Sunday, September 21, 2014

General Observations about Things


Since I launched my ad(venture) in real estate, I have discovered a few unsettling things. Sadly, those things cross over into all professions wrecking all kinds of havoc like Thing 1 and Thing 2. (And you do remember how I feel about Things don't you?)

The following  pithy little comments were true when I was in the classroom and my name badge said "educator."  So raise your hand if you agree and here here we go… 

•Some people (bless their hearts) can make money even if they are dumber than a bag of cat hair.

•The phrase "bless their hearts" is a special code phrase that allows you to say just about anything. For more special sayings, you can go here.

•Some people can make money even if they don't communicate well. I'm not talking about being able to write a dissertation on Dante's Circles of Hell. (And don't you sometimes feel as if you're living there?) No, I'm not expecting a dissertation. No siree, Missy! I'm talking about not returning phone calls, emails, text messages. 

•People lie… a lot… OK, OK, OK so lie is such a harsh word… Let's just say people bend the truth a lot… Or say one thing and then do another thing… Perhaps they are living in a parallel universe where their reality is a little different than mine. Personally, I think the world would be such a better place if people would say what they mean and mean what they say…

I'm just saying…

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

13 years later remembering 9/11




There was a time when I walked through the day in a daze.

There was a time when I couldn't and wouldn't schedule anything on that day.

There was a time when I read vignettes from the 576-page Portraits of Grief book.

There was a time when I stared at the photographs of all the first responders who died that day.

There was a time when I tried to make sense of it all.

And so as we approach the 13th Anniversary of 9/11, I realize that life has crossed over into this day bringing bits and pieces of normalcy where none existed before. There are errands to run, appointments to keep, work to do.

And yet, 13 years later, I still have not forgotten you--each and every one who perished on that day.  I still hear you like ghosts whispering in the wind.


I will always remember you.

I will never forget.



Monday, August 11, 2014

The End of Summer Blues and Back to School


Despite entering my second year of teaching retirement, I can't get rid of that sinking feeling this time of year.

You know that time of year…

The time of year when knots the size of baseballs seem to grow in your stomach (and you know it's not from that cheese enchilada)…

The time of year when beads of sweat form above your brow (and you know it's not from the 90+ degree heat)…

The time of year when you start to hyperventilate as you drive down the road (and you know it's not because you zipped by that nice little police car parked along side the road)…

Nope…

It's because you passed through a school zone, it's mid-August, and for teachers, their summers will be officially over.

After 27 years of teaching, I have a rather Pavlovian response to this sort of thing that I can't seem to shake. Summer has always been my favorite time of year. To see it wilt away, just saddens me.

But with the end of summer also comes the beginning of a new school year which always brings a rush of hope and promise. A do-over of sorts. From new bright yellow #2 Ticonderoga pencils to new school clothes to a perfect clean slate–not just for students, but for teachers as well.  It's your chance to try for the gajillionth time to open the door of possibilities.

It's right there just open it.

What lies beyond is the magic they call teaching.

Best wishes to all my teacher friends as they start a new year!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

NOT IT! NOT IT! NOT IT!


I am thankful.

Very, very thankful. 

And not only am I very, very thankful, I am fearless.

For the first time in a gajillion years, this is the first May I don't have to worry about being "IT!" (And that, my friends, is merely by default since I am retired.)

As you all know, this time of year brings out news reports of the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it when some yearbook debacle erupts after the delivery of spring yearbooks. It's becoming more and more an annual tradition exacerbated by social media that plasters such failings and fuels the controversy.

Now just because I am a retired publications adviser, doesn't mean I don't have some level of empathy for my colleagues who still are fighting the good fight, hunkering down, practicing their yoga relaxation breathing and waiting to see who gets tagged "IT" this year. (Still, I must say it's great to be relaxing on  the sidelines watching instead of hyperventilating during the six o'clock news.)


It didn't take long before the first yearbook debacle made its way to the evening newscasts (and we're only mid-way through the month). 


So far, the winner goes to Yukon High School in our neighboring state of Oklahoma in what the news media has dubbed a "yearbook fiasco." School officials are scrambling to have 1,100 yearbooks returned to remove an "unflattering" photo of a female student. One student told reporters, "You could just see up her skirt, but you couldn't see anything."

Great. Just Great. 

To all my former colleagues who have already had their books delivered, let us be thankful that this mess is north of the Red River, and let me join you in harmony and solidarity as we all shout: 

"NOT IT! NOT IT! NOT IT!"



Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Time To Opt In



I recently attended The Dallas Morning News' 23rd Annual High School Journalism Day & Competition. I along with my buddy, retired publications adviser extraordinare Mary Pulliam had been working with the folks over at The Dallas Morning News with their event and we even facilitated a session for advisers.

It was a win-win for everyone involved, but most importantly the kiddos who attended were the real winners. They got to meet staffers at The Dallas Morning News, participate in a contest that exposed their talents to professional journalists, and, of course, there was a pretty nifty catered lunch thrown in as well.

But as successful as the day was, it wasn't without a certain level of disappointment. Absent from the day's events was the school I formerly taught at along with a number of other schools who used to attend but opted out. Schools like my former school that used to win awards every year.

I don't know why these schools decided not to come. I'm sure they were busy. For many teachers, it was the end of the six weeks, so perhaps they were behind on grading. Perhaps their advisers were still struggling with finalizing their spring yearbooks or a looming newspaper deadline. Perhaps their principals wouldn't let them come.

But perhaps they should have juggled their schedules and made the time to come. Or at  least, had their kiddos send in their contest entries.

Because in the end,  what they really opted out of was what was best for their kiddos. And I don't think that is what teaching is all about.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Glimpse at the Life of a Publications Adviser

It's Sunday night and I've finally sat down to blog away. 

I've turned on HGTV's "Beachfront Bargains" for fun. While I'm fairly certain that my life will never be blessed with a beachfront bargain must less a beachfront, I am semi-comforted by the fact that I am not running around crazed trying to juggle yearbook deadlines, newspaper deadlines and end-of-the six weeks grades.

Ok… so it's not a semi-comfort. Rather, it's a full-fledged "NOT IT"-ecstatic-full-throttle-extravaganza celebration here.

My publications adviser friends are not so lucky. Take a brief glimpse into their world:

One changed her profile to this…


Another felt obligated to let their yearbook company know that they were working on those pages (as if they needed to) on the weekend. 



My favorite Facebook post, though, was from one of the Mansfield advisers. They're working on their group picture pages when they received this little gem, noting "Our AcaDec sponsors submitted this group photo for the yearbook. Genius."


Yep, pure genius, and so glad that I can say, "NOT IT!"


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Making the Grade, Goals & Expectations & Yoda

Wow, has it really been months since I've updated my teaching blog? Goodness gracious me. I guess I didn't realize it because I'm constantly writing posts in my head as I'm zipping down the road. It's just that I forget to actually post them.

Part of my problem is that by the time I actually sit down in front of my computer, my moment of brilliance has long since passed (of course, that assumes it was there to begin with), and I can't quite seem to formulate what in the Sam Hill I wanted to blather about. 

Now I am reduced to grasping at snippets of memories of all the things I wanted to say.  I wanted to give you three snippets, but I could only remember two…

Snippet #1… Making the Grade… I had to muster up some "Oh my! Oh dear! Oh, so sorry!" for by BFF Jennifer who told me she was up at school late Friday night trying to get grades done. They were due on Monday, and she didn't want to devote her entire weekend grading, grading, grading. Obviously, people who think teacher's get paid enough (people like Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst) don't know teachers and don't understand the time and workflow that goes into the job. (Another reason why I am thoroughly happy to be retired.) I think if you averaged all the time when I was a teacher grading, planning, making deadlines, weekend work etc. I'm fairly certain I made less than minimum wage. Oh, yeah, but I had summers off. Oh wait, I forgot, this is a no whining blog, darn it.


Snippet #2… Goals & Expectations… We expect our students to have goals, and clearly we have expectations for them. Now that I've launched my (ad)venture in real estate, I, too, am supposed to have goals, and my office manager has expectations. So I zipped out to the nearest office supply store with my $10 off coupon and purchased two white boards, an assortment of dry erase markers and some nifty bulletin board squares--All so I could list my goals.

With only five months left to achieve my goals, my whiteboard screamed at me mocking me in black, red, blue & green ink all my shortcomings. Now I can see clearly why so many of our kiddos either fail to make goals or settle for mediocre ones. It's easier to wipe the board clean and come up with an easier, more do-able list. After all, isn't that the point of dry erase markers? To make life easier and allow more do-overs.

But I'm not that girl. 

And life isn't easy.

And you often don't get do-overs.

I had to give myself my own YMCA Yoda speech: "Do, or do not. There is no try."