IMO: Life Cycles

I was surrounded. It was creepy.
Graduating students “bombed” my room.

Very few jobs offer a conclusive beginning, middle, and end to the year. The rhythm of the academic calendar is psychologically beneficial, and if I hadn’t made a career within it, I would have jumped off the plank a long time ago. Let me explain by showing you an excerpt by me right before a holiday break (Here’s the whole post if you missed it) :

“. . . I never wanted to be a high school teacher. I wanted to be a college teacher. I’m tired that I have to work in the trenches, dealing with obnoxious teenagers, to be politically correct, inspirational, and compassionate to all students every day no matter what inappropriate thing they say or do. I am that sergeant in war movies who answers to officers, some idiotic, some great, always a revolving door, the principals, and superintendents who come and go and meanwhile, my responsibilities compound, the acronyms multiply like rabbits. I can’t believe after 19 years, I have to do this for eight more years before I retire. What’s worse, the classes I created, devoted my heart and soul to were taken away and given to younger teachers. I’m supposed to be a good sport, but I am resentful. I already paid my dues. I feel unappreciated. I am steaming, and the bitterness takes root. Why didn’t my dream come true? My trajectory was the moon. What strange star is this?  And the dark irony in it all? I’m really good at what I do.” 

Today, I reread the words revealing my dour attitude and I’m embarrassed. When you are a teacher, it is like jumping off a high cliff into the riptide. To endure, the veteran teacher learns how to breathe underwater and ride the current. Obviously, in the quote above, the stress was getting to me. Just in the nick of time, a holiday break occurred. Whew!  I could regroup and adjust my attitude.

Most schools in America, especially on the East coast, resume in September after a healthy summer break. Out here in Arizona, we just went back to school. This past week was full of professional meetings, inspirational pre-service gatherings, getting organized, meeting the students, and beginning instruction. For me, a new year has begun. I’m happy to report I’m very excited to begin again. I have hope and ready to inspire and rock and roll. By winter, I’ll start to drag. After the winter break, I’m recharged. Pretty soon it’s spring break, and then after a month, I’m looking ahead at the calendar wishing for summer break at the end of May. In this profession, the pendulum swings back and forth and the force conditions my mood and my worth ethic. Students and teachers wonder if they can make it to the end of the school year. Of course, we can. Faster than we thought. Now the best part comes. Time. To reflect and consider and indulge in the hobbies of my life. The year is over. What’s done is done. Students graduate and move on. When the new year begins, you start with a clean slate. This is the cycle that runs my life.

One of the complaints I had last year was the indignancy I felt for key classes I had worked so hard creating the curriculum and then they were “taken away” and given to others to teach. That’s a problem when you give a lot of emotional sweat and brain cells to a project; you feel a sense of ownership. During times of reflection, I’ve learned I had to get over myself, let go of the ego, or the roots of resentment grow and I risk becoming a bitchy co-worker. My patience and tolerance falter.


Wir werden backen.

Anyway, I changed my situation and it changed my attitude. After securing my endorsement, I’m now the new German teacher. I’m having the best time setting up the best class ever. We have started to speak it and see it and say it and write it. We’re going to make homemade pretzels and have a proper Oktoberfest with kraut and wurst and (root)beer. We’re going to Bavaria in 2020. It’s going to be the best class my students ever had.  Ha!

The cycles of a year. Is yours measured by the seasons? By your job? By your family? By imposing your own cycle?

I opened my classroom and found this note. Lucky, aren’t I?

Five Shots: The Colors of Southern Italy

Here is the final post of miscellaneous shots when our traveling group visited Southern Italy a few weeks ago. I loved the colors of Italy most of all. Did you miss the trip? Here are the other posts:  SORRENTO, CAPRI,  and ROME.

Pompeii
The Streets of Pompeii
Eruption Mt. Vesuvius, Aug, 79
When it blew, 20 feet of ash suffocated the residents.
Lemons and Oranges
Hydrangeas–my favorites.
pomegranate in the making
Candy
Tyrrhenian Sea
The Green Door
spaghetti-e1531236141890.jpg
Spaghetti
Bougainvillea and Spears
Emerald Grotto, Capri
Capri Blue
Punta Carena Lighthouse, Capri

Which one do you like best?

 

 

Five Shots: Rome

Colosseum at Night

The first time I went to Rome was a decade ago and it was 105 (40c) degrees Fahrenheit. It was hard to appreciate much of anything while squinting through the haze and rubbing shoulders with a thousand tourists. Still, the Sistine Chapel made me cry, and the Colleseum lived up to the hype. It’s a beautiful structure and worth any aggravation to see it. Why? It’s one of those rare antiquities where you can actually touch it, wrap your arms around it, feel the history seep in, and no one will shoot you for doing so.

view of rome
On one of the seven hills surrounding Rome.

This time, I was shocked with pleasure at how cool was Rome. There were a couple afternoon drizzles (very unique for we Arizonians) and a breeze followed us around in 67 – 75-degree temperatures. Our group split up and we walked at our leisure from one side of Rome to the other, rambling through side streets and neighborhoods with energy and fascination. We frequently stopped to have a drink and people watch. We consumed pizza and pasta, and for the fashion conscious pair in my life, I bought Italian shoes for my son and designer sunglasses for my daughter-in-law. I was surprised how much fun I had in Rome.

Here are a few shots of our four days there. Which one do you like best?

Experiencing the quiet at the Roman Botanical Gardens
Ponte Garibaldi view of the Tiber River
bridges
Ponte Sisto super Fiume Tevere

Looking Up
Inside the Colleseum
Halls in the Vatican to the Sistine Chapel
School of Athens fresco (A dream come true!)
A maiden in the School of Athens
Raphael wearing the black hat
Roman Fountain
Jim and Cindy
pizza
Pizza (again) for Lunch
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
At the Forum–that’s what I call a door.

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