556: Hope

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Every day, I hope.

I hope it will get better, that it won’t hurt so much.

I hope that I will be able to slow down and not be at everyone else’s beck and call.

I hope that I can say no. And mean it.

I hope that I can sleep until I want to get out of bed, instead of rolling out every morning before dawn because I have obligations to meet.

I hope that I make it through the next six weeks of no-money until I get paid again (a yearly problem, and January has thirty-one long, cold, and dark days).

I hope that Christmas will again just pass, without requiring from me efforts to be social that I just do not have the resources for.

I hope and I am chagrined that I still hope.

I hope that the house I currently am spending all my free time remodeling (paint smears in my hair and decorating both my forearms, random punctures, scratches, and broken nails) soon will become a respite and sanctuary – a place of peace and repose.

I hope that it will get better – that it won’t hurt quite so much.

I hope, even when it appears fruitless to hope.Hope-2-570x379

I hope.

 

 

550: Overwhelmed and undervalued

Teacher receiving an apple from student

The first year at a new job is generally more difficult than the succeeding years. You have the routine of the machine that is this particular organization (different one to the other) down to some manageable extent after the first year, and you somewhat know in advance what they are likely to dump into your already-busy lap, and know somewhat when they are likely to do it.

The reports that they wait (often) until the day they are due to tell you about (and sometimes the day after they are due) to tell you about. The routine processes that you need to know to perform your job on a daily basis, which they did not tell you in advance of performing that job, and left you to discover unpleasantly and then struggle to figure out on your own, or go crawling to someone who does know, confessing your ignorance and begging for a mini-lesson to get you up to speed.

The five different professional development courses, all running concurrently, that take up your 50 miserly minutes of precious planning time that you have each day – assuming there is not a parent conference scheduled, or an after-work meeting that you are required to attend, or an out-of-town meeting you are required to attend on what was supposed to be the time you have left over after work to actually live your life – assuming you actually have any such thing.

The planning you need to do so as not to appear a drooling, blithering idiot in the daily performance of your job (at least in the eyes of those observing, and YES, Virginia, they ARE observing).

All those things that were unwelcome surprises during the first year are familiar minor annoyances the second year, not panic-attack-times like they were that first hectic, far-too-busy, overloaded first year. The second year, you can look back on the chaos of the first and smile a little, knowing that you made it with your sanity largely (at least to casual observers) intact. So the second year is better. Somewhat.

None of that helps a whole lot while you are in the mentally and emotionally tense, gut-wrenching, hyper-ventilating maelstrom of the first year. *sigh*

549: School

Jennifer Johnson, a teacher at Evergreen Campus of Health Sciences & Human Services High School (HS3) in Seattle, WA, works with students in her classroom on May 20, 2014.

Jennifer Johnson, a teacher at Evergreen Campus of Health Sciences & Human Services High School (HS3) in Seattle, WA, works with students in her classroom on May 20, 2014.

Being a teacher is a very mixed blessing. Yeah, I know what everybody says about teaching, how we are not paid enough, and how the job expects you to basically perform at God level, and how everything that happens in somehow your fault (as if you can control the choices that other people make on a daily basis). Yeah, I know.

Actually I went into teaching because I like teaching, because it was steady income, and because of the time off. Considering how much time off there is in a year’s contract, the pay isn’t horrible. Few other jobs get as much time off. No, we are not paid for our time off. We are paid for approximately (depending on the school system and their instructional calendar) 190 days of work. To keep us from starving during the summer, school systems now divide our 190 days’ worth of pay into twelve payments. THAT equals a fairly mediocre income, considering all the certification and licensing requirement hoops that teachers must jump through to qualify. But for approximately 246 days of the year (190 plus the weekends) of work time, it’s still not too bad.

Still, no teacher works a 40 hour week. If you are a teacher working 40 hours a week, you suck as a teacher. Period. Efficiency be damned, there is far too much to get done in that 190 days for you to be able to do a quality job in 40 hours a week. EVERY teacher worth their salt works far more than 40 hours a week during the months that school is in session, and often works even more days during their ‘vacation’ during the summer for certification purposes – or chaperoning student groups on summer conferences.

It is no fun being the world’s scapegoat. I know intimately how the USA feels, accused of being the root cause of all evil on the planet. Apparently, in my dedicated career quest to make a difference and improve the lives of countless people, I am considered just an inept, bumbling fool, ultimately responsible for everyone’s poor choices, and certainly not a professional educator striving mightily each day to inspire and motivate other people’s children to be and do better than they were and did yesterday. Ministers, missionaries, and priests are nodding in rueful acknowledgement of that truth. Let me ask you this – how am I supposed to fix in one hour a day what the rest of the world has screwed up in the previous hours (and years) before this kid walked into my classroom? The fact that I work on it again, and again, and again, each day, is a testament to my dedication and stubbornness. Or my complete and total idiocy – I am not sure which some days.

546: A moment

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Sixty seconds.

That is not a lot of time, and entirely too long a time.

The world can rock off its axis in sixty seconds.

Life ends in less.

A moment is here for such a breath of time, and is then gone forever.

Lost and unchangeable forevermore.

I can’t save them. I can only spend them.

Let me make it my goal to waste them only deliberately.

With purpose aforethought.

After all, nobody knows how many of them we’ll get.

536: Endings

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Some things end peacefully, easily, smoothly, calmly. *Some* things end that way, but my life (and my luck) don’t usually work out like that. When something ends, quite often, it isn’t nice. Quite often when something ends, it is downright painful. And no, I am not talking about ordinary, everyday things like the ending of a meal, or the ending of a novel (although, truth be told, I’ve had a few of those cause me some angst, too). The endings I am discussing are a little bigger. Things like relationships, jobs, chapters of life, lives themselves (whether human or animal).

When something big ends, it is seldom a smooth, painless process, even when it is a necessary, unavoidable, or even a healing process. There is still some stuff to sort, and some more stuff to deal with. I always said lessons cost you time, money, or both. That’s true, but they also frequently cost you pain in addition to the time and/or money. Some things are so traumatic they trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which by the way, has nothing to do with war. It is any traumatic event that you are unable to process and get beyond, and you relive it in all its horror over and over. Thankfully, for most of us, those events do dull with a reasonable amount of time and we can move on. But an accident, surgery, a rape, a mugging – any event that traumatizes you can cause it.

You’d think I’d get used to it by now, these endings, and it would not be such a big deal every time one of them happens. ¬†As if the process and the maturity of understanding it makes it hurt any less.

Meh.

534: I don’t know

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I don’t know.

I don’t know how it will turn out.

I don’t know if time will prove this is the right decision.

I don’t know whether I am worthy of the challenge. I don’t know if you are.

I don’t know how I will feel in five years.

I don’t know how the details will work out, if things will fall into place and make this possible.

I don’t know how others will react.

I don’t know if the results, the rewards, will prove worth the risk and effort it will take.

I don’t know how much time we will have.

What I do know is that I hope, and because of that hope, I commit to you.

For now, and for all the tomorrows I have, every day: my choice is you, and by extension, US.

THAT, I do know.

 

What I hope is good, right, worthy, love, in time, happiness, and YES, for all the time we both have left,

and for all the time to come, even after that.

 

(dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. CINOR (Constantly In Need Of Reassurance)