Wednesday, February 4, 2015

There are no words.

I headed to school today feeling less than my best.  No big deal, just waiting for some antibiotics to kick in, but the mindset was very much a "poor me," with an allegedly lovely excuse for not listening to my fitbit's little white dots of discouragement encouragement.  

Suffice it to say, it didn't start out as a good day.

Putting things into perspective.

I tried to be interested and upbeat.  My entire day was overwhelmingly hectic.  I never saw any of my prep period, as student after student was in asking for scheduling advice.  This is a busy time of year, as parents of Junior Highers are petrified about the fact that their  8th grader is talking about college in preparation for choosing classes for high school.  And the high school kids, looking ahead to sophomore, junior, or senior year, second guess themselves more than twice.  There are many phone calls, parent meetings, student meetings, and flurries of Course Selection Guides crossing my desk.

I had to register for three different clearances that are now required by my employer, at the insistence of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania , to prove that I am not a criminal or pedophile.  Oh, and in doing so, I had to give the state the right to access my medical records -- so apparently HIPA doesn't cover teachers anymore.  It took me 45 minutes, cost me $50,  and I still have to drive to the other side of the county to be fingerprinted.  Suffice it to say that I used Sandusky's name in vain more than a few times. 

As I was driving home, I started, briefly, to relax.

I came home to Facebook messages from friends indicating that I wasn't the only one who had had a less than stellar day -- including:

1.  A picture of a spare tire on a car.  (Apparently a "bad" day for the owner.)

2.  A complaint/rant about being late for work because of a car accident that closed a major roadway.

and this:

3. When people you care about lose a child, especially at the age of 19, there are no words. Hug your children every day, tell them you love them, that you are proud of them, that you wouldn't trade them for the world. Don't ever take them for granted. Our lives are a vapor, a fleeting moment.

Indeed.

My world was rocked, and my perspective meter shattered.  #2 above was late for work because of the accident that took the life of the son of two of our friends.  I've known this kid for more than fifteen years, and the thought that he, the only child of his parents, has vanished from this earth is almost incomprehensible.

Perspective has once again jumped front and center, and demanded that I consider the values.  What is really important?  What is really an issue? 

So tonight, I don't dwell on clearances, lost prep periods, fingerprints, or schedules.  Instead I dwell on people.  I'm praying for Jim and Polly, and I'm celebrating the joy that was their son.  I'm overwhelmed with sadness for them, and a bit ashamed at myself for dwelling in the minutia of my day in comparison to what really matters.

I'm a teacher because I love and care about people. 

 Sometimes so much that it hurts.