornings that you look forward to it, you keep coming. I think there a lot more of those good mornings ahead of me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 14

As I went to bed last night, I was making a mental checklist of all I needed to do today. It was a long list, unachievable, most notable: finish painting craft room, grocery shopping, pay bills, cook with the mountainous pile of zucchini, squash and sweet potatoes bought from the auction last week, and call about birth certificates.


I watched "21 Jump Street" and was overly proud to catch the cameos, and surfed around Pinterest... clearly beginning to see the irony of pinning a bunch of inspirational quotes about "living life" and "seizing the day."

In my weak defense, I feel sick. I started having that sick-feeling "taste" in my mouth from chest congestion last night, and I had another one of those stomach antagonizing days.

So, I am relishing in it still being June, only 14 days into break, and although I haven't accomplished a whole lot of anything yet, there's plenty of time to "take off" and still be able to accomplish and experience a lot this summer.

I love my job :)
(and not just in the Summer)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

School's out...

...for summer!

This has definitely been the "Summer Deferred." The kids got out of school on a Thursday (those unfortunate enough not to be exempt from exams and have finished the year two days earlier). Teachers' last day was Friday. A rare occurance, my grades were in on time, I was checked out with the early group, and my room was packed up and ready to abandon for the summer.

I was asked to teach Summer School. Now, I don't mean for that to sound like the prison sentence adolescent teens may view it to be. I had actually asked to teach, so for that opportunity, I was thankful. I was told that I would be teaching 12th grade, repeat and possibly new. I have never taught Senior English, never even looked inside the textbook, so for that opportunity, I was a bit anxiety-driven (perhaps terrified?). It was a lot of "old dead white guy" stuff, which is just not my genre. So I sketched out an overall curriculum, at least for the reading, but thankfully I didn't let myself invest too much time in it because when I went in the day before Summer School was scheduled to start I found out that my class didn't make (again)... and I wouldn't be teaching (again).

Last summer, I let this news devastate me and put a damper on the whole break. This year I tried very hard to go into it with the attitude though that there was a benefit either way, more money or more summer. I'm glad I asked to do Summer School so that decision was made for me and I didn't have to stress over it.

In the time between school ending and when Summer School was scheduled to start, I planned an over night trip to the Eastern Shore, with the primary goal to correct the boys' birth certificates. I had a tightly planned schedule of shopping at the Country House, going to The Red Rooster for crabs, and visiting the fireman's carnival... before I got to Salisbury and realized it was Sunday. The Country House was closed and the fireman's carnival, not running on Sunday anyway, had ended it's mini-season the night before.

We did hit The Red Roost though and spent an obscene amount of money on crabs, and on Monday we stopped by The Country House and visited The Salisbury Zoo. I like visiting Salisbury, it's reminiscent to see the places of my childhood and early adulthood/motherhood. It's interesting to see the way it's changed and grown. But having no family and not having kept in touch with any friends there, it doesn't have the feeling of "home." I'm not sure anywhere has *that* feeling for me.

Unfortunately, the primary goal of the trip was a bust. The office in Salisbury is not able to make any changes to birth certificates, only print copies. I have to go through the Baltimore office to get the names corrected. So, now I am investigating and weighing the options of driving to Baltimore versus mailing the paper work (again).