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Today was Day #4 in the new school year. I’m teaching freshmen again.
Last year, I threatened to retire if I had to teach freshmen this year. I’m just too blasted old and do not have the energy and I reasoned that they need a younger teacher who is more creative and has more energy … Because of a change in my financial status, I could not follow through on my threat.
So, here I am with these young students who are eager to experience all that high school can offer them. Of course, analyzing literature and writing essays and research papers in MLA format are not top priority.
To my delight and surprise, I have been visited by students from last year’s classes. Lots of hugs. Lots of comments that they want back in my class. Now, I’m not naive; I understand that I’m what’s familiar and their sophomore teachers are the unknown. But it makes me feel good.
I had some behavior problems on Monday & Tuesday and made calls to MOM! The behavior improved.
I am thankful that my students have focused on writing their essays the past four days. Many of them turned in the summer reading project …. and the others are either reading … or thinking about reading and might get around to finding a book this weekend … maybe.
Maybe this year …… maybe this year will be a little bit better. Maybe this year, I will be able to teach. Maybe this year ………………..
I do not see myself as creative and am amazed by this nomination from Mehmudah, who describes herself as a writer, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a student, a blogger, a dreamer, a cricket nut, a photography enthusiast, and a courageous Muslim woman. Check out her powerfully engaging blog Ummanall’s Musings.
7 More Things You Might Not Know About Me
And now I have the privilege of nominating seven bloggers. Check out these blogs by people who truly are creative:
Beautiful Pictures in Photobach
Blog Friends, I usually don’t write long missives, but I ask you to read this one. (It’s a quick read, I promise.)
I am a true baby boomer, born in 1950 when our country was celebrating life. My childhood was an innocent one spent climbing trees and playing with kittens and dolls in small town Midwestern USA. The only killing I knew was fictional in the television portrayals of the old west or of the war. Even when I was protesting the Vietnam War in the 60s, I was isolated from the killing and violence.
I’m grading student essays now; as frequently happens when they have a prompt that promotes a personal response, I ache for them as I read their words, even the poorly written ones. Many have written about a loved one who was shot or who committed suicide. Many wrote about family in prison for murder.
One girl wrote of a recent party she attended. She just wasn’t thinking when she put on her new outfit of red sweater and skinny blue jeans. Get it? Red = Bloods; Blue = Crips. Representatives of both gangs were at that party and both were ready to jump her for wearing the “colors” … especially together. They forced her to take off the clothes; when her boyfriend brought her an all-black outfit she realized that those who wanted to stay outside of the gang conflicts were wearing all black.
Another girl wrote this today. It’s not good writing, but her voice is strong. This essay makes me hurt for my students because I know that her words represent the feelings of a majority of my students.
When I was little, I didn’t know how bad the world really was. As I get older, I see that people are getting killed for dumb reasons. It makes me barely wanna go outside. Life is not promised to me or anyone. I love my life. I’m not ready to die yet. People are yet still killing.
People are being killed over colors, signs, and just going out to have a good time. When people get killed, I get scared. I feel if they kill innocent people for nothing, my life doesn’t mean anything to them either. I now know the world is crazy and it is a very scary place.
People shoot and kill for no good reason at all. They think it’s a style and it’s cool. One day I hope the people who killed people will get it. You’re not supposed to be scared of a world that was created for you. I’ll be happy when one day we can all be in peace.
A few years ago, I attended two “Anytown” camps with students; the purpose is to tear down the walls of hatred and prejudice and build tolerance. One of the activities involves identifying the violence in our lives. I was shocked to learn that almost all of the students had been involved in or are related to someone involved in a violent death. More astounding is the number of students who have actually witnessed a murder. Many of them had had loaded guns pointed at them; many had been shot or had shot someone.
I personally have lost far too many students to violence and drugs.
I ache for these young people who do not know the safety and comfort of a time and place when people did not lock their doors, when it was safe to sit outside at night, when you could drive with your windows open and not be afraid.
I’m trying something new with my students…a blog. I’m not sure how this will play out. The idea is simple, but I’ve learned that a simple idea can turn into something complex, complicated, and convoluted quite quickly. (How much alliteration can I slip in here?)
The plan is that my students will respond to prompts that I post on the blog as they read books, articles, poems, and epics.
Our new blog is entitled We Read, Think, and Write (http://ireadthinkwrite.wordpress.com/).
I’ll let you know how this works.
A fellow blogger (http://nickexposed.com) asked his readers to respond to this statement … Live Life :: Love Life
Sometimes, like today, I forget to love … life.
My afternoon 9th grade students were particularly noisy, inattentive, and quarrelsome today. I wanted to escape. I wanted to simply throw the book down, walk out of the room, and never return. This afternoon, I did not love life … nor did I love my students.
I think that, at such times, it’s critical that I remember this simple maxim. The paradox is that it is simple yet profound, sometimes difficult.
As soon as I get away from the city, as soon as I get a breath of air, as soon as I catch a glimpse of the riot of color in a sunrise or the explosion of a sunset, as soon as I cuddle with my granddaughter, as soon as I pick up my camera, I live life and LOVE life.
The challenge is to live life :: love life while my students are being difficult. And I vow to rise to the challenge.
Inspired by the excellent photo blogs I’ve recently visited and studied, I’m walking around my little condo shooting close-ups of just about everything I see: my glasses, a camera lens, candles, rocks, a nearly empty beer bottle, a few fragments of salsa, a chip, the dog, a flashlight, window shutters, a red box from China, a book or two, the refrigerator light, the worn desk top …. BUT WAIT! I have papers to GRADE! I’d take a picture of the pile of papers to show you, but then, I’ll get involved with shooting, then processing, and probably editing … and before I blink my eyes, I’m looking at midnight yet again. 5 AM comes awfully early when I’ve whiled away my evening doing what I want instead of working. Good night, all.