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The Death of Summer

So… it’s that time [the final days are upon us – actually, they are upon me]. This weekend ends another summer and begins the new school year. Saturday…Sunday…and then, I am expected to return to the place that I have been dreading: school, work, hell on earth, teenager-adult purgatory, or whatever you’d like to call it. I want to bolt, fly, run away. How can it be that these weeks have fallen to the wayside? If only I had no financial responsibilities! I would leave and refuse to look back. Escaping is a daydream. The reality: my schedule is fixed, students have been assigned to my rosters, and I am expected to be a teacher.

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Me thinking about summer…
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When I realize that my summer is over and freedom is but a daydream.

The last two years, I have been a traveling teacher (I had no classroom – just a meager cart to push through the halls from one space to another). But this year, I have the extra added burden of claiming one room the entire year: my own classroom. It’s another thing I have to be think about; figuring out what to do with this “space” – how to make it bearable, perhaps pleasant.

I have forgone the usual teacher-poster-ugliness that spans the walls (and ceilings) in most classrooms, and have given this space a calming vibe – just for me. The way I see it, if the kids enjoy it, it’s an added perk [for them]. I’ve gone in and put up art work and signs…littered the space with flowers and lamps. I just left the room, and before I turned out the lights I felt the claustrophobia creeping in. Even the pretty things look ugly in that space. I have to change my mindset [mission impossible…for real].

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This was the best image of classroom Pixel could crank out. Deal with it.

I have hatched a plan that is supposed to help the year move smoother and faster: get in, do my job (nothing more, nothing less), and get the hell out. Don’t get worked up over the stuff that is supposed to be important [you know, the usual – kids learning, me teaching effectively, blah, blah, blah…]. In all honesty, this is easier said than done. But I am going to try my damnedest.

I have looked in the mirror and talked to the face that appears when my body is facing the reflective glass. I have told the face (and the brain) not to get wrapped up in the bullshit. I just have to hang in there. This job can’t kill me physically [at least that’s what I tell myself], but emotionally and psychologically, it leaves scars.

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This is my artistic representation of me looking at myself in the mirror during a pep talk. It’s okay to laugh, cause I sure as hell did! Yes, I really leaned in that close and fogged up the glass as I told myslef, “You will survive this thing!”

I’m picking up the metaphorical bike, strapping on my helmet, and getting back on for one more journey. The initial pedaling will result in a ride that’s a bit wobbly – that’s expected. At the very least, I should be able to enjoy the scenery after I stabilize. Then, I’ll find the groove and coast. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to close my eyes and enjoy the forward motion. At the end of this ride there is the arrival of another summer. I promise to cherish it just as much as I have cherished the one that has passed by.

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She looks how I feel about getting back on this thing.

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But, I gotta do it like this little guy.

Here’s to another summer gone – don’t hold your glass up in a toast. Instead, pour out a little liquor for the death of another seasonal release laid to rest. RIP summer of 2018. Gone but not forgotten, and forever in my heart.

 

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Interactions with Narcissists: An Observation of Educators at _______ High School

Lately, I have been a quiet observer at work. I have stopped talking and started paying attention. Listening intently, taking it all in, and not judging. Just marinating in the interactions of others, for I myself have refused to talk for the sake of talking. If I could pull off the whole Maya Angelou silent for years after a life altering experience thing (by no means am I making lite of her plight), I totally would; I would not allow a word to come from my mouth. And like Maya had Bailey, I would make just a single confidant privy to my thoughts via minimal verbiage.

So, you may be thinking, why go silent? Why not be cordial and speak when spoken to? The answer is simple my friends – because I am surrounded by an archetype of characters that I label as “crazies”. The crazies don’t listen, they hear only what they say or think, and ignore you. Completely self-absorbed, utterly uncaring, and fixated on their own problems, they ask “how are you!?”, with the intention of receiving little more than surface level answers.

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This is a person on the verge of a mental breakdown. Notice the hands on the temples, which indicate the brain will shortly self-destruct.

They lack empathy, and this contributes to theirdistorted world view and closed minded perspective. I have been honest, at times, to a fault. Being careful not to divulge too much for fear of judgement. Any answer other than “I’m fine” is too much for their brains to compute.

I understand formalities and propriety; they are the crux of the American brief encounter exchange. I just don’t see the point in asking a person “how are you doing today?”, only to get an answer that is not superficial and shallow. Talking for the sake of talking is filling a space that needs to be left unbothered by that frequency of soundwave. Nobody is okay all the time. There have to be uncomfortable moments; those times are the impetus for change and growth. I am not done growing, and I think we all need to change a little from time to time, so why in the hell would I always respond with the dry and completely false answer “I am fine. How bout you?”

Have you ever asked Siri something and she doesn’t really get what you mean? She goes to the web for an answer that has nothing to do with what you asked, or she says “I’m sorry. I didn’t get that”. All the while her voice is pleasant, there are minimal inflections and her cadence is robotic. I am not shaming Apple, I am just saying she is a robot, and she can give robotic responses. The algorithms and programing that went into her existence undoubtedly took time. She was made to fill a void in the lives of people that need some assistance. She can even carry on a conversation and give you responses that have connotations of sarcasm. The people I spend a minimum of 40 hours a week with are a little like her, they are not hearing what another is really saying, so they give an answer that has no meaning. The repetition of exchanging words is done thoughtlessly, and often, the exchange may be better off not existing at all.

My favorite sort of interactions are the ones in which I talk and get a nonsensical response. Sometimes that response comes in the form of unrequited advice, the likes of which prove to me that they do not really know who I am. I would love an “I’m sorry. I didn’t get that” answer from them when they are unsure of what to say. Instead, they come off as phonies that have no intention of really developing anything beyond a weird encounter that we both have to live with – or at least that I have to live with because of how deeply unaffected they are by anything I have to say.

Here’s a secret, if you are in a conversation and you find you have nothing to say because you weren’t listening, or you cannot relate, then express that. What is the harm in saying, “I can’t identify”. Drop the façade and be who you are. If people don’t like it, then they don’t have to talk to you. Stop forcing these strange and strained conversations. Stop giving advice if you were not asked for it. Trust me, you will not implode. In fact, it may make life a little easier. Imagine talking to someone and learning something! Imagine talking to someone and not trying to compete! Imagine talking to someone and them listening! What a wonderful world.

My earnest attempt at really seeing the people I interact with for who they are has led me to this conclusion: my fellow educators (meaning the ones in my building with whom I work) tend to be narcissist.

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Did she just make static? 

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Oh, no she didn’t! (Finger waving and neck rolling in progress – please hold)

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Gasp!

 

 

 

 

 

No shots have been fired teachers, calm down. If this is not you, then it’s not. But to the ones who are in the school in which I am gainfully employed at the present moment, you know who you are – actually, you shouldn’t because the internet is a big place and I’m keeping this all as low key as possible.

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