Can you believe once upon a time and for several years I posted five times a week? My how times change. Back on October 12, Hugh Jackman and I shared a birthday and this blog turned 9 years old. I certainly never imagined I'd be doing this nine years later and although the pace of my output has slowed considerably I don't want to stop completely. This forum has provided me with people whose friendships have sustained me through some of my darkest days and who have rejoiced with me in great triumphs. I like to think I have reciprocated that to some folks as well. I am grateful, so very grateful for the friends who have become like family and the little community we've been able to form.
In other files marked "the times they are a changin'" I offer two examples of educational anachronisms. This week in one of my libraries a little boy ran to my desk carrying a book so he could alert me to the "bad word" contained in the title. The book in question was Dick and Jane: a Christmas Story. I had to explain that it was a nickname for Richard that has fallen out of favor.
Later, a fourth grade class came in with their brand new math workbooks for a new curriculum aligned with the mandated Common Core standards. As a table full of students hunched over their workbooks crunching numbers I happened to notice the two pages contained several word problems using a stamp collection as the main reference point from which to derive information. Let me repeat that. A stamp collection. A fourth grade class. A poverty-stricken, inner city school. In the year 2014. Cuz, yo, that's how we roll in da hood.....with our postage stamp collections. Bitches be all up in my face wantin' a British Guiana 1c magenta.
Sweet mother of irrelevancy, if we have to stop a math lesson to explain what the hell a postage stamp is and why on earth someone would have an entire collection of them because the kids are all giving that cocked head, confused puppy look I think we've derailed ourselves a bit here. Could we perhaps enter the 21st century and provide appropriate examples of things the kids might actually come in contact with so they can grasp how math affects their daily lives? If you want to introduce stamp collecting as a concept just say so and I will come up with a lesson integrating vocabulary, geography, history, art, technology and even math. Furthermore, the kids will be on the edges of their seats and learn something that may actually spark their imagination and intellect because it will be cohesive rather than random. This? This is just plain stupid.
We've also had all sorts of automotive traumas. In the last three months each of my three children has had an accident. Thank God, no one was injured. That's the most important thing. The cars have fared less well. Two were totaled, one sustained minor damage. Calypso's car has had transmission problem and is back on the shop for more of the same. Mr. Lime's Clampett-mobile style truck had the brakes go and tries to slowly poison the driver with carbon monoxide unless the window is cracked open. It's now in the shop for a new muffler and brakes. I'm just wondering which automotive gods I have pissed off and if an offering of motor oil and Turtle Wax will help appease them. Then again, one could say a Higher Power has had my back since the people I love most have been spared injury.
In happy news, I've been able to teach my series of free community yoga classes as practice of my new skills. Did I mention I was the first among my large class of teacher trainees to have to teach the public? How about that it was before we'd had the classes on sequencing or providing physical assistance to students? It was nerve-wracking to prepare for but fun to do once I was there. My
mantra for nerves was, "It ain't cancer. It's yoga." Very zen, huh? I'm sure the ancient gurus chanted that in Sanskrit or Tibetan. I was so encouraged by the two teachers who came to my classes, as well as my fellow trainees. And then there were the two ladies who were brand new to yoga and who told me they were hooked immediately because of the message that there is no competition and that they listen to their own bodies whether what they do looks like the teacher or the person on the mat next to them or not. I was THRILLED that they "got it" and were empowered by that.
So here I am nine years out, working in two urban schools running libraries, working toward being certified as a yoga instructor. I've been through a child's serious illness, my own serious illness, five surgeries, and more cars than I care to count. My three children who were in elementary school and junior high when I began this blog are all graduated from high school and on to the next steps of their lives. One is in Georgia, one in a local institute of higher learning, and one is preparing to go to Haiti next month in preparation for a later 1-3 month internship there. Mr. Lime is counting the years to retirement and I am embarking on new adventures within new communities of friends.