Thursday, January 14, 2010

Teachers' Perks:

Okay so maybe, more specifically, a perk of being a teacher-who's-paid-by-a-nonprofit-and-not-the-school-district: a day off in the middle of the week! It's finals week at Balboa, and today was 3rd and 4th period finals . . . not having a 3rd or 4th period, I got a sweet sweet break from work, which was pretty darn blissful. Even after being roused out of bed in the middle of the night to go pick up my crazy boy (of late) after a night out with his buddies, followed by trouble sleeping thanks to his loud snoring (have you ever heard a rugby player snore?), I soaked up the slow languor of today with delight. Days off in the middle of the week are so much more decadent than weekend days! I brewed coffee at noon, showered, made a farmers' market salad (did you know that a medium-sized avocado contains THIRTY grams of fat???), and graded finals while vaguely paying attention to the tv (and Ji and Eric sparring in the background). After several hours of lazing about the house, I was anxious for my girldate with Missy tonight at Pizza Antica, which was complete with Zinfandel and boy talk and laughter . . . and now I'm home with a glass of red table wine awaiting the Grey's Anatomy season premiere. Today, life is pretty sweet.

Yesterday with this little fellow wasn't so bad either:

Another teacher's perk: I give my kids a journal question at the beginning of every class. They know to get out their journals and answer the question on the board as soon as they come in. It's the end of the grading period, so I've been reading/grading their journals over the past few days. A couple months ago, leading into a discussion about crimes, arrest, and by what means people become "criminals," the journal question was: "Why do people do 'bad' things?" One of my very favorite students, E.M. (who himself has been incarcerated), answered with this:

"I think people do bad things because they are lonely and feel scared about life and everything around them so they do bad things to get help but not in the right way."

I swear, outta the mouths of babes. Sometimes they get it so right, through language far simpler and clearer than I can ever approach. Doubtlessly, there are days I want to pull my hair out, days I want to pull their hair out, days I cry, days I don't sleep enough . . . but when I realize that things are "clicking" for them, and I see them making true progress . . . it's all worth it.

One more day of finals and then it's off to Russian River to celebrate a good friend's birthday with a group of wonderful people. Three days of wine, games, laughs, friends, hikes, and a hot tub will be a perfect end to the semester. Living in California is certainly financially overwhelming, but every time I go on a gorgeous hike, look at the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach, drive down to L.A. in a few hours, check out the view from Twin Peaks or Land's End, or drive up 101 through Sausalito I just can't imagine living anywhere else. For right now, at least. And that's another goal for 2010: to focus not on the past or the future but right now.


moore0537 said...

As a teacher myself, I know how much you can discover about what's going on in a child's mind (and life) through their writing. It can be a real eye-opener sometimes. Your students probably find it easier to write what they think rather than verbalize it. I feel for E.M.

Heather said...

Have you ever read the Power of Now or the New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Titles sound cheesy and a little too self-helpy, but they are seriously super life manuals. If you can get it as an audiobook, that's great too. Big hugs to you my friend.