Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Unending sun; rain
threatens then abates, clouds move
eastward skipping us.
Cries of summer are everywhere. Neighbors are having parties for birthdays and graduations. Children are out until after dark in the warmth under the streetlights. Teachers are complaining about how hard the last two weeks of school are, their teacher bodies breaking down from the intensity of the year.
Year? Bad math. Now, I’m pretty sure teaching is a hard job. Me? I need a job where I can access a relief station whenever I need it and that doesn’t happen in a classroom; teachers must have physical fortitude I do not possess.
But teaching is a pretty cool set-up, even though you have to work hard, dealing with personalities of students and parents and administrators, large classrooms, long work days beyond the classroom, limited or outdated resources despite all the tax money collected, out of pocket expenses because otherwise the project would not be completed, or that one child who doesn’t have the resource needs a pencil and notebook courtesy you. Teacher burnout is extreme these days. Young people I graduated from university with in 1998 who went on to get their teaching certificates have already quit teaching because of burnout, not because the job was too hard for them.
What are teachers complaining about really? I would be complaining about the lack of potty breaks, but no other job I know gets three months off at summer, a week off at spring break, a week off at Thanksgiving break, two weeks or more off at Christmas, and other random federal holidays off, not to mention teacher workdays where not a single teacher can be found working on the school premises. The way I figure the math teachers work about 7 and a half months of the year. And they have more income than I do while I work year round with much more limited vacation time. I should be so lucky as to be in academe. I would be happy to complain too.
Now don’t get me wrong. Since first grade I have been in love with teachers. They know so much and I’ve learned so much from them. Teachers have many faces. I’ve had teachers who were family,and friends, and teachers who had teaching certificates, Master’s degrees, and Ph.Ds. I’ve had teachers who had none of these. Some teachers I never met in person. Because of teachers, I’m an avid auto-didact.
I’m not going on a huge rant today. Let me just say there are so many ways our school districts fail teachers and students, and so many ways we could improve each child having access to education without making each child conform to a standard, and misspending precious tax dollars. Forcing every student into a college track does not honor the individuality of students nor the teaching abilities of teachers, dampens any special talent students or teachers may have, and brings less to the tables of our communities. Teaching to the test is doing generations of teachers and students a disservice when they learn only how to pass a test and not how to think for themselves or how to critically analyze a situation. Our world needs diversity. Remember, these students will be taking care of us and running our world for us one day.
Summer is when I think of my younger days the most. I’ve worked every summer since I was 12, but there was always time enough to play. Ah, those glorious days of discovery after we started getting driver’s licenses and began exploring our world. Remembering languid days with the whole summer ahead basking by the riverside, oiled golden skin gleaming in the sun, exposing as much skin as legally possible, hiking to private out of the way places where one could bare it all to get that line-free tan. Making the run over to the coast because it’s a nice day in the valley and finding a fogged-in beach. Road trips to camp in the woods or see different parts of the state. Moving to a town two hours away from my mother. Moving an hour closer after more than a decade. A rare trip or two out of state, a few wild adventures; what was survived and what was enjoyed and what I learned.
Having the time of your life. The time to experience you. Taking the time to know yourself through your own lens and not the lens of your parents. For some of us this learning experience never ends.
Summer is not wasted on youth. It is a time to explore, to learn with only oneself as a teacher. Nor is it wasted on teachers who need to refresh after the intensity of sharing their time with classrooms full of hundreds of children.
And now for our musical interlude and listening pleasure, a little classic raucous rock and roll, the forever irreverent Alice Cooper and School’s Out For Summer.
Then there is the secret truth about teachers. Good teachers never stop learning and they never stop teaching. Most teachers I know take classes or teach classes during the summer to keep up their skills. I’d like them to have a class on not complaining about their jobs when the job seem pretty advantageous to me. I’m glad they have jobs. I’m glad they are looking forward to their summer off. I admit a certain amount of jealousy, a tinge of envy for a long summer stretching in front of you.
Just don’t ask me how my summer is going, especially if you are a teacher. I work. Full time. All year. I’m grateful to see a little bit of the day before I come to work in the morning and after I go home at night. A two day weekend is no longer enough for this body to refresh before facing the next week’s work. The week is long and the summer longer. I don’t earn or take nearly enough vacation. And moi? I’d love to have a whole summer off just once more before I die and while I can still enjoy it.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I am such a cheap date, only takes a short walk in the evening to make me happy, especially when I can catch color shots. Today we have unidentified little purplies; a lovely sweep of orange California poppies; calla lilies trumpeting toward the sky; a block of wetland fenced off near my house which has a dozen variety of trees and grass and cattails and the most amazing shades of green in sun and shade; tiny bushy daisies; a spot of bright pink but not carnations; and a spot of pinks smelling sweetly of carnation;purple foxglove in the shade; this unidentified spiky green globe with a magenta center on a delicate long three foot stalk waving in the breeze; glorious purple veined hollyhocks; and glad to see salmon/apricot/peachy gladiolas coming; pink and white bindweed; a yellow sedum blossom in a rock garden; roses of many shades and varieties which shared their aroma while I captured these images; a pure white rose looking like a bridal bouquet; and a tiny pink rose that belongs on a baby’s dress or a fairy gown; these lilies looked like firecrackers going off from a distance; brilliant yellow St John’s Wort; and a soft yellow day lily.
Currently Reading – Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and A Fifty Year Search (2013, adoption, Ireland) by Martin Sixsmith; The Kept (2014, fiction) by James Scott; The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, and The Science of Suffering (2010, science) by Melanie Thernstrom. Yes, concurrently. Check out my From Me 2 U Book Review page.
This week I have been grateful for:
- Evening breezes of fresh air through my open door, bearing the scent of freshly mown hay from the farmer’s field outside of town, and the neighbor’s barbeques.
- Farmers. Gardeners. Fresh food.
- Indulging in a bit of a whine for today’s muse.
- Getting over the societal stigma of how I look in sleeveless blouses and dresses as a way to deal with my personal HVAC issues. I can no longer cool the body through the lower extremities; flip flops or Birkenstocks are out because of plantar fasciitis and needing arch support to prevent foot pain. Trade-off is revealing how gorgeous arm fat can really be, soft and cuddly and cooling, outside a pretty blouse.
- Meeting the happy people who own the flowers I take pictures of.
- Listening to the neighbor’s cumpleaños fiesta, bounce house, children screaming, piñata, mariachi music and dancing. Fiesta!
- Neighbors who always shut down their party celebrations at 10:00 pm. Enjoying the mild evening and the music lasting til 11:00. It’s ok to be flexible. Especially when you’re enjoying the fiesta. Turns out the mariachi band does 1950s rock and roll as well. Ah, diversity!
- Having a 15 minute lie-down at work when I was feeling sick and for once it helped.
- Summer reading. I’ve found so much good new fiction and so many good new writers this year.
- Getting a couple movies finished and returned to the lending library. Takes me more than one night to watch a movie usually, because by the time I sit down still enough to watch I fall asleep.
- Having such a lovely late spring.
- Looking forward to summer solstice. An interesting marker for time.
- Planning an outdoor space to relax with a book, have a cool drink, and catch some rays or shade as needed. It may take me a couple years. Merely a matter of budgeting the money and getting somebody else to do the work my way (the right way the first time).
- Stash brand Chai Green sun tea. Iced.
- That particular raspy brustly noise of leaves forced to rub together by the wind making me think of feet sliding through sand.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch