Thursday, October 30, 2008

One of My Favorites

Teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but of course, we do. The kids that walk in and melt my heart on the spot are each so different- it could be their sense of humor or the fact that they propel discussion forward with randomly brilliant comments. Or it could be that I can see in an instant their potential and their past - in a glance I can see their twenty-something self and their seven-year-old self. I love them for who they've been and who they can be, and I love that I get to be with them for a short part of their journey....

One of my favorite students is struggling right now. I adore this kid--I was drawn to him from the first couple weeks of school last year. A kid who was so tiny when he came in as a fifteen-year-old sophomore, and who has grown into an insightful, but misguided junior. He needs one of those ten second visions my Raintree girlies always talked about-- a chance to see what could be possible in the next ten years. He's not seeing past today, and day by day, I watch him slide farther away from the person he could be. I want to shake him-- ask him what he's doing and what he wants. And the sad thing is, I don't think he knows. The rough thing is that I'm not his mom, his friend, his counselor - I'm barely even his teacher since this year he's only a T.A. But I feel like I'm one of the last solid adults standing between him and the chasm he's throwing himself into as he pushes all the others away...what am I supposed to do? Such a fine line between listening and accepting who he is and challenging him on the decisions he's making.

He lied to me today, and it physically hurt to acknowledge that. And even worse, to acknowledge that I cannot fix him. There's no perfect educational tenet for how to make him care or to help him understand how much the people around him care, not about his academic life, but just about him. My program director in college always said, "Even the good Lord can't save them all," to let those of us who would try to save all our students know it wasn't possible. I'm truly sorry to admit tonight that she was right, and I confess that I don't really know where to go from here. Except that I'll wake up, go to work, and look him in the tomorrow demanding calmly an explanation--which won't satisfy me because even in his honest explanation, I'll still know that he has very hard road ahead - one that I'll have to be content to watch and to trust that God knows best. Hopefully Prof. Nelson is wrong about this kid, but as he is one of my favorites, I'd like to see him graduate and go on to live a very happy life...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Two Years

A few years ago, I was crowned the Princess of Useless Information - a title that I gladly wore since it was bequeathed upon me by my extended family who crowned my aunt the Queen. Part of that repository of information includes an odd fascination for dates - not all of which are useless (love knowing people's special days). I can tell you when random things happened in history or in other people's lives. I can tell you my hairdresser's anniversary or what day my brother graduated from high school.
Today is one of those random days that I can't seem to shake out of my head - two years ago I was in my first car accident. A simple rear-ending on Highway 189 as I got to the US-40 junction in Heber. Seems like a trivial thing to mark time with, but my life has not been the same since. There are so many reasons why that day is significant - why the days that followed have become a classic anecdote that my students love (first time I told it, the word "ho" slipped in when I was talking about the other driver - you can imagine the reaction with a bunch of 16-year-olds and my flushed face...). That day was the beginning of thousands of dollars dedicated to fixing all that was "shaken" out of place - it also was the beginning of a learning experience that I am still very much a part of. Being in that accident and the one that followed all too quickly six weeks later has tested my trust in the Lord and tested my ability to let things go. And much to my chagrin, I don't think it will be over soon. Somehow, that's okay though. I lived to the tell the tale, right? And now I understand one more thing that other people go through, and I can be there for them when it's hard to get behind the wheel or go to sleep at night because all you hear is crunching metal and screeching tires. Besides, I still have a lot to learn before the Queen passes on her title. Can't wait to mark more time - to see what adventures and "important dates" life has in store....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jumbled Mind:Me::Coherent Post: ???

Have I ever told you that I like analogies? I like analogies on tests (even if they are not my strongest section). I like analogies in literature. I like sport analogies given by insanely passionate coaches. I like analogies for life from...

Except that not all analogies make sense - I am a girl profoundly rooted in the things that I know. The list of the things I know has seemed tragically small lately. Tragic is a dramatic word choice, but the choice is intentional. I don't know how Obama or McCain is going to lead this country if elected. I don't know how anyone could have summed up Sarah Palin better than Matt Damon when he said the idea of her being president is like a bad Disney movie (sorry Palin fans - this one rings true for me). I don't know how I'm supposed to do well on a test where I can't skip the questions I don't like (hello, GRE is tomorrow folks! Can we say I think I'd actually rather be at work?). I don't know how to combat the unknowns in life (ie the timetable for Mr. Right to wander into my life, where I'm supposed to be next year, if I go to grad school, where, what specific degree should I seek, etc, etc) since I'm a girl who likes to have something that resembles a plan. I don't know how the kids I teach are going to make good choices when their peers and their own insecurities drown their good sense and lure them towards things they intrinsically know are wrong....

And yet, this past Friday I was reminded of one thing that I do know more perhaps than I know anything else. I was talking to my dear friend Hillary about one of the hardest things we've had to grapple with lately (a friend whose personal choices are having a terrible affect on his life and future) and feeling bleak as our discussion of the "hows" and "whys" of the situation yielded few concrete answers. As our conversation was coming to a close, I told her how this was one of those situations in my life where as Brooke Constable would say we have to "Let go, let God." And I felt sure that God knew exactly the battle our friend was having. God knew the battle Hillary and I were having over trying to understand our friend and trying to understand a God whose plan included so many options for unhappiness when the real goal is joy.

I don't know many things, but I do know God knows us and loves us more than we can possibly know. And though I lack answers and direction in my life that may seem or actually be critical, I know that He knows where we are all supposed to be. If we put our faith in Him, He will guide us. He always does. And let's be honest, if that some of guidance includes whether to mark choice B or choice D tomorrow on the analogy section, I would be the last to complain.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

4 Weeks

4 weeks from tonight-
*I will have taken the GRE (can we say math issues? had to meet with a math tutor for the first time since Julie Blodgett tutored me my freshman year of high school)
*I will have my first quarter grades posted and be a week plus into the second quarter (where is the time going?)
*I will be three days from leaving for my annual Tahoe trip with the girls (any additional takers on the trip?!)
*I will have voted for the next president of the United States and will be actually watching the votes roll in
*I will just be getting back from Mae's blessing weekend (one of those insanely quick trips where we try to fit as many family events into 36 hours as we can)
*I will have new contact prescription (I am squinting like a fool to read things - time to to go to the doctor!)
*I will be finished with my second of three Stanford classes (dancing at the thought)
*I will have rediscovered my sense of humor that is not laced with unhealthy (but hilarious doses) of sarcasm

This is just the beginning folks - October is going to be crazy, but great. I love October. Such an adventure--here we go!