Well, it's the end of another school year. If I look back, I see all the many ups and downs, the highs and lows. And there were a lot. If I had to summarize, I'd say that I loved my students and had a lot of frustration with school politics. I suppose it's not so odd that when working in a high school, some of the teachers begin to act like high schoolers, complete with cliques and gossip. That happens everywhere, I know. I think because as a kid I was excluded, I try my hardest not to do that and still find myself surprised when others do it. I just don't see any purpose in it. Of course, not everyone will like everyone; I'm not naive enough to think otherwise. I just still get surprised sometimes by the lack of collegiality. But I plan to continue my own friendships and try to include everyone, even if it's just asking how someone's weekend went. Not to sound sanctimonious, but I think life in general would be a lot better if more folks did that, stopped being so selective and afraid and reached out a little more.
Next year I'll be at the same school, thankfully. After that, it all depends on a lot of factors that I don't have control over and a few major ones that I do. I'm going to continue to improve my teaching, utilizing what I'm learning in my special ed classes to improve my methods of getting as many kids as possible to learn as much as possible. One of my students used the word pugnacious in his essay and I felt like giving him an automatic 100%, I felt so proud. I've got ninth graders next year, the first time I've taught ninth grade boys. I just have to remember they're all bravado and still very sweet to an extent, and they're all scared out of their minds to come out of their comfort zone of eighth grade and into the big high school, surrounded by large, cool upperclasspeople. I plan to work a little harder and a little smarter, and focus on my strengths rather than my weaknesses. Actually, I'm trying to work on that as a general life mantra.
On the off-for-summer note, I'm currently sitting on the couch watching early-round Wimbledon and switching occasionally to CNN to watch footage about Michael Jackson. What a strange, amazing, sad life he had. What a musical talent who seemed to have gotten tangled up too tightly in his own fame. Thriller was the first real record I ever owned, and I listened to it incessantly, though at age five or six the video terrified me. (I had an overactive imagination: For a long time, I convinced myself that E.T. moved in his poster on my wall, which also frightened me.) Anyway, Penny is lying on the adjacent couch, asleep on her back with her feet in the air. It ranks as one of my favorite sights. Ohp, looks like a dream coming on: I see the toes twitching. Love it.
Speaking of sights (wow, this post really has rambled), I came home last evening to find this:
Part of a dead tree collapsed in our backyard. I don't know if it was wind or hit by lightning or what. Mercifully, it didn't hit anything but the other tree. Yesterday we had thunderstorms of epic proportions that came and went for hours. We lost power briefly, and I almost hydroplaned on the highway while going 50 mph (where the usual speed is about 65, mind you--you could barely see in the torrential downpour). Thunder crashed so loudly, you would have thought Industrial Light and Magic created it. I kind of loved it, actually. I don't think I would have minded if the power had gone out.
So anyway, when I look back on all this introspection of teaching and dogs and storms, what it all comes down to is that I need to relax and take more stock in myself. I can't promise anything, but I'll try.