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Archive for the ‘Sacred Writing Invitations’ Category

I’ve been chewed up and spit out, but not by my students.
Sure, they frustrate me, and make me want to shake my fist at them like
I am 70 years old and they keep traipsing across my lawn.
It’s not the students who chew us up and spit us out.

It’s not meeting those precious gains on the standardized test.
It’s the accusatory questions from the powers that be,
“How long have you been teaching?”
It’s the never ending changes~
this new gimmick will save us all!
It’s the members of the good ‘ol boys club who are lining their pockets.

You are sucking the joy out of teaching.
It’s not the students, it’s you.
Legislation, congress, the public scrutiny, all of those powers that be.
It’s you, ruining education.
You are stifling my love for what I do best.

I smile when students walk into my room and say,
“It smells like coffee in here.”
I delight in sharing books with them, and hearing about their dreams.
I listen when they tell me about their weekend.
I laugh at their funny middle school comments.
These kids who need us to care about who they are.
These kids who are dealing with more than I ever had to at their age.
Our kids who need to feel as if they have something to say,
and we want to hear it.

I keep teaching because
I am in awe of their strength
I feel at home with their humor
I revel in their hard work and
I believe their effort and creativity
will lead us to greatness.
I teach for them.
Year after year, we come back
for them, for our students, our kids.
They need us to guide them and open their eyes
to the world they are a part of.
We teach because we find joy in being with them, watching them grow,
day in and day out.

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I crept down the basement steps, inching toward the darkness below. The first three steps were easy. They led to a small platform. I stopped on this platform and looked at the cave that loomed before me. I craned my neck to look at the right side of the staircase that gaped open toward the rest the of the basement. I could see part of the painting, my youngest uncle’s painting that hung in the center of the wall separating his bedroom from the rest of the basement. I stepped forward making a commitment to complete the rest of my voyage down the stairs. I could hear the laughter of the rest of the family who easily glided down to the party below. Each step I took brought me closer to that painting. Suddenly I was standing directly in front of it. A faded wood frame with a sad clown in the center of a plain black background stared back at me. My eight year old self was in a trance of disturbing curiosity disrupted only by the shrieking laughter of younger cousins as they raced down the stairs and ran around the corner. Broken from my strange seduction, I ran after them and entered a brightly lit room of food and family.

I was in my grandparent’s house. A small older home in Rogers City that they lived in for just the early part of my childhood. I enjoyed my time with cousins and delicious eats during our festivities that day avoiding the painting at all costs. But then it was bedtime.

The large plush mattress enveloped me. I snuggled deeply into the pastel yellow comforter on my grandparent’s bed. I was lulled to sleep by the muffled voices of the adults still living it up below me.

It felt as if only I had slept for only minutes when I woke to the loud clinking of glass. My eyes shot open. The room was a hazy green color. The two dressers against the wall were shaking causing my grandma’s perfume bottles to rattle. I pulled the covers up to my eyes, but did not cover them. I looked around the room waiting to wake up. The lights began to flicker intensifying the green glow. Above the sounds of my heart beating in my ears, I could hear low growling noises. The furniture continued to shake, even the bed was moving now. I couldn’t close my eyes. I didn’t move. I just waited to wake up. My gaze moved toward the ceiling just in time for me to see a monstrous hand pop out of the headboard inches above my head. It was mud-green, covered in wart-like bumps with sparse hairs sticking out of them. The hand had long brown fingernails that came to a sharp point. I yanked the covers over my head and waited. Waited for it to stop.

I must have fallen back asleep because I later woke to the sound of my grandma coming into the room for her nightgown. I pretended as if I was still asleep while trying to sneak glimpses of the room. It looked normal, no green glow, no noises. Just my grandma pulling her nightgown out of the dresser and tip toeing out of the room so she didn’t disturb my peaceful sleep.

To this day I am convinced that house is haunted.

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“My generation is apathetic and lethargic”

“It will be evident that” or “ It is foolish to presume that” ?

These lines resonate with me. Maybe it is because I am a middle school teacher and sometimes my students’ apathy clouds my vision so it is all I end up seeing from time to time. I definitely have worried about my students’ apathy. The funny thing is though, I am not sure my generation was any better at that age. Middle schoolers are such strange beings. They are figuring out who they are, where they belong, and what matters to them the most. They are in teenage relationships that consume them. They get tunnel vision and can’t always see the world around them and their part in it. There seems to be an immediacy, or an instant gratification need within them. But they are smart, and they just need to grow up. Let kids be kids. And at the same time encourage them, inspire them, show them what is out there in the world. Let them make choices, even if they are bad ones, so they can own them.

We put too much pressure on our younger generations. I think it is my grandparent’s generation that is said to be ‘the greatest generation of all time’ or something along those lines. My thought is you can’t compare generations. You just can’t. They are from two completely different worlds, and it isn’t fair to compare them. My students’ generation will know more about technology than any other generation before them. Some of them will fight it wars, they won’t be like World War II, like the ‘greatest generation of all time’ fought in, but does that make them any less heroic? The younger generations of today will have to fight different fights than those of our grandparents and even ourselves, but let’s not discount them.  They are just as tough as past generations.

I am not completely innocent, I do worry about them. I have even questioned aloud to my students, “How are you going to take care of me someday when you can’t even complete your homework on time?” But I am not going to say they are down for the count. Before we can do that, we need to first let them grow up. I can say with almost complete certainty my generation was useless to the world when we were younger too. Thanks to the wonders of online social networking, I have learned that many of my classmates, whom I had labeled as apathetic and lethargic in high school, have gone on to do great things. They are vocal in politics, some of them have turned into tree-hugging hippies who fight for our Earth, in short, they have grown up and become concerned adults. Just like the younger generations will one day. Be patient. As long as we, the older generations, are doing our part to educate the younger generations about the problems of our world, and are showing them through our actions ways to help, no matter how small those actions may be, they will be okay.  They are not lost.

 

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What do blockbuster movies say about our American culture? My first reaction is to say that it shows that people of our country are mindless, lazy turds who wouldn’t know real art if it smacked them in the face. But, let’s be real here. Most people go to movies to escape, and many movies of today, and of way back when, allow the audience to do just that. Can I kick an evil robot’s butt while looking super hot in a skin-tight outfit in real life? No, but Megan Fox can, and I enjoy watching her do just that from time to time. Come on, she’s pretty, and sometimes it is enjoyable to look at all of the pretty people on the big screen while forgetting that your pants are too tight and your house is a disaster.

I’ve always had a girl crush on Jennifer Lopez. She is simply gorgeous. I own several of her movies, and I even tuned in to American Idol to see how she was holding up as a judge this past season. But are her movies any good? Will they win Oscars? No. They are fun, and romantic, and almost always have a happy ending. That is why people go to stupid movies that end up as blockbusters, for the happy ending, or the adrenaline rush, or to feel empowered, or to laugh.  In general, people want to not think when they go to a movie, particularly in the summer, when life is supposed to be just a bit more carefree.

At this point in my life, I don’t really go to many movies. When given the choice of what to order on Netflix or watch instantly, what do I choose? Something serious and dramatic that shows me the true dark underbelly of human society? No, I choose to watch How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days or Step Brothers or the latest Jennifer Lopez flick, or better yet, True Blood so I can get whisked away into the fantastical world of vampires and werewolves. During the day, especially during the school year, I analyze and think and try to inspire and motivate, so when in my comfy clothes, ready to relax I am not going to watch Schindler’s List. To be perfectly honest, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been on my instant Netflix queue for months now, but when I have a couple hours to spare, I choose not to watch such a serious movie (the book was awesome though!).

So, what does that say about me? What does that say about our American culture? I think it says we live in tough times, most of us are struggling in some way, even if small, and we want to spend our time and money on movies that will make us feel like a badass or movies that let us admire all the pretty people in the world who look like they have it so easy. We want a moment for ourselves to escape in our secret little worlds where we look hot in a tank top and skinny jeans and can kick some alien robot’s butt without smudging our lipstick. So, critics of the world, leave me alone, and let me buy my ticket to Transformers 3 please.

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