The Life of a Teacher

For those of you just joining the conversation, I am an elementary school teacher. 2nd grade to be precise. There are a lot of people who get what I do each day, and there are some who do not. I've heard it all before, short days, great vacations, no pressure, ahh....the good life.

Now, don't get me wrong, my days are much shorter than most people (I do work most days from 7:00 - 4:00.) I get home each day at a very decent hour. The vacations are amazing, I freely admit. I love my job!! It is rewarding and a great deal of fun...........

...........But is my job one with little to no pressure????

I don't think so.

I'm only in the classroom from 8:45 to 3:05 (with kids) true, but I'm teaching every second of that time. I have 20 kids in my class and I have to know each one. I can't go into a parent-teacher conference and say, 'I don't know your kid!' I think in many other jobs I could space out sometimes, chat with coworkers, use the phone--I can't do that as a teacher. Heck, there is only two times during the day in which I can use the restroom. I am "On" from the time the bell rings until the day ends. Teaching is about people's lives and emotions. It's about relationships and connection. It's emotionally exhausting. You have to play so many different roles. And you're always watching--to make sure you don't hurt someones feelings, to make sure you don't miss that opportunity to launch a kid in the right direction, because everything you say or do has such tremendous impact on them. The toughest part about this job is keeping a classroom unified and focused. Every kid is different. Every day with every kid is different. If you have 20 kids in a room, every one of them is at a different stage of personal and emotional development. Each one has a different grasp of the subject. I can't simply teach to the whole class. I have to teach to each kid in the class. I interact with hundreds of kids each day, and I try to engage each one in a personal interaction. You have to pick up on what people already know, what they want to know, and what they need to know. You need listening skills to figure out how to fit your material into each particular person's framework

No pressure you say.........

......well how is this for a statistic. A student who is a poor reader at the end of 1st grade has a 90 % chance of remaining a poor reader for the rest of their life. 90%!!!!!!! I don't believe I have to go into great detail of what that means for these students, but if reading is the cornerstone of education, and education level and success are the indicators for success in life...........

Still think I deal in a pressure free environment??? My success or failure as a teacher of an individual child will most likely dictate what the remainder of their life will be like.

Here is a part of an article I found that sums up what I just said.

Students who do not "learn to read" during the first three years of school experience enormous difficulty when they are subsequently asked to "read to learn." Teaching students to read by the end of third grade is the single most important task assigned to elementary schools. During the first three years of schooling, students "learn to read." That is, they develop the capacity to interpret the written symbols for the oral language that they have been hearing since birth. Starting in fourth grade, schooling takes on a very different purpose, one that in many ways is more complex and demanding of higher-order thinking skills. If efficient reading skills are not developed by this time, the English language, history, mathematics, current events, and the rich tapestries of literature and science become inaccessible. In addition, a strong body of evidence shows that most students who fall behind in reading skills never catch up with their peers who become to fluent readers. They fall further and further behind in school, become frustrated, and drop out at much higher rates than their classmates. They find it difficult to obtain rewarding employment and are effectively prevented from drawing on the power of education to improve and enrich their lives. Researchers speak of this syndrome as the "Matthew Effect"—the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Still say no pressure????

Many kids in my class come from great homes with great parents. But there are many who don't. Let me tell you some stories. I once had a kid come in and tell me how his brother and he had been arguing the night before. His father, obviously upset with the situation, gave he and his brother each a knife and said "If you want to kill each other, then do it." I've had a student in my class who watched his mother stabbed multiple times by a boy friend. Can't count the amount of times I've had students removed from their homes due to abuse in the home. I have had students in my class that have gone through abuse I can't even begin to imagine. The fatherless home is all to common in my world. The parent-less world is one becoming all too common. I once had a student say to me during a reading lesson, completely unprovoked mind you "My daddy is leaving our house because he told my mommy he doesn't love her. My mommy cries all the time now." Wow!!! How do you focus that kid onto his lesson? These students deal with a pain many of us can't imagine, and somehow it is my job to help them through this and get them to learn what they need to learn in school. No Pressure.......elementary school is all giggles and warm fuzzies. I had a student one year, a 1st grader, who spent the 1st 5 years of his life with his dad. His dad would go to work all day long, from sun rise to sun set, while this little boy was left at home BY HIMSELF. All day long by himself. He had no social skills, and his story is not un-common in the schools of today. I deal with kids like this everyday. I could go on and on and on and on.........but these are the kids I teach each day. I have kids in my class each year, imagine the most annoying, disruptive behaviors you can in a child. Now double it, and imagine spending 6 hours a day in a room with them, controlling them, making sure they stay focused so they don't disturb the others while you have to teach them the single most complicated language in the world (English that is) addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, subject, predicate, etc, etc., etc. (7 year olds mind you). I must get them reading, writing, and solving math problems at a certain level by the end of each year, or..............well, we have already covered that story. My school year is a sprint......a really long sprinting obstacle course (the obstacles pop as the race goes) toward a definite finish line. The gun sounds at the end of August and the year goes full speed until the middle of June. It is not a leisurely walk. It is go go go go go.......

Now don't get me wrong, I love my job. God made me to do this. It is my calling. It is the reason I exist and I am thankful for the position he has put me in. I LOVE IT!!!! Everything about it, everything I just put forth. I love every bit of it. It is very fun, extremely exciting, very difficult, filled with all sorts of pressure, physically and emotionally exhausting, and each year is a great adventure.

I don't pretend that my job is any more difficult than anybody else's. All jobs have their challenges. But the next time you think your kids are driving you crazy....too the brink....well know this........ they spend more time with me each day than they do with you.

so if you wonder why I am the way I am away from work.........well, the rest of my day is very, very serious in nature. Every thing I do has someones future on the line.......I hold your child's future in the palm of my hand....think about what you expect out of your child's teacher....what do you expect and hope for in your child's future.....and then tell me my job carries with it no pressure.

and you know what I say about that..........

Ahhhh........It Is Definitely......THE GOOD LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

New Music Tuesday

Hey, it's time for a new item on the wanderings. New music Tuesday. Every Tuesday, new music and movies are placed upon the shelves. More often than not, I find myself purchasing some type of music or movie. So why don't I share (with all 3 of you that tune in).

ASIA : Phoenix

The 1st release by the ORIGINAL members of Asia in over 25 years. John Wetton, Geoffery Downes, Carl Palmer, and Steve Howe. I saw this and figured it was just another Asia album released by a group long gone. "Who is in the band today?" I think......What, the original Asia?!?!?!? Check please. I have given it one listen thus. If you liked the 1st 2 Asia albums, I think you'll enjoy this one quite a bit.

Rating: 4 stars

Rush : Snakes and Arrows Live

I am not going to bother to rate this one on my own. Instead, I will let you read what an actual review says about this album. It capture my thoughts perfectly.

Here we go again! Rush are perhaps the only band that can get away with issuing a studio album and following it up with a live record of the tour for that same album, as is the case here. Is there any band on a major label out there that has as many live records as Rush does? People buy 'em. Lots of people. The reason is that yes, Rush fans are fanatics, and who wouldn't want that in a fan base? The other reason is that they issue new studio recordings so infrequently that fans are grateful to have live offerings documenting a particular tour. Another mystery is how, after 33 years, a band with this kind of longevity manages to stay focused and restless, changing gears and musical approaches to its core sound. Certainly not all of their recordings are on the same par, but regardless of musical and cultural trends, they've managed not only to remain true to themselves as musicians, but to be very successful in doing so. This band still sells a lot of records — not even the Rolling Stones can say that. When 2002's Vapor Trails appeared, it had been six long years since Test for Echo. Rush shocked everybody: they came out rocking harder than anytime since the 1970s Four years later and the passage of their 30th anniversary, they followed that with Snakes & Arrows, a big bad noisy yet melodic album that continued in that vein. This brings us to Snakes & Arrows Live. There are 27 tracks spread out over both discs recorded in Rotterdam over two nights in October of 2007. Nine of the tracks for the album are played here, with some nice twists and turns during the instrumental sections — and drummer Neil Peart is just a wildman on most of them. The other 18 cuts come from throughout the band's career and mark some nice changes in the set list. Sure, "Tom Sawyer" is here, as are "Freewill," "Limelight," "Distant Early Warning," and "Spirit of Radio." That said, other staples, such as "Closer to the Heart," "By-Tor and the Snow Dog," "Anthem," etc., are absent. In addition, some of the aforementioned Rush standards have been moved to the end of the set, with a killer encore comprised of "One Little Victory," "A Passage to Bangkok," and "YYZ" closing it out on disc two. But it all begins with a stellar version of "Limelight." Geddy Lee's voice sounds better than it has perhaps ever. The years have been kind in lowering it just a tad and filling out its lower register. He is also playing the hell out of his bass. He — like his other two bandmates, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer/lyricist Peart — is just a monster musician. Lifeson's sound has grown wildly atmospheric in recent years, filling out whole corridors in the color and texture palette so that Lee can play more bass than keyboards. He can still let the solos rip (check "Freewill" for a stunner), walking some crazy line between prog, blues, and shred, but his manner of coloring sound at this point is truly wonderful. There's not much you can say about Peart that hasn't been said already. There have only been two rock drummers in his league : Ginger Baker and Keith Moon, and the latter is long gone. His playing all through this offering is hotter and tighter, more forceful and still somewhat restrained. His reliance on those numerous low tom-toms and bass drums has grown over the years, and that tribal edge it lends to the new music gives it a much more primal feel. The band's live versions of the new tunes, like "The Way the Wind Blows" and the "Armor and Sword" (whose intro is directly inspired by King Crimson's "Larks' Tongue in Aspic") are simply awesome. Rush take their time and let the songs assert themselves from the written compositions, but only so far; they allow themselves to get inside and turn them every which way while never losing the thread. The new material is spread out over the two discs, with the largest portion of it happening toward the end of disc one with three cuts. Other highlights include "Malignant Narcissism" — with a popping rumbling bass intro by Lee and Lifeson's power chords that bring on the feedback — and "The Main Monkey Business." "Hope" is a transcendent two minutes and 12 seconds, with Lifeson's solo acoustic guitar working through modal and droning folk scales before the others rejoin him for the dread-inducing opening thunder of "Distant Early Warning," followed by "The Spirit of Radio" and "Tom Sawyer" just before the aforementioned encore. In other words folks: it is all killer. After nearly 35 years, Rush are as vital and creative as ever — not just in the recording studio either, as anybody who's seen them live in recent years will attest. If you're a fan, you gotta have this, and that's it.

Rating : "1 billion stars!!!"

Here is a grand sampling of my daughter's very 1st photo excursion. All pictures were taken on our little digital camera. I think she did a pretty good job. Like I said, we both had a great day.

Devyn and I went to Joshua Tree National Park today. It was great!!!
More to report on later along with pictures that both of us took.

Picked up my copy of Guitar Player magazine from the mailbox today. Always a happy day in my house. I enjoy this particular publication. Saw that it contained the 2007 Reader's Poll Awards. Well this should be interesting. Their annual reader's poll asking their readers to decide on the best of the guitar world during the past year. Best Guitar, Best Stomp box, Best Amp, Best this, Best that, etc. , etc. .....

......Well what to my wonder est eye did appear, than a name so familiar, it caused me to cheer...

Best Rock Guitarist:
Alex Lifeson

Best Article:
Different Strings
Alex Lifeson Gets Out of his Comfort Zone to Craft his Biggest Tones Ever


Most Ferociously Brilliant Guitar Album:
Snakes and Arrows
Awesome..........absolutely awesome.

The Mighty El Capitan

Here is a picture of El Capitan. People often take it for granite.
he he he he he he ;)
I will comment on it later but I thought I would just post a quick post.

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