At this stage in my life, I am viewing my retirement plan. Currently, I have 24 years into teaching. One more year, and I will make the big 25-year mark, which is quite an accomplishment since I am a late bloomer. I graduated from college the same year my daughter graduated from high school.
With all the changes in teaching, I don’t know how many more years I plan to teach. One goal was to have my house paid off before I left this profession, and I will have it paid off next year. Although I have had many changes, including three curriculum changes in three years, I still enjoy my career.
Next year, I will teach reading and writing again, and I am currently working on a unit plan for the introduction to speech. My lesson plans for this unit will be fun, and I hope to make this an easy task for my eighth graders. Unfortunately, public speaking in middle school can often traumatize some students.
I enjoy the planning stage and tweaking my lessons after instruction, especially after teaching something new and different. At times, I feel like a new teacher again since I thought I would finish my teaching career in humanities. Once I made that change, I gave away most of my writing, reading, and grammar books. However, with the teacher shortage and changes in the district building, I was told I had to go back to language arts. So in some ways, I am starting over again, but it’s okay; change is a good thing. And again, I really enjoy planning and designing my lessons.
The strange thing this year is that I am taking my last professional development class, except for those mandated through the district at the beginning of the year. I have hit the wall, and I have moved up as high as I can go. It’s somewhat bittersweet, for I enjoyed most of my classes. In the next few days, I will write my last paper for this course. The book for this class is called Because of a Teacher, and it tugged at the heartstrings. This was the perfect course for my last class.
So, will I retire in a year? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on how this gramma fares, and so far, I am still having fun working with my students. They keep me young and make me smile. Plus, I get paid to read and write! Two of my favorite things!
Camping has always been an important activity in my life. I love being outdoors and getting away from it all. And over the years, I always set time aside so that I can go to the mountains and enjoy some time among the pines.
I was in fifth grade when I went on my first camping trip. My mom had signed me up for Girl Scouts, and our leader was given some old army tents and supplies. Since our leader did not drive, families volunteered to drive us, and some volunteered to spend the night too. We camped at Big Basin, and I will never forget my first experience of sleeping in the woods. Waking up in the redwoods was so much fun.
Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash
I am a soon-to-be 62-year-old grandmother, mother, teacher, and friend. And I live in shocked confusion about a world I no longer recognize. Was it not that long ago when shootings prompted horror? Do we see them now through different eyes and with less depravity and torment? How can that even be possible?
In the last few days, the news has reported that young people found themselves in deadly situations for simply living their lives. One young woman died for innocently pulling into the wrong driveway. An angry, violent man shot at her vehicle as she tried to escape.
Two teenage cheerleaders in the dark of the night made the mistake of getting into the wrong car in a grocery store parking lot; ignored apologies did little to alleviate this misunderstanding. A man shot both girls and now one young teen struggles to recover and awaits more surgery in a Texas hospital.
And one young teen who just wanted to pick up his little brothers witnessed violence. The homeowner shot the teen twice for simply going to the wrong address. And that narrative becomes even more cryptic. When he tried to find help, people turned him away. So what have we become as a nation that turns children away when they need help?
These shootings have haunted me for some time, but I have stuffed the horror down as the violence grows across our country. I turn off the news and look the other way. But yesterday was the anniversary of the Columbine shooting. The shooting happened on April 20, 1999, at around 11:00 am, and I remember it as if it happened yesterday. I recall exactly where I was when it occurred. At that time, I was student teaching at a Colorado high school full of incredible teens that made this experience a gift of a lifetime. It was early in the afternoon when the staff learned that a mass shooting had occurred in a Denver high school. Yet, in shocked silence, we continued to do our job.
At one point, I had the school secretary come and tell me that I had a phone call in her office. Since one of her office doors opened into my classroom, she watched my students as I took the call. It was my worried mother still checking on her 37-year-old daughter.
“Have you heard the news?” My mother asked in a shaky voice.
I answered in a soft whisper, “Yes.”
“Do you still really want to be a teacher after all of this?”
“Yes, Mama,” I replied.
“Well, then, I am buying you a bulletproof vest for your birthday.”
That conversation took place twenty-four years ago. Since then, mass shootings have become common in our nation. We certainly do not outwardly view them with the same unimaginable horror as we once did. We have become numb to such inconceivable mayhem.
When the Columbine shooting occurred, it was the deadliest mass shooting in a high school and the deadliest mass shooting in the state of Colorado. Today, this state is no stranger to mass shootings; unfortunately, mass shootings across the nation have become inconceivable. According to the Washington Post, “More than 349,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.” Let that sink in!
So how do we stop this madness? More guns? Fewer guns? This is not about politics or gun rights. Our nation demands answers. This country longs for a homeland where our greatest assets, our children, can attend school without fear of becoming a victim of gun violence.
Six and a half years after Columbine, my mom left this world. Today, I look at this nation and wonder; if she could still call me, what would she say now?
- History.com Editors. “Columbine High School Shooting: Victims & Killers.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, https://www.history.com/topics/1990s/columbine-high-school-shootings.
- John Woodrow Cox, Steven Rich. “There Have Been 377 School Shootings since Columbine.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/interactive/school-shootings-database/.
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Oh, Happy Days!
In ten years, I will be retired and rocking great grandbabies in my rocking chair. And, of course, I will be writing more than ever since I will have more time on my hands!
Photo created by Bored Humans.com
Okay, this was a difficult one because I have two…dancing and water aerobics. I love turning on the tunes and dancing…either on land or in the water…and I love water aerobics too, just add music! I just turn the music on my phone and use my waterproof earphones and I am good to go!
James and the Giant Peach
When I was in sixth grade, I was introduced to Roald Dahl’s book, James and the Giant Peach. My sixth-grade teacher would read it to us on Fridays after lunch. There was only one problem; I could not wait until the following Friday to discover what happened next. I went to my local library and checked out the book. All was fine until one day, she caught me reading the book in class. I tried to hide it behind my textbook. In my defense, I had finished the language arts assignment and had free time, but she was not having it. She took me to the hallway and let me have it. She wasn’t angry that I tried hiding the book, but she was angry that I had checked out the book. My teacher did not want me to read the book since it was a part of our Friday afternoon activities. But she just did not understand. I loved reading! Although I finished my book before the class, I still looked forward to Fridays and hearing about James and his adventures all over again!
Later as a mom, I shared this book with my daughter, and just recently, I bought a copy for my 12-year-old grandson, Connor. Our family has loved this book. When I taught sixth-grade reading, I also shared it with my class. And no, I am not that teacher. When a student tells me they finished the book before the rest of class, I let them know that they make my heart happy!
All in a Day’s work
Well, I guess I am already doing it. I write for free. I started my blog many years ago to write about family stories and family history. Over the years, I added short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. And now, I am trying my hand at writing a novel, well two actually. I started one years ago and stopped since life became too busy. The next one came to me when I started a writing challenge this year to get back into creative writing. One of the prompts sparked an idea, and I am off and running.
I slowed down in March when I got COVID. Brain fog is real! Also, my second novel is going to be a little more complicated, so I picked up my first one and started writing. It has helped me to stand back and let my historical fiction simmer at times. I have set up a writing schedule and write two to three hours before I go to work during the week. On the weekends, I am able to devote more time to my writing. What a crazy, wonderful journey!
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A Cup of Joe and a Case of the Zoomies
During the week, I am up before the sun rises; usually, I am up by 4:00, or if I wait for my alarm clock, I jump out of bed by 4:30. I have to take thyroid meds an hour before I can have my coffee. At first, that was tough. But now, I take my meds, drink two glasses of water, and start writing. Once the time flies by, I make a healthy caramel macchiato, mocha latte, or some type of creamy concoction, depending on the season. Then it’s time to spar with my pooch, Mitzi. Once she knows I have my coffee, she likes to pretend that she wants to cuddle. In reality, the coy little bugger inches her way to my cup of Joe. One time, I made the mistake of setting my mug on the side table, and when I came back, she had lapped up most of it. I had to laugh, for she did have a major case of the zoomies. Since then, I have learned my lesson to keep my caffeine out of her reach. Having pups is kin to having toddlers in the home, but I love my pups. I enjoy my early morning ritual; it gives me time to do what I love and spend some “quality” time with my littles, Max and Mitzi.
Crime time woes
Never a smarty
Oh, would you not really agree?
One never knows when to actually flee!
For today’s prompt, write a B-movie poem.
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