Saturday, September 17, 2011

First Week of School

This week, after a summer of fun and relaxation it's back to work.  That involves getting up at five, five days a week, and driving seven miles on I-5 to get ready to go on stage for six hours in front of thirty squirrelly ten-year-olds looking for guidance, entertainment and knowledge.   

It's good, in the sense that these are all mostly sweet kids trying to do their best, and that I'm trying to help out.  It sucks, in that I have to get up so early and do something I wouldn't necessarily do if I had my druthers.

Wednesday I went to the all-school assembly with my new class.  I ran across many of last year's students, now with their new teacher, who all hollered out, "Hey, Mr. D,"  and smiled and waved.  That feels good.

Thursday was a marathon.  I called off building security at o-dark hundred, made lesson plans for two classes, prepped for art, and went to an hour-long staff meeting before greeting students.  This was Picture Day, as well as PE and messy art project day, so you can imagine the conflict that brings to a few of the fashion-conscious young girls. 

Since we're still getting to know one another, there was also sharing of stuffed sea horses, rubber elephants, and soccer trophies.  During lunch break, I distributed thirty sets of paper, brushes and water colors for the first stage of making the Name Posters that will encircle the room. 

One student was asked to please leave the class and sit out in the hall  Two other students put a petition in my "Notes to Teacher" basket to have the aforementioned student moved because he talks and bothers them.  He and I have had several heart-felt talks--a good kid with no impulse control.

Wednesday, after the anti-bullying assembly, I listened to a long, halting and whispered complaint by a wee wisp of a girl about a classmate named Gladys (I didn't know kids had been named Gladys for the past fifty years).  Julia wanted to play with just Ellie, but Gladys insisted upon joining their game.  I said I'd talk to Mrs. B____ about Gladys, but I doubt if I'll get to that for awhile.

There were also lessons in place value of numbers through the millions, how to write a good sentence and how to decode unfamiliar multi-syllabic words.

I checked out Craigslist Puerto Vallarta on my laptop at lunch, and didn't see much of anything except $1200/month condos.  I sat, mesmerized, in front of the laptop looking at my screensaver:  all the pics I took this summer in Guanajuato. 

Now, at the end of the first week of school, I remember last night's dream was about work.  I woke up thinking about how I might impress upon these young people the importance and joy of learning.  Later today--Saturday--I'll grade papers, and tomorrow I'll go in to school so I can put up the completed Name Posters and laminate the Rats.

Friday, September 9, 2011


In addition to enjoying the last few days of a late, late summer, and before the weeks of preparing for what might well become our final year of work, my dear wife and I have spent a lot of time talking about what our next pre-retirement step should be.  Soon after our kind of disillusioning visit to Guanajuato, we seemed to decide that we should just stay in the States, in a small Oregon or Washington town near the coast, and work for progressive political change in this country.  I began to channel Airstreams, and radical RV caravans  to demonstrations on the Mall in DC.

The Little Virgin's Basilica in Talpa
A few days later, our feelings had changed.

First, BFW said that she'd checked Craigslist and even the tiniest of local towns had decent rentals that were too expensive.  Although I privately disagreed with her--my research showed the rents were about the same in Seaside as Puerto Vallarta--I didn't argue because, second, neither of us really wanted to hang around in the same ol'-same ol' U S of A.  Last, and most importantly, we really wanted the adventure of moving to a foreign land.

After realizing that we would like to maintain our connections with friends in the Puerto Vallarta area, we turned our sights to high up in the mountains above the bay, where it's cooler in the summer.  We're thinking right now of a little town called Talpa de Allende, which is about 3 hours by bus from PV, and the home of the miraculous Little Virgin of Guadalupe, to whom infirm from all over Mexico and the world come to be healed.