Saturday, May 17, 2014


We have only three school days left until summer break. Most teachers I know are saying or posting on the Facebooks, “Wow, this year really flew by! I can’t believe it went by so fast!” (Elementary teachers use lots of exclamation marks!) They may go on about how they’ll miss the little ones and can’t wait to see them next year. My reaction, as always, is “Wow, why the the hell did this year take so long? Who took my @#$&ing shoe?” (I use lots of question marks.) I know most of us, when finishing an event in our life, will take some time to reminisce. We look at the good things and smile, realizing that it wasn’t so hard. In fact it was quite enjoyable. (When I say ‘we’ I mean other teachers. I’m still looking for my other shoe.)

I usually wait until I get back to Oklahoma to reflect on my year and I invite a familiar partner for these conversations. I have an old friend from my years in the US Navy submarine force, he goes by the name of Captain Morgan. Well, the Captain and I sit out on the porch and we talk about how the last school year went and what I’ll do differently next year. We will discuss the progress and regress of the condition concerning education today. After a while the conversation turns to our puzzlement on the popularity of cats, being they’re such assholes. Then we’ll stop talking and just listen to the music really loud.

This is just before I incrementally increased the volume
of my lesson.
I’ve already started preparing for the summer by getting my hair cut and trimming my beard. I usually do this three times a year: Aug., Dec., and then again in May. The main reason I trim my beard is so I can eat pilot bread with peanut butter on it. I usually end up looking a like a two-year old eating a banana cream pie when I eat something like that with a scraggly beard. The long beard also confuses the kids because they can’t tell if I’m smiling or frowning. Keeping them confused is the secret for keeping them from climbing the walls or removing my shit from my desk. If they’re not sure whether I’ll bite them or not, well, that works to my advantage. When I trimmed my beard, one of my students said, “You look like you did when you were younger.” I know he wasn’t trying to compliment me, but I kind of took it that way. I’m also convinced that the students’ secret in controlling a teacher is keeping us confused. If I think they might bite me, I won’t stand too close. And farting. I hypothesize that they use farting as a protective shield, keeping teachers at a distance while they continue in their mischievous ways.

I am also taking the summer off from my graduate program. Someday I hope to be a reading specialist. Which means that I am learning how to teach kids to read. I’m learning new skills to replace my older, much less effective attempts of getting kids to read. Apparently, just repeating myself with incrementally increased volume levels does not help. Actually, according to studies, being screamed at does not “positively affect the learning process of a student” (Irwin,p.81). Whatever nerds, if I can scare a child into knowledge, by god I’m going to scare them. But it will be nice not having to read and write college junk for the summer. Besides, some professors don’t have a good sense of humor. When asked to contribute on a topic I had zero idea about (maybe I wasn’t paying attention at the time), I used the standard, “a professor, a PHD candidate and a rabbi walk into a bar....” She waited for the punchline. Trouble is, I had no punchline, still don’t. Every time before when I started to contribute in this manner, I was cut off and ignored, allowing somebody else, who might have been actually paying attention, to speak on that topic. After an awkward pause, I just shamefully said, “I don’t know.” Which is what I should have done in the first place, since I had no idea what she was asking me. Now I have to think of a new way to deflect having to answer questions I don’t know a thing about. 
Here is Monica taking her turn on the tire swing.
And a student in the background who is worn out from
all the day's learning.

So, now we head south in less than a week. I’ve purchased a new lawn mower, new smoker, and am ready for midweek naps and getting reacquainted with the Captain. I love summers. And my wife. I also love my wife.