Tuesday, December 21, 2004

the shock of the skidmore tragedy is wearing off. the anger at my ill-behaved adolescent students is growing. it's unreal to me that students can behave so poorly especially at the cost of their peers. their cruelty doesn't cease to amaze me. during the performance of a group of girls (their skit final) sixth hour, one boy ripped a huge fart and the whole room erupted. horrible. that's after the snickers and whispering and snap bracelet snapping that preceeded the gasious eruption. so rude.

four days till christmas. only one 3/4 day of school left.

come christmas come.

Monday, December 20, 2004

you may have heard about the murder and abduction of the pregnant woman in skidmore missouri this past weekend. a 23 year old pregnant woman was strangled and then cut open, her unborn 8 month old fetus removed from her stomach and kidnapped. at first no one knew where the baby was, if it was alive, etc. thankfully though, the baby was found in kansas, abducted by a mother of two who had been chatting with the woman she killed over the internet posing interest in adopting one of the dogs the deceased woman bred.

this story has upset me greatly. it's one horrible monstrous thing to kill a young woman, but quite another ungodly atrocity to slit open her stomach and remove her unborn child to take as your own. good god, what went wrong? how can such events take place without intervention on god's part? it is situations like these that plague my thoughts and question my theology about the immanence of god and god's participation in this created world. questions of theodicy. why didn't god intervene? why didn't the woman's mother show up just a few hours earlier? why didn't the neighbors hear the screams? why couldn't her husband have come home for lunch?

i don't know the answers, but i am stressed by the questions. World wars bother me. Holocausts (both Jewish and Japanese) haunt me. But something so wretched and so close to home take away my joy and irritate my conscious.

oh well. something to think about during these joyful holidays. joyful for some.

Monday, December 13, 2004

I thought about my students a lot this weekend. Even though the past two days were jammed packed with a Mary Kay open house, Emily's sorority party, teaching Sunday school, and going to parties, etc., I often discovered them creeping into my mind: remember us? You are our new teacher! We love you!

Do I love them? Do I actually like teaching high school?

Sure enough, as I drove twenty minutes to work this morning still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, anticipation filled my stomach and warmed my heart as I thought about teaching another day. How blessed am I! A job! And I like it!

Those feelings were gone by 7th hour however. Little monsters. How dare they tease me into thinking I enjoyed this? My back hurts, my mind is fried and I can't get my forehead to relax out of its permanant frown.

Oh well. A job's a job and I do the best I can with what I've got. From the hideous talking urchins to the quiet scholars I must do what I can to preserve what little control I have over this educational environment. I will teach poetry! I will encourage open-mindedness! I will lecture on the first dramatic production broadcast by General Electric! And I will not laugh when I'm being the disciplinarian and they crack clever jokes. And I will not let them get under my skin. And I will not become attached to even the most likable of the bunch.

I will do my job and leave come January. And hopefully the charming and challenging children will leave my mind forever.

Don't get too attached and don't get too discouraged. This too shall pass.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

I teach school. It is hard. Every day I wake up at the butt crack of dawn, oh wait, no I don't, I wake up BEFORE then to shower, dress and mentally prepare myself to be a full time teacher.

That's correct. I am a long term substitute at Savannah High School just north of St. Jo Mo. I have replaced the drama/communications/english teacher and am now officially teaching applied communications, creative writing (twice), drama (twice) and mass communications. Six classes a day. And the 25-30 students in each class are draining me.

This is not to say that I'm not grateful. I would much rather be teaching full time in podunk-ville, USA than inner city Austin, TX. My farm boys are a welcome change to the huge hall monitors, policemen, and students escorted out in handcuffs that are considered regulars where I sub in Austin.

When I first walked into the High School in Savannah, a girl held the door open for me. When i entered the office, two male students stepped aside to let me pass. I almost fell over I was so shocked. I've traded profanity for flatulence in the classroom, and locked doors for i-don't-even-have-to-put-my-purse-in-a-closet. I can't say I appreciate the loud and deadly smells of my students, but at least the candle in my classroom isn't considered a weapon.