Friday, January 16, 2009

Frozen pipes

January reminds me who's in charge.

I walked to school yesterday morning in indigo twilight, the dry snow sparkling in front of me like faeries. A big chunk of moon hung over the southwest. The snow creaks, a rare sound here. It's cold.

In June I'll live forever. In January I am mortal. How many Januaries left? Likely less than 30, and possibly none.

We need to enter mortality into equations involving us. We need a January education policy.

Intel will outlive me. Boeing will outlive me. Dow Chemical will outlive me. Corporations have become immortal. Children have not.

The faeries creaking at dawn, as real as my thoughts, fade as the sun rises. A calendar on the central office wall reminds teachers how many instructional days remain until the HSPA testing in March.

We don't get do-overs.


Kate Tabor said...

The snow squeaks under my feet this week as well. Cold, so cold.

I wish we had do-overs. I have a student who uses my room as his locker. He's a senior, has been essentially self-parenting since middle school, and is not doing so well in most of his classes. His science teacher (a class called Mind and Brain) is furious that he missed his research deadlines and his project wasn't in APA format and I think to myself, doesn't she understand that his mind and brain don't work like that? So where is the do-over? I teach in a small school where some of us really KNOW these children. Why couldn't we have seen this one coming? And why are we all so cold deep inside?

doyle said...

Ah, January must be seeping into the bones.

Deep inside I think we are (mostly) warm. I hope so, anyway.

We do live in a culture here that does not treat children well when the "nuclear" family falls apart. (For much of the States, the extended family fell apart a long time ago.)

He has a shelter (your room), with an adult minding him (you).

It just takes one caring adult, just one, to make a huge difference in a life.

Kate Tabor said...

You are right, it's just January, it's been too cold for too long (hey, I left South Dakota for the "milder climate" if Illinois), and we are right up on semester exams. It's tough to keep perspective when these kids are falling apart. One colleague refers to me as alternately Mother Theresa or the Lion on the Island of Misfit Toys.
I'll keep a good thought, put on the tea pot, and remember that we are all, mostly, warm deep inside. Thanks for your words; they help.

Tracy Rosen said...

I know how you feel. It's been a week of squeaky snow here as well, banked with end of term exams.

Supplemental exams for some, for those who failed their provincials in the past (for some, 4 times). My comeback student, who had been in grade 9 for THREE years before we said give him to us, was acing history. We spent hours after school talking history because he learns through conversation. He bombed the supplemental. This kid knows history, really knows history. But he also self-parents and works too hard at 2 jobs and is so used to failing exams that he slipped into panic mode. No do-overs. ugh.

doyle said...

@Tracy and Kate,

Well, my turn to lose it, and today I did--one moment things are rocky but manageable, and the next moment I've gone snake.

Not good.

The doubts crept in today, and it's a new feeling for me. Not one I like, but I'll pay attention to figure out what matters here.

Kate Tabor said...

@doyle - steady on. It's not a full moon, but the crazies are out and they can make us all nuts. I have an 8:30 meeting tomorrow with parents of a senior who might be getting a B+. She's never had a B before, and they think I don't like their child ('cause you know, that's rational). So this weirdness is in the air.