Archive for January 2008

Of Closed Doors and Open Windows.

January 24, 2008

Wow. I remember all that personal angst last summer. Hurriedly cleaning out my classroom so others could move their stuff in. Pitching teaching materials into the trash bin behind my school because I had NO place to store it. Trying to whittle 26 years of teaching Kindergarten and first grade into 6 plastic bins. Accepting $100 for ‘all the rest’ from the teacher taking my place. Crawling online and through book stores all summer long to ‘educate’ myself about Technology. Begging my oh so tech oriented sister (who lives about 8 states away) for tips. Shaking my 52 year old toes in tennis shoes on that very first day when faced with 28 fourth graders and 32 whirring machines in the school’s Computer Lab. Heh. Now I am a living breathing testament to the credo ‘When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.’

I thought I was going to literally die if they took me out of the classroom. It had been my career for way too long. I had a reputation. I had history in the community. I sincerely expected to flounder and sputter and eventually have enough muster to quit my career…..after 30 years. That first week of school I actually walked out…on time…with this eery feeling that I was supposed to be doing SOMEthing. There was something nagging about walking out without stacks of construction paper or books or laminating to work on at home. But what was I supposed to be doing? I no longer have to run off, copy, cut or count to prepare projects for little ones. I no longer have to search files or teacher magazines for ideas. I no longer have to worry about pencil grasps or CAP scores or which book to read to capture little interests. Now I spend a few hours planning ‘projects’, contemplating how to teach elementary kiddos to be responsible on the internet and creative with their computers. It’s a pretty heady job but not at all as time consuming as Kindergarten was. There is not a lot out there to work with either. I have my name on the list to work with home bound students. I work with a child for an hour on each of my off school days. It’s fun and very rewarding. Again, not so time consuming. So what does a part time teacher do with this sudden abundance of free time?

Well, I could clean house. Heh. Yeah right. However things ARE looking a bit neater around the edges. I could write more. I have the actual time now. Sooo, I have two rather lengthy things burbling on my lap top but still find it easier and a tad more rewarding to delve into fan fiction. But I have lost my muse there a bit. Dang writers’ strike. Still getting the internet hits on things I have posted though. Still getting messages that I have been added to yet another ‘favorite author’ or ‘favorite story’ collection. I could volunteer more at my kids’ school. I do that but they have a set routine and it’s not likely that I can upset the well oiled machinery of a middle school parent group. No. I have my own irons in the fire.

First there is the return to community theater. I have been itching to get involved in production again. I directed a tremendously sucessful run of ‘Annie’ twenty years ago and have dabbled in backstage here and there since then. Been itching to direct again. Got the chance a couple of weeks ago and now I am assistant directing ‘Tom Sawyer.’ Basically just a glorified go-for but it’s a start. I finally started creating an internet web site for handpainted sweatshirts. It’s something I have done for 16 years off and on. Found my focus there recently. Hoping for some sucess. And lastly, I am putting together a cable program for my school district. “Dipsy Doodle’s Flower Pot Shop’ is a preschool show geared to teach literacy concepts to little ones and model how to teach them to parents. it’s been an education. A HUGE education. We go in front of the studio cameras in late March. I am desperately trying to channel the spirits of Jim Henson….and Captain Kangaroo….and Fred Rogers. I am tracking down copyright permissions, developing a set, selecting someone to portray the clown character (a not as easy as it sounds as he/she has to be able to talk TO kiddos and not down to them), rounding up friends to read on camera to kids and model those literacy teaching skills, and on and on and on. Toss in my 8th grader’s social life, my 6th grader’s clarinet lessons, Girl Scouts, homework, soccer practices/games/tournaments and you will get a clear picture of my daily merry go round ride. Interestingly enough, I am not as overwhelmed or as stressed as I was teaching Kindergarten.

I guess God had this all planned after all. I have been forced to find new avenues for my time…and my creativity…and I am loving it. Go back to Kindergarten?? Heh. Not on your life.