Posts tagged ‘environment’

True Colors (and “bad girls”, Asian beetles, and annoying station changes and repeating songs)

"Image courtesy of digitalart /".

“Image courtesy of digitalart /”.

My work is gray, gray, gray.  I’m surrounded by daunting, mountainous gray walls.  I understand why the bigwigs wouldn’t want to put drywall up the sides of the gargantuan warehouse and across that expansive bleak ceiling, but it’s depressing to look at.  The fluorescent lights don’t help.  Have you seen Joe vs. the Volcano? I’m living those opening scenes. If you haven’t seen it, watch it.  And not just because I want you to understand my reference — it’s a cute movie; Meg Ryan plays 3 different roles,  That was Meg Ryan when she was still America’s sweetheart, before she rebelled and ran off with an Aussie.  Another good girl gone bad.  I mean, look at, Brittany Spears, Lindsay Lohan,  Hugh Grant, Miley Cyrus . . .  I mean, you’ve gotta live your life and find your own way, but I think it could be done a little less painfully.  So, parents, remember, don’t make your daughter out to be your “little angel” unless you want your little hell’s angel flying careening into adulthood, if you know what I’m saying.    

ANYWAY, so there is a rainbow in the darkness of the massive gray walls.  Now that I think about it, maybe it’s good that the walls aren’t white: no Asian beetles.  Those things love white walls, something to do with the white mountains of their native land, or so I’ve heard.  And that warehouse is wide open when the UPS/FedEx trucks are docked.  Can you imagine those walls covered in those orangey, putrid-smelling little bug balls?  Yeck!

So, the color comes in the little things.  Like my coworker’s hats.  The guy who I’m now assisting  always wears a hat.  And the amazing part is that he’s always perfectly color-coordinated; for example, today he had on a purple Sox hat with a matching purple shirt.  I asked him how many hats he has, and he flashed a beautiful smile and said he didn’t know.   He said it’s his thing.  And it is.  And it’s wonderful — a little bit of color in a gray existence.

I have a little bit of my own color.  I get to play music at work, and I finally brought in my iPod and got my “shuffle”d on.  My music is as varied as my coworker’s hats, a little bit of everything: classical, country, musical theater, classic rock, hard rock, soft rock (Oxymoron?), New Age, angry girl, sobbing girl, R&B, jazz, soundtracks, even a smidge of rap and religious.  I don’t like to define myself in one way, and it shows in my listening choices.  You should experience riding in the car with me; I’m one of those people who changes the station every two minutes — not exaggerating — sometimes I change the station in the middle of the song I’m listening to.  Now that I think about it, you really shouldn’t ride in the car with me.

That is the best part of my day: getting to play my music.  Anyone listening can get to know me a little better without me even saying a word.  But you have to get close enough to me to actually hear the music above the huge, whirring overhead fans and the drumming of all of the conveyor belts.  I’m actually grateful for the noise because without it I hear the stereos of the book processors.  The one closest to me blasts her Spanish radio station, and don’t get me wrong, I love Spanish radio (I speak Spanish!), but if I hear the “la la la”s of  “Vivir Mi Vida” one more time, I may pick up one of the processor’s textbooks and start bashing my head with it.

So, I’m grateful for the bit of brightness amidst the gray, a little “la la la” for the blah, blah, blah.

Failing to Succeed

I think the problem I’m feeling in my current job is that I feel like I suck all of the time. When I was in school, I was getting the grades, I was getting the awards, I was getting the accolades. And now here, in this job, I always feel like I’m failing. The students are failing, so I am failing. I don’t have SIOP up-to-par, so I am failing. I’m not doing guided reading, writing workshop, Daily 4 – or whatever – perfectly. . . so I’m failing. I’m not contacting parents as much as I could and not grading papers and planning as much as I should, so I’m failing. And what do we hear from our society and legislators? Education is failing. Everywhere I look I am told that I’m a failure. That wears on a person.

And believe or not, I care about my students. So, when they don’t do well, I feel it. It hurts. I want them to succeed. I want to implement ideas and programs that work. Crazy, hmm? I don’t need someone to show me test scores. I don’t need to be told that there’s something wrong, that things need to change. Every day I wish things were better. And I actually used to believe things could change. . .

I know what we need. We need to overhaul the public education system. We need to create environments where students love learning and don’t lose their creativity and curiosity after kindergarten. Students should be involved in their own educational decisions and should be involved in their own inquiries and projects. And the government and corporations should stay OUT. I’m tired of people telling us what and how to think. We all need to think for ourselves.

Brian tells me that I really am a teacher, that I could really love my job in the right circumstances. Maybe. Maybe I’ll never know.

Image: digitalart /

Blind, But Now I See. . .

I’ve changed quite a bit from the girl I was in high school. Well, yes, I’m still a nerd. I still enjoy music , athletics, acting, learning. . .

But my innocence is gone. My faith is gone. Sometimes I miss it. Sometimes I miss the days when I believed every person can be good and that the world was overall . . . good. I remember when I’d believed: “The Earth must be fixed!” when my science classes stopped talking about Earth Day, and “Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle.” I remember I liked everyone and everyone liked me. I didn’t see the negative things in life – or I ignored them. I believed that everything would turn out all right. God would take care of it.

Now I know that people can be cruel, cruel to the point of psychotic behavior, and society will let them get away with it. I learned people are poor because others don’t share, and worse – others steal from them. I learned that I did not want to follow a religion and that I wasn’t sure what I thought about God. I learned that the environment is in trouble but that most people (including myself at times) don’t want to see it or are willing to believe the powerful people that tell them that everything is really fine. I learned not to trust. And I learned to question. . . everything. I learned that one person cannot make a difference when opposed by a very wealthy, powerful adversary, that there really is not liberty and justice for all.

I don’t go to church. I don’t say the pledge of allegiance. I’ve stopped giving to certain charities. I’ve stopped watching TV. I’ve filtered my news sources. I read books and watch documentaries that make me angry, and I’m disgusted, disgusted with the whole world.

My eyes are wide open, and I feel like I now really see . . . for the first time. And what I see is truly, achingly painful. So much that sometimes. . . I wish I were still blind.

Image: graur codrin /

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