Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Getting to Know Me"
Just for fun I thought I might list some things that I really like. It might give you readers (if there are any) some insight to what makes me tick. I think the song, "My Favorite Things" is a good way to start this foolishness.

Raindrops on roses...I am so damn tired of rain (and snow) and though I like roses, I think they are too hard to raise and too expensive to buy.
Whiskers on kittens...I intensely dislike cats, so little cats and their whiskers are a complete waste of even thinking about.
Bright copper kettles...reminds me of the tea kettle that was always on the back of my grandmother's wood burning cook stove.
Warm wollen mittens..those cantankerous thinks that I never could get on my children's hands when they were small!
Brown paper packages tied up with string...every year my grandparents gave me a flannel shirt for Christmas in a gift tied with string instead of ribbons. Pretty cool, huh?
Other things( and people) that I love are:
My wife of almost 37 years
My kids and grandchild. This includes the sweetest daughter-in-law a person could want.
Sunshine (letting it warm my arthritis infested joints is heaven) is my life, the rest is just details.
Teaching...especially English (especially NOT math)
Driving..just sightseeing on any given afternoon
Christmas...still like to watch my kids unwrap
My Texas relatives
My Ohio friends...I don't see often enough
Gardening..but I havte mowing the grass
Reading Fiction only. I had enough cramming in college
Norah Jones, Trisha Yearwood, Carole King, Tammy Wynette, and Reba McIntyre
"An American President" and "Dances With Wolves"
Just about any movie with John Wayne
CHOCOLATE...I consider it one of the basic food groups., hot and strong
Beaches on Lake Michigan...walking in the sand or just sitting watching the water
Bach...yes, Johann Sebatian
Coney dogs
Pie and cake
Walking for exercise's new but it's fun and good practice

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yesterday was a real low ebb for me. As an educator, I have had a variety of experiences with my students. I have had great "aha" moments with my slower learners, and I have had some "ho-hum" moments, too. Yesterday one of my students was pulled from his home and put into foster care. Here is a kid that was really trying in school, had improved his grades slowly but surely, and was just an all around nice kid. Mom's live-in boyfriend was mistreating him. He came to school bruised and banged up where this asswipe had smacked him with a hammer handle.
Now I ask you, what kind of an S.O.B. would treat a 14 year old this way. He should be jailed and the key thrown as far away as possible. Mom should be kicked in the hind end for allowing this to happen, and not kicking the asswipe out on the street.
What is this world coming to? This child who has never hurt anyone is going through an experience that no child should have to endure. He came into my room and shook my hand and then motioned me out into the hall where he actually gave me a hug. This was a big move for a 7th grader. What could I do but wish him well, and send him off to something so scary that even I wouldn't want to do it.
After that day was over, all I wanted to do was enter my church and kneel down and ask the good Lord to watch over this young man and to please keep this from happening again to any young person. None of them deserve this.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Having Adult Children
Thirty plus years ago, I never dreamed that the offspring that my wife and I were producing could bring such joy as adults. Those tiny little beings of our flesh were the know all-be all of our lives for so long, and as they grew into teenagers, yes we had all the normal trials and tribulations. Now they are grown, gone away from home, and leading lives of their own.
As adults, our children still love to come home and share their lives with us. Some of the things they want to share, Mom and I would just as soon they kept to themselves, but we still appreciate their desire to include us.
Our daughter is the oldest. She is a college grad and just a squeak away from attaining a master's degree. She has been a college prof, teaching English, and has recently made a marked career change. She has advanced herself with each job change and is making her mark as a intelligent thinker and writer. She is a single mom of a teenager and takes all the stress of that position with a minimum of stress.
Our son is still living close to us, or at least in the same town. He is an Assistant Manager for a local grocery store, where he excels in customer service. He is an avid martial arts enthusiast and an expert marksman. His subtle sense of humor is a delight and his people skills are excellent. He is married to a teriffic gal, and they are a great match. Before they have children, they are having a great time enjoying each other and some of the finer things of life. He is a budding writer and is writing what I want to think will be the next "great American novel."
Both of our children are children to be proud of. They are as different as night and day, and we wouldn' t want it any other way.
In this day and age, having two children who turn out to be adults we can be proud of might be something of a rarity. I know that when I go to bed at night, I thank the good Lord that we have been so blessed.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

As an educator, I get the opportunity to team teach with a variety of teachers and see a variety of teaching styles. It has been an interesting experience for me. I was involved in industry most of my adult life, and have only entered the teaching arena in the past 5 years. I have so much respect for our teachers. They come into a classroom full of students (mine are middle school) who, quite frankly, don't give a crap about learning anything, but are there because they have to be. One colleague of mine, Di, who teaches seventh grade English is truly amazing.
Di is a short, lively lady in her early fifties. She is bounding with energy, and loves what she does. Not only that, she loves her students. And she is not afraid to tell them. On the first day of school, she told her students, that above all else, she wanted them to feel safe and cared about in her room. She is strict, and demands the best from each student, regardless of their learning capabilities. She is compassionate, and caring. Her teaching style is amazing, and even more amazing, the kids are learning. It's like she has this aura about her that makes most students want to learn and please her.
From grammar to literature, Di has a way of teaching that makes even the most mundane subject matter interesting. Her Christianity shines in all that she does, which is refreshing, especially in a public school, yet she never pushes it on her students. She just sets that kind of example.
Our school is so lucky to have her. She told me the other day that she is considering retirement in a couple of years. The school will surely miss her, but when she leaves, she will leave a legacy of learning, kindness, and understanding that will be remembered by all whose lives she has touched.
My hat is off to you, Di. I am proud to call you my friend.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

As a first-time blogger, this will be a work in progress, and definitely a learning experience. I have wanted to be a published writer at times in my life, so now here's my chance. I will be writing about a variety of things that are near and dear to my heart, and also about some things that tend to piss me off on a regular basis!
You will see me blast our nation's public school system once in a while. I think students in public schools are getting the shaft. As an educator, I will sometimes tell you what I think about that. Whether or not you agree with me is entirely up to you.