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In My Defense….

17 Jul

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, this picture I took clearly demonstrates both my family’s concerns and Euell Gibbons point.

This grape-vine is at a neighbor’s house, and hovers over good ol’ fashioned poison ivy. I will not be harvesting here thank you very much. However, there is no way anyone could confuse the two plants.


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However this little dandy is responsible for many a rash as everyone has taken a turn at pulling it out of the rock garden and suffered for it. That conversation went a bit like this:
“What is it?”
“I think it is a sapling, I’ll just pull it out.”
“I think that is a grape-vine starting, they grow like weeds here.”
“Either way, it needs to come out, I worked hard on the rock garden!”
After the three consecutive years of rashes, we have decided this is a poison something.
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In case you were wondering, this is a young grape leaf.
I am sure.
Because I am still living.


My Need to Rant

27 Apr

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“It’s easier to teach than to do, and it feels like a nice shortcut towards fame, success, money, whatever”. ~ Cristian Mihai

Those who can do those who can’t teach~ Man and Superman

For those of you who don’t know; I am a student and teacher. In fact, I am a student teacher. That being the fact, I am not ignorant to two other facts: first, that I will not be appreciated, second, teaching is one of the hardest, most grinding poorest paying jobs I have ever had…that I love.

Why disparage teachers?  We send our children off to school every day depending on teachers to impart knowledge, wisdom and mentorship to our little ones.

We are angry when teachers fall short of our high expectations, then disreguard the process of teaching itself.

We pay teachers about 24,000 dollars a year to begin their careers here in the Unites States, while setting up their own houses and returning an average of 400.00 a year to their classrooms.

Most people believe that teachers get three months off a year; vacationing and living a life of ease. The truth is teachers spend most of their summer working and preparing for the following fall for free.

I was reading an inspirational blog this morning about how to become a better writer. His point was that people that teach writing do so because they cannot write. Ouch. The blogger however was right to recommend that we read and write as much as humanly possible, and our craft will develop naturally.

So is the case with teachers.

So is the case for doctors.

So is the case for farmers.

So is the case for…Well, you get the idea.

The reason this put a burr under my saddle today, is that I just dropped a creative writing class because the professor, bless her heart, decided that teaching was indeed a waste of time in the creative writing field. She instead would sit in her chair and have all of us read what we wrote in high school and sit back and enjoy. Like magic, all of us will have epiphanies and develop as passionate creative writers. That did not happen.

Being a student of the art of teaching, there is one truth so far that I have discovered; unless you are so freaking brilliant that you don’t need a teacher, someone is going to have to point out the obvious to you and see that you follow through with the application. That’s right, I need someone (because I am not brilliant) to tell me what an Iambic pentameter is, and see that I can create one. I need someone to bring to my attention genres and give them a name, and see to it that I can identify them also. Even though that teacher is undervalued and underpaid, she or he, will have to care enough to follow through and see that I can apply that knowledge that they are privleged enough to impart. In case you were wondering that’s where grades come from.

How I Was Schooled Today :)

25 Apr

teaching picToday I had the privilege of teaching a first grade class in a the small town of Leslie. Wait. I must correct myself. I WAS TAUGHT by a very sweet first grade class in a small sweet town just south of mine.
I entered “my” classroom just after lunch hour, ready to make friends and influence little people. I was ready to show them the wonders of estimation, find their addition super powers, and leave them awed at how wonder substitute teachers can be. Yea, that is JUST what happened….

So after the first hour, after I realized that I was spending all my time helping them focus so they could actually do some work ( so I would look good in front of the teacher ),I decided it was time to pull out the consequences. Recess was at stake now! If little bottoms did not sit down on little chairs, and if little feets did not connect with the little rugs, little children would be losing minutes for recess. Oh really? They seemed to say, with their sly whispers and feet still in contortionists positions over the backs of their chairs. Yep, they called me on it! If I was going to get any respect, I was going to have to follow through.


Wouldn’t you know I had indoor recess because of rain?

Can you guess what happened?

I had to cancel recess.

Little bottoms sat on little seats, little feet stayed on little rugs and by the end of recess time, most of them were satisfied their work was done.
And they forgave me for it.

The rest of the day was a breeze, they laughed with me, drew me pictures with their next small break, read their books and took directions.

Where were these little people when I really needed this lesson??
Twenty years ago, I REALLY REALLY needed to know it was ok to set boundaries!

So there I was this afternoon, saying good bye to a handful of kids as they walked onto their buses, fresh faced and forgiving. I stood there in the spring sun and thought about how kind words telling people where they cannot cross, and firm consequences don’t have to spell the end of the day.

I am thinking that this class needs to spend more time teaching grown ups!

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