Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday bright and dark...

OK...first of all, I'm bursting with happiness and even though you don't like the cliche, too bad for you. I'm happy, I know it, and I'm clappin' my hands on this one.

I was asked by Richard Grant, an Associate Professor of English at Columbia Union College (Takoma Park, MD) to do a presentation about blogging for a 2 day high school writers seminar. WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWWOW!

Me. Lecturing.

Oh God. If that's not scary, I don't know what is. But I'm psyched at the same time. Mr. Grant found me on the Internet (not surprising) but he didn't run away from what I wrote.

The surprising thing is that they're so many blogs out here in the DC area, I'm not sure why he picked me, but you know what? So what? I'm happy anyway.

I guess the attendees will be high school juniors/seniors, and while they may not be planning to earn a BA in English, they all write in some capacity. I'll be there to talk about blogging, give some tips, and answer questions. I'm not sure how elaborate my presentation has to be, so maybe I'll leave the hand puppets and show girls at home just in case.

One thing I'd like to do is this: if any fellow blogger reading this would like to provide a description of their blog OR could tell these students one thing about blogging (helpful hint, benefit, funny story, positive experience) I think it'd be pretty cool for them to see what's out there. I'd like to put together a list of responses along with your Web addresses so they can take a look at your blogs. I've already heard from Groovygrrl in Denver, CO. Any others?

Please help me out, so I can spread the bloglove!


New report from the fair hometown...the "allegedly" embezzling principal of the junior high has resigned, and the superintendent has been banned from not only the FABULOUS new casino, but also a mom-n-pop steakhouse outside of town.

What is with these people? On one level, I have to feel sorry for the JH principal...his resignation was cited for "health and personal reasons" which, of course, celebrity watchers interpret as only one thing: DETOX.

Secondly, in a small town, educators are simultaneously placed on a pedestal and examined under a microscope (ah...I loves me the metaphors). You can't tell me any different - I've lived the small town life. (And please note I'm not suffering from "pot calling the kettle black syndrome"'s more like I feel for these people. Their lives must be hell right about now.)

I've heard rumors of my 7th grade math teacher dancing on tables while drunk. I never believed that one, because she always seemed "together".

However, others are not as "together" as we'd like to think. I saw my first high school band director's six week absence covered up as a "mini-sabbatical", when really, she was in the hospital with a nervous breakdown/detox.

This same teacher also screwed up royally with one of our competitions - she lectured us about our lack of responsibility, then we drove off to a contest 90 minutes from home and upon arrival found there was NO music anywhere in the bus because SHE forgot to bring it. We had to forfeit, and the school lost money as a result. She asked that our parents not be told, so of course we told them. Sometimes teenage logic really saves the day. I know I was honked and so was everyone else...we all had other things going on that we had to arrange around. Many of us had to put in for time off from work.

She also went on a weekend trip to the GRAND CANYON with her "boy toy" on a whim one weekend in late winter. On the way back, got in a car accident and suffered whiplash.

However, she failed to let anyone in the administration KNOW what happened, and we had an AM jazz band practice on Monday morning. The teach was a no-show, and all of us were sitting and waiting. She still didn't show up by the beginning of first period, and when the principal came down to unlock the door, he asked if we knew where she was.

"Nope", the chorus of kids replied. The band period turned into a study hall...not for the first time, either.

Not good...another nail in the coffin.

Did I mention that we were FORCED to play for the boys basketball championships, and FORCED to buy our own tickets or else we'd get an "F"? Yet another glorious decision.

And YEAH, she resigned at the end of that school year, and we had another band director that didn't have quite the flamboyant activity issues.

I think this teacher definitely cracked under the scrutiny. After all, teachers are in the public eye, and as I mentioned before in another entry, music teachers are often asked to be involved in every other musical activity that is present in their fair hamlet.

There are other horror stories, to be sure. That's what scares me about even trying to be a teacher in this day and age, yet the world needs good teachers. A good teacher can help a young person realize their dreams as well as create new ones for them to attain.

But they're also PEOPLE. Flawed, yes. Stubborn, angry, bitter? Yes. Underpaid and over worked? Absolutely.

So how do we solve the problem? Is it one that can be solved?

I wish it were. For now, we just have to help kids through the changes, and work on getting through a school day without getting shot or maimed.

Whew...just another day, as the Beatles say (or Paul McCartney...not sure which).