quick on the draw

April 27, 2006

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I have used my power for evil, potentially scarring an impressionable youngster for life . . .
So remember when I was ranting about my students the other day? Well it seems I have crossed the threshold, discovering a new side to my mild-mannered self . . .
“My name is Anna, and I am sarcastic.”

As happens more often than I’d like to admit, I was exasperated again yesterday. How difficult can it be, I thought, to convince the 4 students not away for the college tour to quietly write an in-class essay? Tremendously difficult, apparently.
The first 15 minutes was wasted on queries as to the wording of the assignment, complaints about the loudly lecturing teacher down the hall, comments about Ms. Mabel’s latest fashion statement . . . and the like.
Managing finally to get so far as handing out papers and explaining assignments, I was then faced with a flurry of questions as to the particulars of the story’s plot, characters, theme, conflict, and various other questions rightly belonging in the private lines of each student’s essay. So I told them as much. Several times. Finally the room quieted down.
Until Courtney forgot she was not supposed to be asking such questions anymore. She raised her head to reveal her perpetually furrowed brows and innocently wide-eyed expression and shot into the silence: “Was Jerry the one who ended up stealing the money at the end?”
Before anyone could venture a reply, I just-as-innocently said that No, that was Wally.
“Wally??” Courtney then began frantically shuffling pages until one of her classmates kindly explained that there was no Wally.
“Oh . . . ok,” And she began writing again.
Until she forgot that she was not to ask such questions. “So why did Jerry give the money back to Sally?”
Because Sally wanted to buy a bicycle for Billy.
“She did??” With a grimace of utter dismay, Courtney again began rifling through her text. A classmate kindly interjected again, and then turned to me:
Miss J—do we need to send you out into the hall?At that point laughter won out over wit, and I relinquished to my quick-tongued young student’s chiding. I was an utterly nice teacher for the rest of the class period. Promise.

baby steps

April 23, 2006

As a beginner yogi, with about 2 months now of as-close-to-daily practice as I can manage, I have so far been relying on different videos and dvd’s that I found at the library. Realizing I was ready to stretch myself further, I browsed the book shelves at the main branch yesterday and came away with 2 intermediate/advanced books. Playing this afternoon, I have just made a delightful discovery: a pose I had seen and been amazed by is, in fact possible. And I am able to contort my own limbs into the joyous position of Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana. Simple pleasures? Perhaps. But oh, how gratifying simple pleasures can be!

as i was saying

April 11, 2006

“So that marvelously executed interior paint job,” you were wondering, “how, pray tell, did that miracle-working occur?” I shall happily tell you the story. It happened one Friday . . .
As soon as the bell released the students and, yes, the teachers, I was on a mission. To my beloved Lowes to peruse the paint, consult with the store experts, and definitively place my paint-mixing shade order. To my car laden with “Lighthouse”-hued Matte Interior paint. And to my apartment for project preparation.
In between, however, was a phone call to my Grandpa: “PaCharley? Hi . . . so remember when I mentioned to you the possibility of helping when, sometime in the future, I would repaint my place—you remember? We were planning for, say, close to the summer when things calmed down at work? Well I kind of couldn’t wait that long. I know I’m being impulsive, so please don’t feel like you have to help now but—yeah—I decided to start tonight . . .”
Of course, it being PaCharley, by the time I made it home he was in full painting gear, laden with rollers, brushes, drop cloths, step ladder, paint sticks, bucket, paint can opener, etc. etc. . . In other words, anything you could possibly need, he was prepared for. And he was waiting at my door.
Several hours later, he bid me goodnight. I happily hugged him, thanked him profusely, and returned to the project, which I was finished with by the end of the next day. As I worked, I thought.
And I realized that I needed that project. I was desperate to be instantly, obviously productive. I was also in need of the wise counsel and sweet companionship of my Pa Charley. He listened to my ramblings and to my fuming. And he offered in return his gently challenging feedback as well as the simple, sweet gift of his quiet company.
You see, I was angry. I was frustrated with the effort of pouring my energies into lesson planning and passionate lecturing, to be greeted by teenage apathy and carelessness. I had pleaded with them to listen, if only for 5 minutes. I explained that I was prepared to spoon-feed them with the basic literary knowledge that would carry them into college prepared. I begged them to understand how vital of a role this poet had played in the civil rights movement, in the empowerment of African Americans, and of women. But they did not care—or at least gave no indication of caring. They giggled over bodily functions and gossiped about comments made by peers, and by teachers. And in the end, I gave up. I spent the end of the day changing the subject until I stumbled upon a topic that caught their interest. Then I joked around with them.

I do love these students, and have enjoyed the year of getting to know them slowly through subbing stints and library consultations. And I know better than to cling too dearly to my own plan for what they will take away from any given lesson. But I do cling, all the same, in spite of knowing better.
So this past weekend, I recognized my frustration and—gulp—yes, my anger—and I did something about it. I reclaimed my own space, my own home, my own life. And I dare say, my Lighthouse-hued walls look da** fine :-)

April 11, 2006

visual aid #2


April 9, 2006

So my intent this afternoon was to write about the photo “visual aid” below: my completed painting project and the odd manner in which my inspiration for it came about. But instead, I must interrupt myself with today’s tale . . .
My 7-year-old neighbor Chloe accompanied me to Church, providing the particular treat of getting to pass the time drawing and playing hang man with her. Afterwards, I took home with me both of our artwork scratch paper–an act which afforded an unexpected delight.
Copied below is what I discovered on Chloe’s paper, and what was the obvious outcome of her periodic queries as to the spelling of particular words, the day’s date, etc. Further words from me are not necessary, I am sure . . .

is April 9th Sunday
I am at church
I am lisning
to God.
I am with

April 8, 2006

let the sun shine in . . .