A movement from working to retired to encore life is a journey. My journey started in Arizona, wound through 22 countries and 49 states. First the family followed us and now we follow them, finding ourselves in the First State.
The first six weeks have flown by and it is time to give grades. My students have soared, in all areas. We were handed some pretty tough cases, and we have prevailed. Still, I am a bit sad. The new policy at school says that a "reward card" will be given to students who: make the grades, have correct behavior, are at school AND (this is new) meet their reading goal. A certain number of books have to be read and the tests have to be passed to make that goal. I have two young ladies who struggle to read. They CAN read, but they are not successful in test taking. One read and tested on 14 books - passing three. Yes, I can counsel her to slow down. Yes, I can counsel her to redo. The problem is I rarely see her anymore because of the new schedules AND she slipped through my fingers. The other read a long book -but failed the test - three times! I am pretty frustrated. These are good kids and will probably become disheartened when they do not get a card. The new sheriff in town says, "that is the way the ball bounces". I never like to have the ball bounce in my students' court when they are actually trying!
Weekly, I pull my chair to the computer and begin to think abou twhat I understand in education. This is a challenge, what do I really think? My professor is really only interested in format, so she makes us take a stand. My problem is that I am constantly in the middle, because I do not beleive that extremes work. This week is "Intelligent Design". I ended up reading many articles to come to my paper formation. Here is an interesting one. John Paul II on evolution. http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm Back to work!
It is difficult to believe that it is already the middle of September. School is flowing and the kids are great. Mr Nicholas is growing up and beginning to really communicate. Life----is good! Now I have to catch up with all of my school chores before I go to bed!
My husband and I watched a movie last night. It was in Tibetan. Don't let that scare you. It was an amazing story of leadership.
What struck us most was their inability to see how incredibly poor they were. It just was a fact. My thought is that I have become complacent in what I have and need to remember that most people in the world have nothing.
We get word when a West Point soldier is killed in the war. Yesterday it was a classmate of my son. As a tribute, I am posting his quotes from his Facebook page. Lt Tyler Parten- may he rest in peace. 'Should' is the worst word in the English language. Regret is never an option."--Devery Doran "Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean evereything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; that love, true love, never dies..No matter if they're true or not, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in."--Hub McCann in Secondhand Lions "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."-- Edmund Burke "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." "No man, for any considerable period of time, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the truth."--Nathaniel Hawthorne "The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstnaces, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company..a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes."--Charles Swindoll "Embrace relational uncertainty. It's called romance. Embrace spiritual uncertainty. it's called mystery. Embrace occupational uncertainty. It's called destiny. Embrace emotional uncertainty. It's called joy. Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It's called revelation."--Mark Batterson
Tomorrow. Neil Hyland- last time I saw him was on a metro stop. What a shock. We had not seen each other since the children were tiny and my husband and he were Captains in the Army together. We played many games of RISK and talked religion late into the night with two other friends. The five of us- the babies in bed and drinks 'round a table with a good board game. He had written us when he heard about the bombing of my husband's office building in Saudi Arabia. Inquiring about hubby's health and our nerves. Mot of all he wanted to know if the kids were all right. He was a great uncle (Army kids have lots of aunts and uncles). September 12th is when the Army released identified names. Since most of our friends were AG, and that was the shop that was hit in the Pentagon, I checked the list. I thought- maybe someone we had glanced by might have been injured. There was Neil's name. There was another name as well- a Sergeant who had survived the bombing in Saudi with us. I did not know him well- but there he was. they both were gone. I cannot tell you the feeling. I had watched the news just after the first tower was hit. I called a friend and got my children out of be to watch the news. I knew it was a terrorist. I could feel it. And then the second plane.
Tomorrow I will share a small clip with my students about the world trade center. It is the part about the last piece being brought out. I will mention Neil's name. I will not get gory. I think they deserve to know- especially since about 25% of them have a parent serving overseas because of that attack. How do you remember it? How will you memorialize it?
Old already- this phrase is something I thought yesterday as each of my classes watched the President's back to school speech. We were a day late because the administration does not like the President, so the entire school did not watch it. We could watch it in our rooms if we wished- as Social Studies teachers. Actually, worked out well for me, because we could immediately talk about it. They watched and listened. It hit hard at my group. Foster kids, English language learners, military's kids, single mother kids, farm kids and everything in between. What was the overriding message, "I did it, so can you!". I am tired of the line of old pro players who troop through our school for a fee. Next week we have a yoyo man telling kids not to bully. Yup, we can meet together for that...but to hear an inspiring story and speech from the most powerful person in the world right now...the politics is too much. My second hour spontaneously broke out paper and pencil. They wrote a letter telling what they will do with their lives to better the country. Become a chef because families need cooks. Become a doctor because my sister has problems that no one seems to be able to help. I was actually shocked. In less than ten minutes I had great papers in cursive (very unusual these days). Shout outs for spelling of larger words (only the Language Arts teachers have dictionaries). Back and forth discussion as to what a President would want to read about their lives. The day before I had come home dejected. I had decided this was my last year. The hours, the papers to grade, the fight to get what I need to teach, the misunderstanding about why I teach. Today I go back again- ready again. These kids deserve what everyone else deserves- a chance. You know why? Yes, they can!
I agree that there is a rush for health care reform. The reason there is a rush is because there has been nothing real on the table for 20 years or more (after medicare) and when something does come forward it is shouted down- sometimes by the very people the plan could help. Even more often it is shouted down by people who are covered by medicare (the ultimate socialized medicine)! What would happen if we decided to rid ourselves of THAT corrupt system?
What is an alternative the plan? One critic of mine suggests tort reform. What does the legal side of the house say? Without judicial review drug companies and hospitals get away with murder. You can scream poor treatment (www.mydomesticchurch.com) but without the power to sue, little will be done in current society. Do we take away that power to sue in malpractice? I live with that now. You cannot sue the military. They settled my husband's case with a board and inquiry. Socialized. Works for me. How about my brother in law's misdiagnosis? Nothing there (except the fear of suing and LOADS of bills). He had great insurance. He worked until his end days so he could keep his insurance.
"All lawyers are left winged democrats!" I don't know any malpractice lawyers. How about a chime in from some of the people who work for lawyers or have lawyer husbands on this stance.
"We don't want socialized medicine!" My meds are generic. I understand there is a compromise between military health and drug companies to keep the costs down. I can get the "real thing" if it is the best thing. My nurse practitioner knows me better than the last HMO provider did in Arizona. We have friends who have chose to get private insurance even though they are fully covered by the military. We will probably do that if we leave this area. We can afford it and have no pre existing conditions. Are you in a HMO? You are in socialized medicine.
"We don't want to be like Canada." Personally I do not know any Canadians, but my cancer ridden brother in law sat in emergency rooms for hours because there were so many uninsured who used the emergency room as a clinic. The reality is we have lines now. Ask anyone who has tried to get in to a specialist in the last 12 months. We have denial of coverage now. Ask anyone who has been laid off and has a preexisting problem. We have people who need help now. Just because it is not you- is that the reason to deny that it is a problem?
I have not read the bill. I do support a compromise of the stances. I don't know what that looks like. I fear we will NEVER GET THERE! The bruhaha seems like the argument of cafeteria Catholics. "I want this- but not that- especially if it is painful to me- personally. I don't need _______ (you fill in the blank). " The problem is that society is a package deal- just like the Church. You cannot ignore the part you think could go away - someday.
Higher taxes? Heck no. I don't want higher taxes either. Really, I would rather NOT pay for the illegals or the uninsured- they can get jobs and pay for it themselves. I would rather not pay for the person who gets in a car accident and has no insurance. Please tell me that I do not have to pay for them. I don't want to pay for elderly medical pills when they can afford it themselves. You mean they don't have to use their own money? Because why? Maybe I am arguing so much BECAUSE I would much rather be on this side of the argument? I'd rather not pay. I'd rather not care.
The reality is I DO PAY. We ALL do. This IS a Christian issue! I am compelled to care. There has to be a way to control how many "go go chairs" are out there.....
I am SO frustrated over the health care issue. People whining and complaining that the federal government might KILL our current EXCELLENT health system. You know the one- private insurance that covers everything at a whim. Maybe I am just an odd duck. I know lots of people where the cracks are. My parent had Parkinson's. He had great supplemental insurance-yet there were times we could not get an appointment for him. A friend's mother had cancer with Medicare and great insurance, but she was upset when a doctor missed some vital signs and the mother died "prematurely in her early 80's". My daughter had health insurance, but did not realize it. Her appendix was removed in the emergency room and she was sent home six hours after the surgery. My sister in law had cancer and the insurer made sure her rates went up and pushed her out of the system- $2200. a month. I know two families who have chosen to abort a child rather than deal with the bills(after insurance) of those children who had serious medical issues. The medical issues would have sent them into bankruptcy and more. On to the "heck I don't know anyone uninsured". A nephew who lost his health insurance because of chronic illness- declared bankruptcy - twice. He is a pharmacist now (in case you think only slugs get into this position). A small business owner who "hires" her adult sons to make sure they are covered because they do not make enough to pay for the $400. premiums. For those of you who have health insurance and are smug in that fact- what will you do when you can no longer cover your own children. They take that Taco Bell part time job to get by and they have no insurance and then they are in an accident? Yup, I see those people every day - in the military. Parents who put their lives on the line instead of going bankrupt because a child is ill. They are insured now- but they chose the only system that would take them and their children with no consideration of prior problems. The price is they choose to possibly give their lives. IS this volunteer or mercenary? The health care is the same for E-1 to General officer. It is good enough for most congressmen. Opps- it is government run. BTW- the military only covers dependents until 22 now- whether they are in school or out.
I don't get the Christian take on this.
Cover the really poor and the people over 65 (who were only supposed to last another five years when their care was covered) but forget about those who are in the middle. Is this REALLY Christianity? The same people who stand outside of clinics and pray for babies? Only care for the elderly (you know they have to have that orthopedic shoe and go go chair) and the poor- but everyone else live in fear of getting really sick (unless you are a well paid professional or work for one OR are in public sector)
You say there is a way to do it- just not the way that is proposed. WHAT IS THE WAY???????????????????????????????????????????????
And yes, I am fully covered and will be until I die, under public sector medical care.
My students are wonderful. There is no doubt in my mind there is a change in our school. I do not know what it is- the mixture is very much the same. We have a renewed administrative staff and many more "chores" on our list. Still...This year seems like it has come in with hope. Even the tech who works on our computers mentioned it last night at dinner. We were told this is the worst fifth grade they have ever had- and yet, we are seeing the best start to the year. No time outs yet (detention). The flow in the halls is good and children are engaged. I have been ill- but teaching anyway. Not such a good idea, but the first weeks of school are so vital to the entire year. I have been light sensitive- so the lights have been low- which has made the classes quieter. It is the largest group I have ever taught- between 25 and 31 in a class. I think it will be an excellent year!