Those Blogger bloggers

I see that those of you who use Blogger are back to making me type some obscure number to get my comments to post on your blog.

So far today, so good. But, alas, many times I write a response only to have it disappear when I type in those numbers (which, by the way, look like someone’s address). So, if you don’t see my comments, please don’t think it’s because I’m not reading and loving your post, I just can’t get past the numbers.

Being a bit crafty

A friend’s daughter has designed a craft business in the last year along side her lawyer trade. She posts crafty items on her Instagram account, and yesterday she posted a set of cute witches which I decided to download, print, color, cut out and share with my chaplaincy charges.

Doing a craft project tied in with the story, “The Bad Mood,” and what one can do instead of subjecting others to one’s bad mood.

Here are all three of the witches, hanging out around the Halloween candy stash.

IMG_7679-0.JPG

I gave the witches to one of the teachers today after reading the story for the last time. Then I came home to prep for next week’s story, “Let’s Go Hugo.” I found that the story involves the Eiffel Tower. A Pinterest search turned up a small model of the monument which I printed on heavy paper and constructed.

IMG_7684.JPG

While the glue dried, I made biscuits. It was a very productive day.

IMG_7689.JPG

Nothing much changes

Teachers get blamed for everything. If students don’t do well in school, it’s because the teacher isn’t interesting or caring or well prepared. The teacher didn’t try hard enough, didn’t call home enough, didn’t encourage enough. The lesson should be jazzed up, made better, worked more diligently.

Because I teach in an inner city school with all the inherent problems, I see so many students who come to school totally unprepared for and uninterested in school. Asking them to sit still, be quiet, work all period, organize their work, turn in their work, is daunting, but I do it everyday. The teacher is too demanding. The teacher doesn’t understand the situation from which the student comes. It’s ok if the student misses class to take care of smaller siblings, a sick parent, or to work a job to help with the bills. No one says no to a parent who wants to pull their child out of school for a week or a month to return to Mexico for a family visit. This is all part of the culture. Teachers need to be more compassionate.

Then the tests are given and the students are not prepared because they haven’t been in class. The scores are low, and again the teacher is blamed. If you had tried harder, worked harder, cared more, the students of color would have done better. The achievement gap would be diminishing.

I have worked harder, cared more, done more, and it’s not enough to please everyone. After 18 years in the inner city school, working with kids from severe poverty, I am discouraged and feel beaten down. When will it get better? I truly believe that we should be producing a better student, but it is not happening for every kid. Too many are being separated by the achievement gap. Poverty is only part of the equation; culture is also an issue. Someone needs to speak against parents taking their kids out of school for a myriad of familial reasons.

I wrote the above post almost seven years ago, when I first started this blog. Holiday season was upon us, just as it is coming up this year. Parents at the inner city high school were planning trips back to Mexico for the Christmas season. They would be taking their kids with them. Or, I had students who had younger siblings and there was no child care except for the older sibling. So, when their brother or sister was ill, they had to remain at home, missing school. Nothing much has changed in the past seven years except I’m no longer there.

Calendars, schedules, planning

When I taught numerous high school classes along with managing the yearbook, field trips, and committee meetings, I kept a series of planning books and calendars. I would sit for long periods laying out units, deadlines, meeting dates, and other dates that traverse a school’s solar system like satellites in space. Everything seemed to be a moving target, and my goal was to pin it down, on paper, on a calendar. This time of the year would be crazy, what with the holiday season upon us as well as the numerous parties, deadlines, grading schedules. Oh my. Just typing this reminds me of why I retired from teaching. Keeping all those balls in the air was exhausting.

Although no where as daunting as the schedule I maintained as a teacher for 21 years, I have recently realized my schedule for the next three months is pretty jam-packed. Because of Good News Club and school chaplaincy, each at a different school, on different days of the week, each with its on set of planning days and meetings, I thought it best to bring out the calendar again to set things in place. To ruminate over the weeks, as my husband so kindly calls my calendar obsession.

Just studying a calendar, with the weeks outlined with each activity in its assigned day’s box, makes me feel more confident in my ability to manage my life. This was my lifeline when I was teaching. The planning, the goal-setting, the adherence to a strict schedule were my paths to success. And so, it must be for my current activities. Even in retirement, I am concerned with success at what I do. Just as when I worked, my reputation is at stake. My reputation for high quality work. My reputation for getting the job done when I say I will. My reputation for follow-through and follow-up. My reputation for being the person others want on their team.

The events are in place on the calendar. Now I just have to show up and do the work.

What I had planned versus what I am doing

Terry has left for a funeral of a 30+ year friend. We have known this man and his family all these many years through the church we no longer attend. Terry said goodbye to John on his last Sunday as cameraman as John also works on the church television ministry. The next Saturday, John was dead, at 71, of a heart attack. His family had been gathered at their home, planning John and Carol’s 50th wedding anniversary.  It was quick and unexpected.

My plan had been to attend the funeral with Terry. John and Carol are dear people, with great faith, and I have long admired and liked them. However, I am concerned that I may be contagious with a virus I seem to have had attack me in the last few days. Instead of dressing and going with Terry, I am instead lying on the couch in the family room, looking out on the backyard, recuperating.

I was reading a blog post, before I came to write this, about heart attack symptoms in women, and realizing all of the symptoms, sans the heavy feeling in the chest, were mine with this current bout of whatever. I gather that fever, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, and pain are symptoms of many ailments. If I had been around anyone who has just returned from Africa, I would have been at the emergency room immediately, as I have read those are the symptoms for Ebola. Along with a heavy dose of sneezing.  Had that, too. Viruses are nasty little creatures.

Many years ago, upon flying home from Portland, after depositing our daughter at college, I became very ill. The doctors could find nothing. This went on for two weeks. They even thought I might have a concussion due to the nausea and vomiting that were nonstop. Finally someone ordered a blood test that showed I had an elevated rate of a deadly bacteria. By that point, my body had fought it off well enough that they saw no point in giving me any meds. I was in recovery.

And so I think I am now. I am feeling much better this morning. I had a decent breakfast and will spend the day doing very little except resting as I have a very busy week coming up and cannot be sick. I just wish I could have attended John’s funeral.

Observations of the past couple of weeks

Why is it, when you have lots of time, and can catch up on online reading, there is a weak-to-nonexistent Internet signal?

Sometimes you meet a person who you just know is a phony even though they act so sincere. Sincerity can’t be faked.

The person most responsible for getting the most done for an event with a deadline is the person you can least likely reach because they have let their cell phone die or have turned it off.

Sometimes people bite off more than they chew, or chew well, but refuse to admit that.

Old people who smell bad may not have poor hygiene but rather they may be ill and the illness is leaking out of their pores.

Do not continue to fight a winless battle. Pack up and go elsewhere. Life is too short to put up with a bunch of nonsense. But leave very quietly.

When retired, you can sit in your car, in the grocery store parking lot, watching a 5-minute YouTube video without feeling guilty about wasting the time when you should be grocery shopping.

 

Crafty

Small grandchildren are here for a few days. Leeya is on fall break from school, dad had woodworking projects, mom had a meetup with ministry girlfriends. So grandma and grandpa are in charge of fun and games.

One day we played at a local park that has play equipment for all developmental levels. There are replicas of local architectural icons, too, as well as a trolley car. Judah loves PBS Daniel Tiger that has a trolley so he was happy to play in this replica.

IMG_7630.JPG

We also worked on a couple of crafts:

IMG_7651.JPG

IMG_7650.JPG

Everyone made Halloween cards, too.

The house is covered in small bits of paper from all of this work.

IMG_7647.JPG