Today’s bumps, I guess

Two not-so-great things happened today at work.  1) I hid under my desk again (second time so far here).  2) I took a stupid typing test, and only got 60 words per minute.

For the desk thing, it’s just a whole new world, working here with these kids.  Education that has felt like second nature to me most of my life, is a piece of education that has somehow eluded a good chunk of these guys, thanks to stereotypes and income levels of families.  The first time I hid under my desk, I think I just wanted to be alone, after a good hour or two of kids being kids, unable to handle sitting in a classroom, even for five minutes at a time (we get up and about in the room a lot during class, excluding test and quiz days).  Today, it was a bit of that, but mostly my distaste at the unfortunate lack of capability of many of these high schoolers to do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  I took these same classes at their same ages, and yet I flew threw most of this stuff.  Not only was I good at math, but I had friends and family to support me with it, whether I needed the help or not.  These kids just plain don’t.  So, I’m not sure if it was so much the annoyance at the kids being restless today, as it was their social and educational backgrounds that really just have me wanting to curl up and cry, and go away… but ‘out of sight, out of mind’ has never really been one of my supported phrases in life.

And, for the typing test, it was stupid.  It was for doing Aesop’s fables, including their titles and an introduction.  I didn’t have a single error in the final product, because I corrected as I went, but the flow was difficult, because it was different formatting with the titles and such.  Aren’t typing tests traditionally of paragraphs?  Perhaps my belief in that is a false one, but it makes more sense to me for a general standard test than what I had today.   Anyway, it was some free online test, so I don’t expect it to be the best standard… it was just kind of annoying.  Hopefully I am right, and my typing speed is actually faster than just 60 words per minute.  I didn’t even have a comfortable positioning of the keyboard and everything, either, so I don’t really see why I’m upset about it.  I guess I’m just tired and feeling ill today, and that’s bringing me down in more ways than one right now.

Post-a-day 2017

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That Jacket

Tomorrow, I get to wear my brother’s pirate jacket, and I am thrilled(!).  At long last, I am granted not only the occasion, but the permission and the ability to wear the jacket, and it looks mighty fine with the ensemble, I dare say.

My brother bought it at this cool resale shop called Lucy in Disguise, in Austin, Tx.  When my mom had asked him what he had paid for the jacket, he said that it was “a bill”.  I thought he was just being funny, saying that he had handed over some bill of cash money, and the change came back to him, because he didn’t really remember what he’d paid for it, or because he was thrilled at having spent so little on it, that it was a five- or ten-dollar bill, maybe even a twenty.  However, as their conversation continued, I quickly discovered the term as being a vernacular synonym for the hundred-dollar bill.  That my brother would have paid such a price for something like that meant that it must be, it necessarily was outstanding.  And, truly, this jacket it.  I envied him for it from the first time I saw it.  I don’t even really love pirate-y things.  Yeah, they’re cool, but I don’t ever want or need them.  But this jacket was like (the cheesy tie-in of) treasure to me.  It is just that wonderful.

And I finally get to wear it.  Yippee! 😀

Post-a-day 2017

Being a teacher… ouch

Being a teacher is hard.  And by “hard”, I mean “incredibly difficult”.  What calls to mind this idea today in particular – because we all know that there are loads of reasons being a teacher is difficult – is the aspect of life outside of school.

You see, to be a good teacher, the best one can be, requires arriving early to school, working through free periods during the day, actually teaching classes, working privately with students at lunch and/or after school, and then working at least a little bit more before going home for the night.  By then, exhaustion is just about ready to set in, leaving time only enough to make it home, eat some food (maybe), and crash to bed.  And then the alarm goes off at five-something in the morning to start it all over again.  In other words, a truly dedicated teacher, at least in his/her first several years teaching a specific subject, works at least a ten-hour day daily, and has little to no time and/or energy to pursue anything else during the week.  Social life just doesn’t exist alongside being a good, dedicated teacher.

Right now, everything is working for me.  Right now, I have almost zero social obligations or immediate opportunities.  I go early and work late every day, and I have this strong sense of ‘got-it-togetherness’.  I am prepared for the following day by the time I leave for home in the evening.  But I have no active friends.  Sure, I chat with people at school from time to time, but we aren’t friends.  Besides, they all seem to be doing things for various clubs and such for the school on the weekends.  When I have wondered how things might be if I were a permanent teacher at this school, I have been almost certain that I would be staying even later for club activities, and sooner or later would find myself on campus or at activities (sports, possibly) for the school on the weekends.  It really is wonderful to be an active part of a school.  And that unfortunately means giving up most outside opportunities.

There is a delicate balance between having a life outside of school and making the school one’s whole life.  Sacrifices must be made in either case – either giving up social time for school events, or giving up involvement with the school and kids (when kids are truly at their best, too) to go get drinks or coffee with a friend or family member.  At my last two jobs, I wasn’t fulfilled as a teacher without being involved in things with kids outside of class.  Be it playing in the band for certain events, singing songs together at the community piano, coaching lacrosse, or choreographing and assisting with the musical, those were the necessary pieces to rounding out the teacher experience and being fulfilled as a teacher.  Unfortunately, those all meant giving up time that could have been spent on a life outside of school, getting to know people my own age or, believe it or not, older than I am. I could have spent the time running in the park.  But I spent it with the kids instead.  So, I was fulfilled somewhat as a teacher, and hardly at all as a person in life.

Anyway, that’s what’s been on my mind this evening, and is one of the many reasons why teaching is hard

Post-a-day 2017

Photography Skills…?

I don’t know what it is, but I apparently am great at photography.  My cousin and aunt said that I really just have a great eye for it.  I see what they mean, but I keep wondering if it is only for certain circumstances that I am any good at it all, that I only have an eye for specific photo situations and events. Sure, I had great ideas for a couple weddings, and a handful of other events in recent years, but they all shared in their nature-tied, almost rustic themes.  Part of me wonders if I just choose to take photos of things that are already awesome, and I am merely documenting those things, as opposed to my taking whatever is in front of me, and documenting it in an awesome way.

That being said, there is another part of me that wants desperately to agree with them wholeheartedly, go find a good quality camera, and start promoting myself as a photographer.  This is the part that tells me how I am always just a very harsh judge of myself, and the standards I hold are far beyond the usual standards for people, thereby making what I consider to be mediocre work of my own to be spectacular by regular standards.  And I so want to believe this part of me…, but I don’t want to be wrong.

Then again, why do I not want to be wrong?  It looks like I want not to be embarrassed for thinking that I have taste, and being called out about it, because I don’t actually have good taste like I’d thought.  Also, that I want not to cause people to believe I am cheating them in any way…. and it looks like that’s about it.  Huh… Well, I know that I have taste.  Especially seeing as how I frown at professional photos that I see all of the time, because I am disappointed that the photographer would allow such photos to be paid for.  As for finding an appropriate value for my “work”, let’s call it, I guess I can easily enough ask different people for guidance, and always verify with the “client”, shall we say, regarding an agreed upon value of the work.  And, regarding my earlier concern/wondering, I could always just do photos for those similar settings, if it turns out that I’m only really great at those types of setups.  Well, that’s too simple, almost.

Fortunately, the key word there is “almost”.

So, I guess that means that I am looking for a camera now, because my phone is not satisfactory for anything above instagram quality.  😛

Post-a-day 2017

Weddings and Children

A few years ago, I became aware of something new in terms of weddings, parties, and events: the effects of the presence of young children.  At my cousin’s wedding reception, some of my family and I were near a couple with a baby.  I had been strongly working to tune out he baby’s cries, when my aunt commented to another cousin of mine, ‘This is why we didn’t allow kids at your wedding.’ (Although, now that I write that, I feel like it might have been the cousin to say it about her own wedding.)  It wasn’t that the baby was a problem.  That was not at all the case.  It was simply that the baby altered the atmosphere significantly for all of those around it.

This weekend, I experienced one of the strongest respects for the ‘No Children’ policy.  Children are great, and I need not be convinced of this.  I love children on their own turf, in their own environments.  However, my former belief that excluding children from events was just because people wanted to get stupid drunk is now history.  Without children, the atmosphere is at ease.  Period.  With children, almost every single time, at least one person is always a little stressed (watching the kids), and likely several people end up stressed and annoyed, as well.  When a child is constantly running around, an unidentifiable parent allowing the child to be roaming free, things are at their worst for the other guests, because there is a sense of obligation felt to watch out for the young, solo child.  Even when a child is attached to its parent, seeing parenting skills that are less than extraordinary is stressful just to see.

As I watched yet another person take away an incredibly breakable object from a kid tonight, – I even got to take away calmly a ceramic dish from this child earlier in the evening – my annoyance was raised just that much more.  The kids were all really sweet and nice.  But kids are incapable of being fully respnsile for themselves and their behavior, and these were kids.  As I noticed with my stress levels last night, one rogue child can ruin a party’s mood.  And much more so than an annoying adult.  When an event is designed for children, then kids can be themselves, through and through.  Weddings and most events of a similar setup are not designed for children, but for adults.  And so the presence of children really just doesn’t work.

Post-a-day 2017

Cousin fun and virgin drinks

Tonight, we had family gathering time.  As usual, it ended up in a long music session, filled with guitar and sing-a-longs.  I love my family, and I love how musical we are.  However, that is not the point here.

The family time tonight reminded me of the first time all of us were together at once: my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration.  At the party, my cousin Allison and I, and possibly also one or both of her brothers, took on the task of ordering unique drinks from the open bar.  You see, we wanted to take advantage of the open bar, as the rest of the family and attendees were doing, but we lacked the age to enjoy the alcohol aspect of it all.

And so, we improvised.  At ages 15 and 12 respectively, Allison and I took full advantage of the open bar in terms of experience.  We initially ordered a virgin beverage, because we liked the specific beverage.  However, we soon turned to our own game of coming up with ridiculous drink orders.  We ordered things like a virgin rum and coke, and a virgin bourbon water.  We just picked the drink we actually wanted, and found an adult mixed beverage that contained the desired drink, and then ordered it virgin.  That way, we were ordering drinks at the bar, the way a bar is designed to be, and we enjoyed all the regular fun of ordering special drinks at an open bar, with the added enjoyment of the puzzle and ridiculousness.

I sure do love my family.

Post-a-day 2017

Family and music

I love my family.  And I miss getting to spend time with them.  I had somewhat forgotten the existence of one of my cousins, because I hadn’t actually seen him in so long.  I knew he existed, of course, but it was as though I had accepted that it wasn’t ever an option to see him.  And so, it was a wonderful surprise – though I knew in my head that he would be here ahead of time – actually seeing him and spending time with him tonight.

One of the things I love about spending time with him is his musical gift.  He can be given any instrument, and, whether he has ever played it before or not, can be playing lovely music on it within a maximum of a few minutes.  We always end up humming and whistling and singing beautiful music together, whether we have an instrument or not (though we often have at least a guitar).

Tonight was no different.  He pulled out one of my favorite songs, and early on in the visit.  Oddly enough, I hadn’t listened to or sung/played the song in years, and so it was a fun surprise.  I had to look up the words, because it had been so long, but it was too good of a song not to get all the words right (“White Man” by Michael Gungor Band).

As he fiddled around on the guitar, my mom and I sat with him on the porch, listening to him play, and working on our puzzle/mystery boxes we were creating for his brother’s wedding reception this weekend.  The kind of music he was playing reminded me of why I ever wanted to learn to play guitar in the first place.  I want to play John Denver and Jim Croce music, and other things similar in style.  It has always been my long-term, distant future goal, since it really isn’t the easiest music, but there are plenty of things I can learn as stepping stones (and I have learned a good bit of them).  I just don’t play when I don’t have the company of someone else’s music.  

When I am with my cousin, we almost always take the time to sit down and teach me something new and, of course, beautiful to play.  Now that we are back living in the same country, we might actually be able to set up semi-regular music meet-ups for the two of us.  We’ll see.

Gosh, I love my cousin.

Post-a-day 2017