Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fightin' Friday

Years ago when I was teaching in Questa, NM, I was on morning bus duty when a fight broke out between two girls. Although both girls had steady boyfriends, one girl had been seen holding hands with the other girl's boyfriend - hence the fight. After escorting the girls to the office, it dawned on me that the boyfriends would be getting off the buses soon. I ran the length of the school, down the hall to the bus area. Sure enough I got there as one boyfriend took a swing at the other boyfriend. A male teacher caught one of the boys around the waist and held him while I grabbed the other and dragged him away. I sent him to my office to wait on me.

I didn't really care much for the girls, but the boys were two of my favorites - all time favorites. The boys were as different as night and day. One boy was from an old, well-to-do Questa family. He was smart and fun and always pleasant. He has done well in the world - as I knew he would. The other boy from a broken home, poor, on his own, but charming and easy to like. His life would always be hard, but I felt like with encouragement, he could make it.

It was the second boy that I sent to my office to wait on me. It was his girlfriend who had cheated on him with the other guy. When I got there, there were big tears in his eyes, and he said, "I just wanted someone to love me." It broke my heart. I wanted to take him home and mother him and love him as his mother should have done. But I couldn't and didn't, because he was a grown man. I still think of him often and worry about him.

Last Friday a fight nearly broke out in my fourth hour class.  Silly talk went from silly to mouthy to fightin' words very quickly. I wanted them out of my classroom since they were a danger to everyone in the room. I called the office and told the principal that I was sending them to him. And off they went. My adrenaline was pumping - probably not as much as theirs, but it took a while to settle everyone down. 

One of the boys is the deputy county sheriff's son. He is big kid. I like him well enough. The other kid is from a druggie, broken home. He is on his own doing the best he can. He is smart and charming. I like him. But I worry that he won't make it. I worry that he will be swept away by the awfulness in his life.

It was the second boy who came back to my room. He apologized. He cried. I encouraged him to keep going - that lots of teachers want to see him do well. I don't know if he will make it. It's tough to be on your own. When both of your parents are losers, there is no one to teach you a better way. Teachers, counselors, administrators, etc, try to encourage these kids, but there is really only so much we can do. After all, those kids are not ours. Kids are only with us for a few hours a day. Ultimately, they have to make the right decisions on their own. Very few make it like in "The Blind Side." It breaks my heart.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


My principal came by my room earlier this week. I mentioned the snit thing when he asked how things were going. He said something simple and yet useful. "Don't take it personally. Kids who are snits here at school are snits at home. Kids who are angry here at school are angry at home." Yep, it was helpful to remember that it was not personal. It was wearing on me, though.

When I taught school years ago, I was pretty tough. Teaching was enjoyable for me, but I had a very tough exterior. And that is okay. But when I quit teaching, I realized I don't have to be that person. It took me awhile to relax and be me again. I'm a very happy person most of the time. I want to be happy. I don't want to be mean, but that was in me, too. At a high school reunion once, an old friend said, " were always so sweet, but a little bit mean." I knew exactly what he was saying. I want to be the sweet person, but I will fight if pushed. I struggle with that from time to time. I need to keep it balanced.

More later. Off to school.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Snitty high school girls may be the death of me. I can put up with a lot of things from kids, but I hate snitty.  And why? What did I do to deserve their snit? One little girl makes snide remarks about the art I choose for them to do - as if she is too good to do drawings and value lessons. So far, I haven't seen anything impressive from these snits. I do have some impressive artists, but for the most part, the majority of the kids don't put out much effort. That's okay. Snitty is not okay. It may be time for me to throw a fit and fire someone.

Other than that, I like teaching. It is going fairly well. Moms are not going so well. Toby's mom has had some set backs with her broken hip. My mom's arm is not healing as well as it should. Health issues seem to throw both moms into disorientation resulting in, well, snits. There, that may be my problema. I'm getting snit from two sides. On one side, patience is the name of the game. On the other side, the snit is about to hit the fan   I hope I don't get those two sides mixed up :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

So Far

School has been going on now for two weeks. So far, so good. I don't have anything exciting or really all that interesting to tell you about my school teaching. Many times over the years with my art classes, I get the feeling that the students just are not picking up what I'm laying down. Sometimes I get depressed over it. I spend lots of time wondering how I could get my art across to the kids and sometimes adults. But the truth is that some people will never get art. They just don't see it. That's okay. I will keep trying to get the rest of my students to understand. I want to see the light come on.

We've been working on line and drawing and value or shading. I know that some of the kids are bored with it. Dang it! Even I want to move on, but this is important. If you can't count to ten, you probably won't do well in math. So it is with art; you need to be able to do the basics before moving on to algebra.

And the kids themselves, well, I'm working on relationships, learning names, and getting to know them. Most of them do not care about me. I'm sure they see me as an old lady teacher. Too bad. I don't feel old. And I have lots of useful and un-useful knowledge to share.

Over the weekend we went to Wichita Falls. Toby and Jes rode in the Hotter n Hell. They only rode the 25 miles. I bowed out this year. We had lots of relatives coming in to spend Saturday in WF. I did not want to be tired and worn out and sore. So I went shopping while they rode. They had lots of fun without me. After they finished the race, they drank a little beer and danced a little at the finish tent. Part of the race takes you through Sheppard Air Force Base. The Air Force puts on a good show - setting up an alley of planes for the bike riders to ride through, serving hydrating drinks and such, and cheering the bikers on. I have posted such stuff before. It is great. This year one of the pilots at the planes looked a lot like Maverick. Jesse said the women were lined up to take their picture with him. She got in line too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day One

One day down and 174 to go - so my father used to say about his school year. It went well. I was standing in the hall with  two men teachers whose rooms are near mine before the first bell. We are suppose to stand in the hall when the kids change classes. Anyway the two men teacher/coaches pretty much ignored me other than me putting in my two cents from time to time. They seem like nice enough young men, but a bit standoffish - kind of surprised every time I said something. An older man came down the hall and held out his hand to meet me and introduced himself as Gene. I think he may be a counselor of some sort from down the hall. I did have the thought that the elder generation had better manners.

Everyone eventually meandered away and I went back into my classroom wondering where the students were. Was my clock wrong? Didn't the bell ring? I went back out into the hall. Eventually Gene came by again and I asked him where the students were. In a slow Okie voice he said, "Well, everyone is meeting in the gymnasium this morning. Come along." Sure 'nuff, everyone was in the gym. Gene was nice enough to come get me. It was a good thang, too. The Principal called my name and introduced me as the new art teacher. I stepped out and waved to the school. I wanted to curtsy, but I was afraid I would have tripped and fallen in front of everyone. Then the Prince introduced another new counselor. Later I asked her if she had known about the meeting in the gym. She said no and she still didn't know what was going on. So it seems that everyone is a bit laid back at this school (or possibly thoughtless, but I like to believe the best in others). When we got back to our rooms, I gave the two teacher/coaches the what-for about leaving me behind. They said the old art teacher never talked to them. No excuses, boys! If you see me looking or doing something stupid or not doing something smart, let me know. I will return the favor.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mountain Refreshment

There is something about going to the mountains that is refreshment for the soul. Not to mention the cool weather is very refreshing to the body. We spent last week in Northern NM. It was like going home. Upon arriving in Taos at my SIL's Taos House Retreat, I got that overwhelming feeling that I sometimes get when I go back to NM. It is hard to explain, but it is very emotional. I want to cry.  I get a lump in my throat and feel like I've been punched in the stomach. Yep, it hurts. And yet, I'm happy to be there and I always enjoy myself. I've never done drugs, but maybe it is like being off drugs for years and then getting a whiff of your favorite drug and it brings a longing that surprises you. Or maybe it is like seeing an old lover that you know was not good for you, but you remember the good times and long for what could have been.

I talked to my son about my feelings. He was feeling something too. He told me that not many people had a childhood like his growing up in the mountains. Such freedom and beauty! It is hard to explain to people. There is something magical or enchanting about my mountains, but I know their faults too. I know the ugly side of life there. Sometimes the mountains can destroy people. When you are in the land of enchantment, you don't always see the drawbacks until it is too late. I am glad we moved from the mountains, and I'm glad I can go back now and enjoy them.

We took my son and his family - all my grand-babies! It was fun showing them around. We took them on a hike to a mountain lake. We took them to the Rio Grand Gorge bridge. They got to see the Pueblo and do some shopping at the Taos Plaza. They fished in Red River. They played in the hot-tub. And we all ate some great Mexican food.

After the kids left, Toby and I rested. We also spent time doing tourist thangs in Taos. Our friends, Jo and Gene, were in in Angel Fire, so we spent lots of time with them. One night we all met at the Taos Inn and listened to Susan Gibson, a Texas songwriter and singer. One night they came over to the Taos House and we cooked out on the grill. Then Toby and I went to Angel Fire so that Jo and I could paint together. We went up to the Vietnam Memorial to paint. It was a first for me - a bit emotional, but beautiful. I'll post my painting soon. Here is Jo's painting. 

It really was a nice vacation. We even spent some time with family in RR. Now it is back to the real world. Teacher inservice started today. That is a story itself, but I will tell it later.