Monday, July 31, 2006

Summer reflections continued.......

The wave slowly rolls over me, the methaphorical tide of excitement and focus that comes with the end of every summer break. At this point, the wave is piddly, just touching my toes, a refreshing tickle, but the promise is there. Soon I'll be completely washed in the joyous frenzy of preparation and planning!

How much will my kids have learned this summer or lost over time? Will they have matured JUST A LITTLE, enough to make a difference in their (our) day? How will the new additions (I expect 2) change our classroom community?

And please Lord, let them all have been protected and safe.

I welcome August with open arms, and expect to live each of the last summer days to the fullest. I'll go to the beach one more time, use a spa gift certificate, and say goodbye to my youngest child as she sets off for college.

So much left to do. So much to look forward to. So much to be grateful for.

Friday, July 21, 2006

WAtch out! I'm in teacher-mode!!!

It's looking like I will get an intern this year!! YEEHA! After a year "off", (the candidate pool was very limited last year), I am so psyched to get into the swing of the mentoring process!! I liked my IA last year, she was talented and accomplished, but my real satisfaction is teaching pre-service teachers.

Instantly, my outlook about the new year is changed. Where there was uncertaintly, I am now blessed with the joyous anticipation! I'm feeling very lucky.

More later as I get my internship guidebook/information together!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Parent-School Connections... tested....

I was wrestling with the problem of an irate parent. She had been receptive, in the school's corner for the 6 weeks since her son started, responding positively to calls and notes home, getting him to school on time, etc. When the principal had to call about her sweetie-throwing rocks at the windows of the trailer units out back of the school, she shape-shifted to a venom spewing supervillian, projecting her intense disatisfaction through the phone.

"Don't you be calling me at work, Moth** F***er!! I can't help what shit my boy does there at school. What you think I can do about it, anyway? He don't listen to me, and now he don't listen to YOU!"

I'd been standing at my boss's desk, at the ready in case the mother had any specific questions I could answer. I was glad from the start that she wanted to call the parent herself, but as I heard the yelling coming across the lines, I was doubly grateful. There are few things less troublesome than a screaming, yelling parent.

In years past, I was so surprised by the tantruming adult, I didnt' get a quick handle on many of the outbursts I faced. It took me three times to learn to quietly hang up the phone on a parent who was threatening to hurt me or cursing voraciously. Believe it or not, I had thought hanging up wasn't even an option.... like I was obligated to listen attentively to the threats/name calling because, after all, we are trying to build the parent-school partnership.

This said, strengthening the home-school connection is one of my goals next year. I've already started dreaming about school again, so I guess summer is farther along than I let myself believe!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Maine memories.....

Just back from a wonderful week "Down East".... My husband has been trying to get me to go anywhere but the southern beaches for the last 20 years. I've resisted, the southern belle that I am, but am now sorry I was so stubborn. We enjoyed Boston, but the best part was the Down East section of gorgeous Maine!! (See accompanying photos.)

God's country.
Heaven on earth.

And the folks were so very, well, nice. I have been a bigot all my life, thinking southerners were the most hospitable. I have learned, so late in life, that I have been wrong. Maine. Maine. Maine. It's my new mantra, my daily chant into relaxation and rejeuvenation. Maine. And we have already made our reservations for next year.

While I admit we traveled in a relatively small geographic area, I kept wondering as I looked around: Where were all the poorly behaved kids? No screaming toddlers, no militant middle schoolers? Just happy, active children. Everywhere I looked. Although I will confess I wish their parents had been stricter with them about running while in a restaurant, I was amazed at the fun I had "baby gazing". Even the newborns were well-behaved. And when they weren't, who cared anyway? They were just so damn cute. Case in point:

While in LL Bean, I met a young mother feeding one of her twin infants. The other was fussing in his stroller and I asked this lovely, calm woman if I could try and entertain him. She kindly agreed, and I began to talk silly to Keegan in hopes of settling him down. He was just hungry, and very little of my cajoling worked. The mother's three year old little girl Molly ran up to check me out, and together we tried to hush the pathetic, "starving" tot. As the feeding twin finished off his bottle, and the mother began to switch arms to put him away in the stroller, I got a first look at her prosthetic right arm. With a smoothness that surprised me, she made the switcheroo, began to feed little Keegan, the Molly and I got to play with Braedon.

She was a teacher, middle school Math, and so was her husband. She was just waiting for her teenage cousin to finish shopping so she could get her brood back home ASAP. Throughout this torture of shopping-with-babies, she never seemed to get flustered. Not once. I remember tripping up ALL THE TIME when my babies were small, always alittled frazzled.

She was magnificent.

On the way back to our "resort home", I counted my meeting Molly and Keegan and Braedon's mother as one of the joys of our vacation.

That, and the discount prices at LL Bean.