Rose Colored Reality


I am not starving to death.
My home is still in one piece.
I can worship where I want.
I can dine where I please.

Recent weeks and months have changed, so slightly, the landscape of my own life. Nothing traumatic, dangerous, or depressing; just change. The world is slightly more united, the world is slightly more volatile.

Piece by piece my reality starts to crumble.

I have slept through two nights without waking up once. While this calls for a moment of joy, it also calls for a moment of concern. What could be going on within one’s life that would cause them to sleep with such ease?

Exhaustion.

Unknowingly of course.

It started with my wife being curious about the current political landscape. It then continued into a united school building divided by legalistic opinions. It was added to from the fears of my students, and it was nearly finished off with stress outside of a rather grim world.

My students are my single ray of hope on a daily basis.

I have not had stress like this for years. Daily I have a headache as I head home from work, by 9:00 PM I tend to be ready to sleep, and 6:00 AM turns into 6:30 AM almost instantaneous. People are mean, whispers are used as murder tools, and the landscape of the reality I call home changes with each passing day.

If I complain out loud; I’m merely complaining about my status as ‘some white guy in America’, if I keep it to myself my heart just aches that much more.

I guess, summed up, put simple….even in my own chaotic mind. When looking at life in general…

I am not having fun anymore.

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


First snow day as a teacher. It was announced a few hours ago. Trust me, I love my kids. However, I’m blessed to be given one more day of recovery from the fall before going back to school. Mentally I need it.

Additionally, my parents amaze me. They braved the weather, came to our house, shoveled our drive, thawed out the cars, and cooked meals for us. Jim fell on the ice while shoveling, I nearly cried, just because seeing family doing work for my sake was humbling at the least.

I don’t deserve a life like this. I am blessed beyond reason.

-D-

First Vote


There are so many reasons that I love the school that I am able to teach in on a daily basis. So many instructors are insanely creative, administration tends to be very supportive with the wild endeavors, and the students come from every, single walk of life. While it can be crazy at times, it is also a beautiful experience.

Friday demonstrated one of those moments.

I teach social studies in our school. I am teamed up with another social studies teacher who loves to push the limits of young minds. It is inspiring, motivating, and easy to follow along with. Our school, through her guidance, did take part in its own ‘mock election’ yesterday. Students voted on President/Vice-President, Governor, Senate, and House of Representatives for the respective area. All three grade levels voted, with literal booths borrowed from voting establishments, actual “I Voted” stickers, and a registration sheet for students to sign-in on at their arrival. All things considered, it was very professional and reflected strongly what a polling place looks like.

Personally though, it was not the event itself that truly made my heart swell, it was the remark of one specific student:

Our school is incredibly diverse; students come from all different backgrounds; ethnic, racial, religious, etc…A few weeks ago I received a new student, they were originally from a country located in Central America and had only been in the United States for aa few years. Her class was to vote at 12:20 PM on Friday, she came to see me around 10:30 AM and created a fascinating dialogue…

Student: Are we voting in class today?
Me: Yes.
Student: As in, we are going to select political officials?
Me: Yes. It is not real because you are not of voting age, but the simulation is real.
Student: So I get to choose someone?
Me: Yes.
Student: I can tell my family I voted?
Me: Yes.
Student: *tears in eyes* I actually get to do this? I can vote today? This is a real event that is going on in school? I’m so excited. I have heard of people doing this, but I do not know what it is like.
Me: You get to vote today.

Later in the day, after they voted, the student actual ran from their voting booth, exclaiming, tears running down from their chestnut colored eyes…rather loudly in the polling place…”I voted! I got to vote!”

Not as a teacher. Not a social scientist. Just as a citizen, I wish I could have bottled up that raw emotion, that passion, that unknown opportunity and distribute it out amongst the bitter masses that have polluted so much of sociological existence within our culture.

While I do frequently try to avoid topics about politics on here; I would at least challenge you to exist as a citizen with the heart of a 12 year old.

The local news stations covered our elections! Check out the links!
Fox 4
KCTV5
Action 41 News

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


The interesting adventure that is known as teaching comes with many strange opportunities with the territory. Just from the past year and a half I have worked retail, coached, debated over anime characters, and also ensured that students were attempting to be successful in class.

I suppose it comes with the territory of teaching; you wear many hats.

A new path opened itself a few weeks ago, a student came to me wishing to know who was in charge of the debate club inside the school. I gave them the information and quickly ushered them out of my classroom prior to the bell ringing to start class.

ngmd-logo-imageWhat I had not expected was for the student to return with the following…

The instructor from last year cannot do it this year because they are teaching college courses. They said you should do it.

Adding to my hat collection…

Honestly, this is rather exciting. After some work behind the scenes, countless pieces of advise from other instructors, and tapping into the debate network at our local high schools; last Thursday we actually had our first debate club meeting. Students have opportunities to digest current issues around the world, analyze the high school challenge topics for the year through the debate circuit, and even heading into the rest of the year perhaps an opportunity to challenge themselves against high school opponents.

I’m not 100% sure the entire direction of this program, but it is rather exciting, as a former competitor, to be able to give back to the community that gave so much to me.

Resolve: Middle school students should have the opportunity to expand their knowledge base on current events; articulating discussion points in order to persuade a panel that their path is the correct one.

-D-

 

Seasonal Perception


I don’t think I have been alone in my own home for the evening for at least three years. Darco left this evening to spend some time with her friend back home, and that has left me with an empty house, a battle with weevils, and two cats attempting to track down every insect inside their living arrangement.

Translation: All is right with the world (minus no wife this evening).

It is interesting what we perceive as ‘hard’ throughout our lives. At one point running a mile was hard, eventually three miles was hard, then came ten miles, and someday it may be a hundred. So much of ‘hard’ is perceived by the individual in measurement to their own life and past examples.

This past week was hard.

The past several months, if not year has been very low-key for our family. My wife continues to soar at her job, I thoroughly enjoy teaching, and we are finding more and more friends at a daily basis. That is why, based off historic context, this week was hard. My wife and I didn’t see each other awake until yesterday evening, parent-teacher conferences were this week, I had a performance evaluation at work, and other things transpiring within the world of education placed me in a rather unfamiliar position; uncomfortable.

Thursday night, I wound up with something to ‘fidget with’ at work because I was having a hard time paying attention. That isn’t to say what was going on wasn’t important, it was just that my mind was elsewhere. I was trying to solve problems, fix issues, and create solutions in my head for fifteen different problems. Unfortunately, along those terms is also the realization that I likely will not solve any of those problems. I argue that ‘status quo’ is unrealistic and unobtainable; life cannot stay in one specific state through time. There is always something to adjust, tweak, fix, develop, create, or destroy.

The only reason for any of this writing is to merely say that I had a personally challenging week. In no way does that mean that I have endured anything difficult, or overcame anything deemed impossible. Merely noting that in the perception of my own eye versus recent history; this was not the best of weeks and I am glad that like seasonal storms, it too has passed.

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


I will never say I was a fan of the university that I attended.
I will also never say that I regret the education that I received there.

Tonight I found myself writing a letter to two professors from school; thanking them for teaching me how to view the classroom as an international mission field.

Without going into details tonight; their words echoed through my mind today in class.

For that, I am grateful.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Double Shot


Morning: Walked into my classroom, it registered a balmy 94℉
Afternoon: Tried to stay hydrated and full of food for “track practice” tonight. Custodian woke me up after I had fallen asleep in my room after school.
Evening: WENT TO PRACTICE!. The coach started practice with…

Let’s warm up, start with a two mile on the track.

I felt my soul leave my body…
Night: Home by 9:15, body is exhausted and in pain.

Tomorrow will include a double shot of espresso for sure…better yet, I should just make it a triple.

-D-

XXXI: No Apologies


Frequently I’m reminding of the adage that if you’ve been gone from your blog for a while, don’t come back as a writer…apologizing for being gone. The reality is that unless you’re a reality star, the world didn’t even realize that you were gone.

The earth keeps moving.

The earth is moving.

The earth moves.

Caught between a funeral and a deductible for a smartphone (this is a thing now); life just keeps moving in our weird, strange, and sometimes stressful household. My grandmother finally passed away, resulting in myself spending quality time with my family for four days in a town of 1000 people. My dream is to one day properly write down this event in text so that all can understand why life is sometimes as humorous as it is scary. The third quarter at school has ended and spring break begins on Friday. Overall, tranquility is a word that would be appropriate with the current trends of my own life.

At one point I was fearful of tranquility; equating it with compromising and settling. Things I feared, but sleeping with windows open, enjoying green grass, and running through our local community really has hit in stride with me the openness of seeing tranquility not as potentially just a sin, but perhaps also a blessing.

When the internal struggles of life calm down, that’s when we find our opportunity to critique, adjust, and learn about ourselves. With the quieter time that I’ve found in recent weeks I’ve started to take a closer look at the social aspect of myself…or…to be realistic; the struggle of it.

From school to church my social skills are in need of adjustment. In my head so many things make sense; I completely understand standing in the corner of a room listening to conversations without saying anything. That seems normal in my own mind, but that is a failure of understanding how it lacks of social drive of interaction with people around me. Last weekend, and this bothered Darco to no end, I found myself standing in the corner of our local running store. I had just finished my first race of the season, I was enjoying some snacks, and watching other people conversate within the building.

Turns out, as Darco stated sternly, I looked incredibly awkward acting as a grown version of a middle school wallflower. Internally, I understood that my choice was to observe not to interact. I didn’t want to interact because I wasn’t sure how, and just watching and analyzing topics of conversation was much easier. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be determined, but the potential body language that was shown toward my own teammates could have been rather poor. Even if the tendency was not meant to be negative.

School is a similar situation. I take sole responsibility for this; some instances throughout the year have shown that I struggle interacting with my peers. No worries dear reader; I interact with 12 and 13 year olds just fine. However, inside a middle schools it’s crucial that teachers work together. There is no greater sense of teamwork in elementary or high school; middle truly is where adults have to interact in order to lay the framework of success for our students.

Turns out that this is something that is a struggle for me. It doesn’t feel natural to listen, to accept, and not to work alone (I sound like some of my students in this sentence). I can say that it’s something that I’ve worked on throughout the school year; there’s some evidence of growth. However, it is still something that needs work.

Our church group is similar. Yes, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll interact. However, most meetings are rather manic. I’m either overly bubbly, conversation driven or…like last week…I had no desire or need to communicate with the people around me. As you could imagine it always raises questions of if there’s something on my mind, if I’m in a bad mood, if I’m not feeling well, etc…

The overall point between these three recent examples is that I’ve been informed, shown, and demonstrated of an error that I have in my conduct between myself and people relative to my own age. At first that was a very hard pill to swallow. As time passed and meditation took place, I began to see that this has been a social issue that I’ve dealt with since I was a very young child. Sure, we could state that it was due to being raised as an only child, but Darco is actually really good at this social thing. I don’t know what the reason for the action, but I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention.

Here is why:

If something like this had been shown to me five, ten years ago (it probably was); I would have brushed it off as something that was obviously wrong with everyone else. The arrogance of refusal in accepting that I’m at fault, I’m in error, or that I’m just plain wrong is something that I would have never admitted to. It pains me to type those words. With that said, I’m blessed to be surrounded by people at school, at home, and at church that have zero issues informing me that I’m ‘off’ in how I’m presenting myself to other people. To several, if not all of you, this may seem as such a small issue to have. For me, it’s almost a relief that I can internally accept the truth that I have issues to work on just like everyone else. Additionally, I like the fact that this is an example of an area to develop that doesn’t just affect life in one’s social setting, but also in their work environment.

How’s that for a random topic to type about?

This topic has been in my head and my heart for quite a while. I wanted to type about it so that I could feel secure about ensuring the ‘public’ knows that I have problems. It’s relieving for me because I’m willing to share a social development issue that I’m at fault for, and to state to the general public that it’s something I’m working on.

Consider the typing of this to be liberating if you will.

-D-