Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another year over, Another bag of trash....New beginnings in the middle of the year...

Throughout the school year, charts are made, papers filed, folders maintained and records kept with the utmost skill and care of Ebenezer Scrooge's clerks. Yet in one or two afternoons, all of that makes its way into two large clear trash bags that are tossed curbside at a school, waiting to be hauled off to points we don't talk about much.

All that time. All that work. All that evidence of an academic year well or misspent, a student's growth chronicled for posterity - or until June, anyway. Some kids take it all home. Others toss it out right in class, so as to say,"...why lug it home, I can't keep it - there's no space, I'm done with it, already." Yes, this from eight and nine year old kids.

They argue a good point; why keep things we don't need, and don't WANT ? What is it in our minds that says, "...yes, save it, you may need it..." Is it some kind of 1930's frugal depression era, two generations removed genetic reprogramming that has made it's way into our molecular structure ? Are teachers more prone to this hoarding behavior because of the constant threat of cutbacks, not having enough, transient children that come in after all has been given out, and are still expected to come up with what is needed ?

This past week I was conscience of my behavior on this issue on two fronts.

First, at school, I was careful to save as many pocket folders as possible for kids who never have any, or not enough, or need them replaced mid year and claim their parents have no money; despite the new PSP game they just got. I pulled as many paper clips as I could find out of stacks of papers that were discarded, but made sure as many stacks as possible were given to my students. When I had saturated my kids, the overflow went to a neighboring class. Usable crayons were saved, stubs were not; no work books were thrown out, they were given to children, half used, half NOT used.

Second, apart from school, I eliminated something off my new business cards; my singer web site address. I was half aware of the decision as the design emerged for the new look and more focused on what to show as my purpose in having a card !
Educator. Writer. Cancer Care Advisor.
Included was my name, email, phone and this blog spot. (Shameless plug, but, did you subscribe yet ?)
Then I typed my singer site, and just looked at it. Then took it off. Then I took off the three descriptors.
Ten minutes were spent putting these four items on and off in different combos.
Then in one moment, I got zen and let it go. With only my name, phone, email and blog site on the face of the card, it is multipurpose, uncommitted, reflects the green/simple design of the template and shows a spot where if one wishes to know more, they can go. Basta.

Like the students, I made that choice to get rid of what isn't needed anymore. At least right now, as in 250 cards worth. Like handouts and student magazines, there will always be more. I look forward to seeing the new cards with the anticipation of a new school year's clean desk, shiny floors and sharpened pencils.

But there is plenty of time for that. For now students and teachers alike take a much earned riposa, to reflect and regenerate for the paper collection to begin again.

Summer - Welcome.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer's Song

What is it about Summer that makes everyone so happy ?

For many of my friends and I who are in education, it's a no brainer; No School !

As a college student, it was a great job and making money for the next semester, then going out at night in Lake George for all of the shenanigans to follow !
For the gardener, it's seeing the payoff for the efforts of planting, pruning and waiting.
Swimming, picnics, travel, leisure, reading, and a shady hammock seem to beckon in the season's offing...

This solstice, this year, for me was unexpected. On Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, though I had planned a quiet get a way in my fave ocean side town, the Universe took a different turn.

My mom fell, was hospitalized, and relocated to a rehabilitation facility an hour outside her/our hometown.
Great news; she is expected to return to not only her prior strength, but BETTER than before ! There will be some changes in day to day living for a while, but all early signs are that they are fairly unobtrusive and amenable; the goal is to return elderly to their most desired, familiar and comfortable surroundings. Mom shares this goal, and is working like an olympian to get there. She is amazing; at 85 she is "working out and wants the pants with the stripe." No problem !

So, with that and spending the last month commuting upstate on the weekends, I have had time to think and decide that though Plan A is cancelled, Plan B looks good.
Really good.

I had vowed last summer that I would NOT be upstate the whole vacation, no way, no how. I still hold that proclamation true. The difference is that while I drive to and from visiting Mom, and stay with her during her transition back to her house, I will be working on projects that have been pushed aside for too long.

While Java the Free Range Kitty continues finding her inner hunter beast, I will be writing, taking on line courses, swimming, visiting with old and new friends, meeting my great nieces/nephews, celebrating my Mom's achievements, shopping at the farm markets, and renewing myself for the school year to come. I will take a holiday at the ocean, but I am keeping my plans fluid and I am confident it will fall into place.

THE SECRET, by Rhonda Byrne, suggests that there are no accidents, that fate plays out "the way it is supposed to."

How I, we, deal with that hand is OUR choice. And for now, for this summer, I think it's all worked out quite nicely.