Sunday, February 10, 2013

Strike is imminent . . .

All the striking teachers over the course of this school year have gotten me thinking . . .

I think I'm long overdue for a strike. Twelve years without a raise, and the work load just keeps increasing. Here are some of the demands I could seek, followed by my current working conditions.

We could definitely use some better working conditions.
- cleaning vomit from student's bed sheets before school can begin
- maintaining the cleanliness of the entire school building before during and after school hours
- no breaks, unless you count stopping to prepare the students' lunches
- holidays may be taken at your discretion unless any student might decide to want to do some extra work

Or at least, more narrowed work responsibilities
- Lunch lady
- transportation coordinator
- curriculum selector and purchaser
- handle all classroom discipline no matter the extent including any detentions or outside consequences.
- manage all extra curricular activities, or research, hire and fund any personnel outside of regular classroom
- after school care
- study hall supervisor
- school secretary, security, and assistant principal. Must screen all calls and visitors before during and after school hours.

Maybe more reasonable hours?
- Monday through Friday and occasional weekends. Teaching might begin as early as 8:00 and continue through dinner for various students. Weekends are not guaranteed off, and teachers are expected to always be on the lookout for teachable moments to reinforce classroom learning. On call tutoring at any time, even as late as 8:30 pm on occasion. 
- Teaching will diminish during summer months, with occasional days off here and there.

Adequate pay
- No monetary compensation whatsoever.

Continuation of employment not based on student performance (and yet, many want homeschooler's to submit to annual tests and perhaps relinquish their right to homeschool if their child isn't meeting standards. Seems a little inconsistent on the part of educators, don't ya' think?)
- This is really kind of irrelevant, my kids are all thankfully thriving, I just threw it in there for the sake of argument.

So, why do I keep at it?

- Relational bond with students for the remainder of your life
- Intimate knowledge of students and boundless opportunities to pour into a priceless life.
- Sticky kisses from younger students
- Aha! moments
- Inside jokes
- Visible impact academically, spiritually, emotionally, etc.
- Truly immeasurable

Of course, I'll be back at it in the morning, and most mornings for the next 16 years. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

One Word

Yes, once again, February is my new January . . . Although I have been mentally going after this goal already, it has taken me a month to actually sit down and write about it, and give me the tenacity to speak my goals publicly.

This word came as it often does, rather suddenly.

I thought I wouldn't have a word this year, just focus on some specific areas that I want to re-establish and suddenly I realized that it all fit neatly in one goal, one word -- discipline.

Honestly, an area that I have often struggled in. People label me organized, responsible, and other orderly sounding words, but I knew the discipline that truly merited those labels was not a part of my character.

Well, I can be disciplined for a day, or two. But, true discipline requires long term commitment and change. Discipline needs to seep into your habits and character and change you, not just an hour.

Now, I have a year to tackle that.

Discipline in my health, in homeschool records, in housekeeping, in bedtime schedules, in stewardship, in budgeting, in life. Discipline.

How's it going so far? Well, I've blogged 5 times in one month! I haven't done that in a year, so that's looking up. :) Granted, 5 is barely more than once a week, so I have a ways to go before that habit is back in shape.

I've kept track of money spent for a whole month and stayed under budget in groceries. Yeah! It always catches up with me at some point, but I really want to stay on top of that more consistently. Discipline does not deserve its name if it lacks consistency.

My real excitement has come with a new schedule for exercise, better eating habits, and some weight loss goals. I haven't set a weight loss goal in 20 years. I've occasionally focused on getting in shape, exercising more or being healthier, but a specific number has never been a target for me since shortly before my wedding (my college roommate and I set ourselves a little challenge to lose a few pounds together over the summer). Anyway, I lost 5 pounds in January and have the goal of losing (oh, I cringe to say this for fear of falling short . . .) 15 more. Okay, there it is. I think it's doable, but I'm terrified of fizzling out or getting stuck, or realizing that it was unrealistic for an old lady like myself to trim down that much.

Spark People has been a great tool in helping me stay on track and making me aware of the little calories that add up, and how often I forget to drink water.

The other areas, record keeping, bedtime, and housekeeping are still needing more of my "One Word," But that's why I have a year to focus on it.

Discipline. I'm in for the long haul.