Kicking and Screaming
I used to prattle on about teaching until “they” came for me, but that they would have to drag me, kicking and screaming, from the classroom. Well, I was kicking and screaming, all right, when the time came, but it was because I could not get out the door fast enough. Allow me to assure you, it had nothing to do with teaching, and everything to do with what we were supposed to be teaching.
As teachers, we were (are) under a lot of pressure to improve student test scores. Exactly how much benefit is derived from STAR testing is up for debate. Unfortunately, test scores are recorded in black and white, and shades of gray need not apply. Paul and I attempted to duplicate a more realistic classroom, with multi-graded class lists, so that 6th, 7th and 8th graders were in the same classroom. Only in schools are people grouped according to age; otherwise, in the workplace, people work side-by-side with each other, regardless of age or background.
Now that I am retired, I reflect back on my work life, and wonder how pasture life will agree with me. I find the same dilemma still confronting me, that the bills will continue to come in, ignoring the fact that I no longer have a steady job. Well I have one, but I have advanced as far on the pay scale as possible, and frankly, working with a scissors, with an assembly line mentality, got old years ago, but no one is paying attention.
I have worked in five different areas of employment in my life: five years in the grocery business, two years in the military, (where I worked as a file clerk for sixteen months), eight years in the auto parts business, eight years in the trades, and seventeen years in the classroom. But I’m “only” fifty-nine, and what I lack in the gas-tank, as far as energy goes, is balanced by what I have in my brain, impatiently awaiting relocation to my lap-top.
Becoming familiar with the blogging world, has resulted in my settling into a routine of writing every day, not the great American novel-no interest there-but, rather, essays that range from 750 words to a thousand or so. My range of topics varies from the subjects that I pick up in my blogging travels, to events of community interest, to matters pertaining to the roller coaster ride which constitutes life.
Now, I have ventured out into the new world of face/book. I have resisted until this point, because I simply was not ready, but have taken numerous steps to ease my way out of the 20th century and into the 21st. I didn’t want to rush the process, but a dozen years is long enough. Now that I am interacting with those of you who I have taught over the past twenty or so years, I am delighted.
The degree of comfort is unsurpassed. Folks out there are welcoming me as an old friend, and making me feel as though I belong in the midst of them, no longer hovering on the fringes, wondering what the whole thing is about. Lito has been so helpful, answering my questions, and offering snippets of assistance, as I need it. He advised me to simply make friend requests as I encountered old friends, and that it would come together just fine, as opposed to going on a spree, and requesting 500 friends at one time.
I like this approach, because I am trying to touch base with everyone, as I go along, and this makes it more feasible. The thing that amazes me the most, is that people who have moved out of the area, remain as engaged in the community flow of matters, as ever. To me, it seems so much more effective than the old-fashioned exchange of snail-mail letters. There might be eight or ten comments on any given post, and each represents an attempt by someone to reach out.
It’s a brand new world out there, and I am ready for action-ready for danger. I am ready to climb any paths, to any heights. Just make sure that the entryway is wheelchair accessible. My brain is going to make it farther down that path than my knees.