Sunday, September 23, 2012

Helpful Acronyms for Teachers

The OSSR (still not sure)
took my baby away--
the IT (Instructional Team)
at the PLC (Professional Learning Community)
dipped into the RTTT (Race To The Top) MONEY (regular word)

and it is so so QUIET (regular word)
that my Kindle (not a regular word and somewhat useless) won't shut up
about MID (Monthly Indicator Data) and the CFA (not sure)
don't get me started on my pin, my password
don't ask me which one is which
and which one changed or was changed
in order for teachers to be connected
*not a poem


There are no footprints on the wet sand for her to follow.  A wisp of hair blowing, the stratus clouds, one shiny toenail.  Her hands and feet and legs are like her mom's, her stance and posture.
     There are broken shells like star constellations scattered on that wide wet plain.  She stands on her right foot.
     The western Levi jacket embroidered by Grandma for Dad fits loosely, arms too long.
     Is she crying or smiling?  It is difficult to tell.  Her eyebrows--dark, dusky.  Short shadow more recognizable than just having finished assertiveness training--lots of pockets in the cross-stitched designs--vaguely Indian. She's headed to the Warm Springs Rez in a few days to begin summer school teaching--a catch-up English class.  She fears she doesn't know what she's doing.  The students will present her with a necklace of dentalium shells strung through the handle of a tiny basket.  The basket, empty, that will worry her, big as a womb.  She won't have children--she will be lonely, missing Jerry, at one of the secretary's houses, an AA sponsor where she house-sits, sober and almost burnt down the house boiling water in a kettle that did not whistle.  Almost regretting her whole life--but seeing seven mountain peaks, all volcanic, smelling sage and healing and using the federal government phone line for free after classes.  How it turned out to be kind of easy--how she walked by fields of alfalfa and mint that summer and almost won the hot rod in the Fourth of July raffle there, that summer in Madras, in Eastern Oregon, her single life without Jerry after seven years and all through her master's degree and mom's cancer and her sisters getting married, having kids, all their friends getting hitched except for her.  How her feet never seemed big but there they are in the picture, long like her mom's.  Carrying her a bit further, getting more ideas as she went along, more imagining, more art and beauty landscape.  Everything bare.  I am so dark in dark blue.  I wear the same color now.

Famous Aquaintances

It was a famous idea to be so well-known.  Tina, known for her antics, Corine for being the baby, Mom the stunning beauty, and Dad so unhappy.  Each day we met and it was as if we were a band, getting ready to warm-up or else warming-up for a performance.  The performance was the evening supper, dinner, where we would sit--so hungry and Dad on the verge of exploding.  He would not speak about his job as a social worker, even though we were dying to know any detail.  Any detail at all.  Coors, Bud. 

It was lasagna or spaghetti or tacos.  Tina and I.  Mom was at school--Corine too little and not interested. Mom later at work--Dad, home at 5:30, the same every day--to eat quickly--if Mom was there he be so angry--wouldn't like the food, act spoiled.

Tina always spilled her glass of milk.  Dad was mad.  Milk was expensive but cheap compared to the cartons in Nome that we never bought--only tasting some at our friends' house.  They later moved to Arizona, their dad a pilot for Weins.

When Mom got home, she didn't eat, but when to bed and slept.  She worked as a teacher.  We never saw her except in the mornings when we wanted a ride instead of the bus.  She would be upset, coffee cup in hand, running late.

She was a great teacher.  The kids loved her.  She loved the kids.  She could talk forever to the parents.  She loved to talk.  Period.

I'd help her in her classroom after school sometimes--clean up construction paper, gather scissors and glue--and then whole days during breaks from college when she was going through chemo and wore a wig. 

I hate the wig, it is so itchy and hot, she said.

 Once, she took it off and showed her bald head to her students.  They were very frightened.  She didn't look like the same person without hair or fake hair. 

I'm doing fine, she lied.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Teacher Part II

Part Two of Teaching

It begins and ends with a gesture.  It is complete in and of itself anyway.  Above and beyond this its extra.  There are names for this in a language I tried to study.  The language was Manx.  The sound, mysterious.  It sounds more than likely.  It sounds islandy. 

The main thing about the 9th graders is that you cannot say their names aloud.  It is against the rules.  They are loud ghosts in class.  If you say somebody's name, it makes them into a 9th grader again.  High school is tough but not.  The moster mash is coming up.  There are rumors of a fog machine.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Teacher Zombie Now

What I See From Where I Stand
                When I look around the room, I see lots of faces I do not know.  My students are not my age.  I am their instructor this semester at Hawaii Community College.  Some faces I do know.  There are more than two =people that I do know in this room.  Well, there is one that I don’t know but I feel as if I know him (he is from Oahu and could be any one of a number of young boys/men  I taught when I lived on the Windward Side of that island).  I see that we are lucky in America, we get to do things that other countries are not allowed or don’t have the idea to do.   I see students from the Big Island, I see students from other Islands and even from other Pacific regions in the class.  I see students from the other side of the island, the Kona side.  They are a breath of fresh air in a muggy and hot atmosphere.  They bring the open land with them; they bring the dry keawe and the white sand memories of old Hawaii.  They bring hard work and a positive attitude.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Steps to Evaluate Your Peer Teacher

1.  Don't peer into the classroom, the abyss of bored text messaging.
2.  DO bring fresh coffee, flowers, extra Kleenex.  For the teacher.
3.  Don't stand at the front of the room with a digital device marking things wearing a frowny face.
4.  DO bring cash.
5.  Don't start talking to the STUDENTS.  They will think the class is over only twelve minutes in.
6.  DO ignore anything the students say that is negative.  They do not think their teacher is hot, therefore, anything she does or says will be, "we don't learn anything in this class," and, "we don't know what we're supposed to do."
7.  Don't mention the FUCKING Pacing Guide in your notes.
8.  DO not write anything negative about your peer, even if she did not say hello to you in the hall that one time.  Yes, she did flip you off when it looked like she was scratching her mole, shifting her glasses.
9.  Don't forget to make some secret payments to your Peer Teacher's student loan balance as one of your many random acts of kindness so her parents don't have this burden when she dies.
10.  DO pretend you are not related to the District Supervisor of Schools.
11.  Don't forget what they say in The Secret--anything can be manifested, even learning.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trial and Error

Watched the sun disappear again!
Moonglow stays all day long.
Days continue with Dagger Time
Character Education Period
nothing goes according to schedule
in the archipelago shift
north and west.