It has been almost a year since I learned that my former boss at Casa, Stephanie Orr, passed away. I think of her often and miss her quite a bit. There have been several times this year, as there were almost every year I knew her, that I would have liked to call her and get her thoughts on things that were happening in my life. It's good to have those kinds of people in your life.
I specifically miss the way she could look a situation and figure out a way for people to benefit from it in some way. Not in the "line my own pockets" kind of way, either. She was always figuring out a way to make the world a better, safer place for children. Stephanie also had a way of just putting things in the right perspective for me. I liked getting to view my world through her eyes.
In a discussion with friends the other day, someone mentioned that we have reached the age where the people we looked up to as kids and young adults are starting to die off. It's a tough but wonderful pill to swallow, really. I certainly don't want to live forever. I look forward to my energy, life force, whatever you want to call it transitioning into whatever comes next. If it happens tomorrow or in forty or fifty years, I'm happy and satisfied. There can always be more, of course, and there will be more that happens, but this has been a pretty darn good ride.
I bet Stephanie would say the same. At very least, I hope she would. I know that her first grandchild is probably going to be here soon if not already. I am sad that I won't be hearing about this wonderful event from her. She would be so proud and would have made a wonderful grandmother. That poor kid would have been spoiled, for sure.
If you have someone in your life that you haven't talked to for a while that might not be around much longer, give them a call. You never know.
I was thinking of Stephanie a lot yesterday after I saw a stupid tweet from the Arizona Department of Education. Basically is denounced social and emotional learning and said we need to concentrate on academics, not feelings.
What a bunch of stupid shit.
I agree, on one hand, that we need to concentrate more on academics, but cutting out SEL is not the way to do it. We need for teachers to understand how to implement SEL into their daily lessons. I see frustration and confusion and, yes, boredom on my students faces every day. These are feelings that are much easier to deal with if you understand what they are and how they impact you.
Self-control is a big one, too. As teachers, we need to help our students understand how to govern themselves. If they don't learn as children, they will struggle as adults to accomplish even the most basic goals. SEL helps with this, too. Our new schools dictator, Tom Horne, has a tough row to hoe.
One of the things they could do, academically, is grow some balls and figure out a way to deal with the fact that we have a nation full of children who are not working at grade level. We can't "fail" anyone anymore and that's a double, triple, quadruple-edged sword, but I have students right now who are not going to be truly ready for fifth grade, even under the best circumstances. I could move a damn mountain and it wouldn't be good enough to get some of these kids over the hump.
Our hands are tied, as teachers, when it comes to dealing with the kids who just don't want to work. Homework, for example, is something only a small percentage of my kids would take seriously. The ones who could really benefit from the extra practice won't do it and their parents won't hold them accountable. Probably because their parents don't have the luxury of doing so because they are working two jobs just to pay the rent.
I'm whining, I know. I'll stop.
Damn it. Stephanie would know what to do.
Last night I couldn't stay up to watch the Suns. I just don't care. Sleep is better.
I did watch the third episode of The Last of Us. Wow. What an amazing look at love and relationships and how to deal with stress. It's sad that people get so hung up on the relationship being between two men. They should be so lucky to be so loved.
We all should.
See you tomorrow.
First flyer I have made in a long time.