It’s A Boy!
The All-Terrain Vehicle, upon which I am currently strapped, continues careening, erratically down Bell Springs Road, destined to end up on Highway 101, with or without me. Right now, it’s a fifty-fifty proposition. What I mean is, I’m not going anywhere physically, but emotionally and psychologically, I am ping-ponging back and forth, from the 20th century to the 21st, and one of these trips is going to find me finally clutching the railing, along the InterNet Highway of Life.
Lito is my mentor, so you’ll have to take up any objections with him, though until this point, my welcome has been overwhelming. I have been proceeding cautiously, with my gallop into Facebook. I have been sending out about a dozen friend requests per day, and receiving those, plus a few in return.
All of the connections are meaningful to me, because I have an intense interest in how my former students are progressing through life. This is a unique opportunity, unparalleled in our history. In the past, students left the classroom, and for the most part, never revealed their travels to their former teachers, leaving them simply wondering. Maybe a class reunion allows a snapshot every decade or so, but not the day-to-day reality of life.
Not seeing Randy posting picture after picture of his new baby, announcing to the world, “I am a proud Papa!” Not hearing Travis muse that today seems an unusually negative day on Facebook, and I feel guilty, because I have been airing my frustration with the Editor(s) of the Ob****er. Not finding out immediately, that April showed an ultra-sound picture of the baby, and there were 58 well-wishes, before I even got there.
This is all new to me. I have still got one of my feet planted on top of a copy of the Ob****er, something that is concrete, something that you hold in your hands, at the breakfast table (OK, not up here. I have never had a newspaper at the breakfast table, because who drives into town and back, before breakfast?), something that has substance. But really, how much substance is there?
Facebook has color, vibrancy, warmth and entertainment. It has friendship, camaraderie, support and love. There is a lot of love out there. When I request a friendship, I never take anything for granted. I never make the assumption that anyone would welcome back a teacher from a time period, which many find to be infinitely forgettable. So when I do get an invite into someone’s space, I am always appreciative.
I friended a dude, who had been in my class for the first portion of his seventh grade, but who had then shifted to independent study, because of behavioral issues. We had gotten along pretty well in the middle school, but he had still ended up deciding to make the transition, at some point on his journey through the year. Now I chilled, while I waited to see if he would accept my friend request.
Would he hold this transition against me? Not to worry. When we connected, I expressed this concern, and he told me that he had liked me as a teacher, but that he had been going through a hard time, because his pops was sick, and he acted out; he he told me he didn’t know the appropriate way to control his emotions, or express the way he felt, and that was the result. Our re-establishing of ties, has been a high-point for me.
No discussion of renewal of old ties would be complete, without mentioning my connection with Marianne. We taught together at the middle school for a decade and a half. We worked together on the restructuring of our school district; we maneuvered our way through the whole saga of Complex Instruction; and we immersed ourselves in the scintillating world of standards and effective assessment.
That’s a lot of collaboration outside the classroom, and resulted in my building a deep, and lasting appreciation and respect for an individual who did as much-if not more-for our school/district, as far as bringing technology to us, than anyone else. Partially because of Marianne, we now have former students, who are conversant with technology, comfortably maneuvering their way around the InterNet and Facebook, as though it were elementary. And for them, it is.
For me it is anything but that. I keep hitting the return button on comments, and then having to do a second comment. I keep posting in what I think is the right spot, only to have it end up somewhere else. And posting a picture? Michelangelo had it easier than I. All of that notwithstanding, I am continuing to make my way through this new-to-me technology. I am riding the crest of a wave of emotion and satisfaction.
Words do an injustice to my attempt to convey to all of you, how much it means to be welcomed back into my community. Your response has been overwhelming and heartwarming. You tell me things that a teacher spends his or her entire career, hoping to hear just once. And I hear it again and again. That wave of emotion is swelling up behind me again, threatening to carry me at breakneck speed, right onto the shore. But that’s OK, all I do is friend another dozen or so old friends, and paddle my board back out to sea, and wait for the next wave to come along. There you go. Terra Jean, my laptop, just cooed, indicating an incoming message. Gotta go, this looks like a good wave.