Showing posts from October, 2015

My Best Year of Teaching

You may be tired of my complaints. This week, we will be two months into the school year at Margaret Scott. For me, that's two months without a classroom, carrying what I can from building to building in the morning, struggling to hold children's attention in a huge echoing gym in the afternoon; two months of having just one (hopefully uninterrupted) half hour session for each class (though some occasionally get two, depending on the "tech rotation" nobody's been able to figure out), instead of the two that's minimal; two months of leading "Rhythms" and pretending it's a musical experience for the ninety rowdy children simultaneously occupying the gym; two months of having one mitigating idea after another shot down because, realistically, my curriculum takes a distant second to me keeping an eye on kids somewhere that what I'm doing doesn't disturb any other classes; two months of district administrators reminding me in their own

Legally Wed

It's just a piece of paper. That's what we've been telling ourselves for over a year--and really, what I've been telling myself for far longer than that. A marriage license is a document that only has meaning because human beings assign it that meaning. It's the same conceit that causes a more durable slip of paper to be worth whatever dollar amount we assign to it: without the tacit agreement of all the humans who are affected by the existence of this document, it would be nothing more than tinder for a campfire, recyclable material for a pulp mill, lining for a bird cage. I went for fifteen years without having my name on a marriage license, telling myself it was just a piece of paper. Oh, there were times I longed to be part of the legally wed club, especially as I felt my parenting years slipping away from me; but mostly, I comforted myself with the knowledge that the meaning of a marriage license is an arbitrary thing, assigned to it by a culture that fr

Mad About Guns

I was scrolling through Slate  headlines on my phone last Thursday, as I often do while eating lunch in the staff room. I typically start at the bottom, and work my way up the menu to the most recent story, clicking on those that catch my attention. The last thing I saw, at the very top, was this: " Oregon College Massacre."  I clicked on it, scanned the story, saw that a lone gunman had opened fire on a classroom at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, killing nine, then taken his own life after a standoff with local police. I did not visibly react: the staff room was full of teachers and EAs, cheerfully talking about the silly things their students were doing, what their weekend plans were, what they'd be having for dinner that night--standard stuff. I didn't want to rain on that lunchtime parade, didn't want to cast a pall over the rest of the school day. I knew this would hit uncomfortably close to home, and not just because of the Oregon dateline: our d