27 November 2006

Holiday doggie dangers

What a harrowing night!

Whilst I worked away teaching French to my students, my dog decided to eat a small Christmas ornament. Don't assume he was home alone. My father, bless him, could not begin to keep up with my dog who, if a toddler, would be in the midst of his terrible twos. Despite grandfatherly vigilance, my Beau chomped on a tiny glass snowman and ingested a few little jagged bits. However, it wasn't until nearly 6 PM that the dog decided to regurgitate those bits onto the floor.

Panic sets in quickly.

Being a father and a pet owner, the adrenaline can get going just as easily when either loved one is in a potentially dangerous condition. I was on the way to the vet and speed dialing the clinic's number in less than 5 minutes. Fortunately my decade trusted veterinarian was able to reassure me, and instead I needed only to stop at the drugstore for some stomach remedies and to monitor my dog through the night.

Fortunately, within a few hours the vomiting tapered into to peacefully puppy sleep.

Thank goodness for generic pink bismuth, bread slices and patience.

19 November 2006

Surprise, surprise

Well, my extremely wonderful and generous boyfriend, coupled with a nice translation job has helped realize part of my holiday wish list.

The kids and John will receive custom engraved iPods in their stockings this Christmas: (Product)red nano for my daughter, silver nano for my son, and video for John. I don't know that much else will be under the tree, but I think Santa will get rounds and rounds of applause this year.

Those of you out there wondering what to get now that this is done, there's always room for iTunes gift cards or an introductory eMusic subscription. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

09 November 2006

Youth Today

They are so worth it! Trust me. I've been lucky enough as a teacher to see many students that I'm glad will be running the country when I'm in my twilight years. But today, I was given the reassurance that open-minded, well intentioned, concerned young people are out there. Even one a school year gives me hope. I know the hope isn't lost.

02 November 2006

For my hero N...

When you receive your teaching license and a principal gives you a classroom, they tell you that students will consider you a role model and that you will serve as a mentor to young people. What they don't tell you is that some of the students will think of you as more than that: friend, brother, father, hero. That last one is a stunner.

This year it really has hit me just how intently my students watch and observe me. They want to know everything about me, and I don't really want to let them all see too much. But sooner or later you get students that, basically, you love. There are certain ones that you care so deeply for that when they hurt, so do you. When they laugh, you can't help but smile. When they triumph, you rejoice. I care about all my students. I want them all to succeed. But every now and again, I have one or two that I want to see make it to the moon, to the sun, to farthest, brightest star. They come in small waves, students whose future it's as if I can see it laid out before me, little signposts ahead where they can stop and be great. Somewhat selfishly, I hope they'll look back from that future greatness and maybe nod or wave in thanks.

What kind of student inspires that esteem from a teacher? It's sometimes the child who speaks French like a prince of Versailles and could be a great artist. Another one wants to be a Navy pilot but decides to go to Tech. Other times it's the girl who decides the teacher's alma mater will be hers, too. Once it was the boy who took his own life, and you couldn't foresee or stop the tragedy. Or it can be the boy who wears cool pants, plays guitar and gets arrested.

In some ways, they become like my own children though I do not try to supplant their parents. Because I am the teacher, I cannot be a friend. They trust me, so I do not betray them...ever! Instead, I awake at 2:15 worried whether my recommendation letter was good enough, whether that unbearable sadness is over now, whether that one is safe at home.

So to all teachers, tread lightly. Know that you are someone's hero. Love your students like you would your own children. Be careful. Be honest. Don't try to be cool. Be kind. Keep high expectations. Reserve disappointment and show it with care. Direct criticism toward improvement.

For N..., thanks for the hard work, the trust, the music, the stick figures, the finished homework, the laughter, the respect.