Current State of Things

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Come in, come in, don’t mind the dust, nobody’s been here to clean this place up in many months. Here, let me move those old blog posts off the couch so you can take a seat. There, that’s better, isn’t it? Now, you’re probably wondering a few things. Where did I go? What have I been up to? Why am I back now? Well, here’s the Current State of Things:

 

The Current State of Me:

I’m getting used to the amount of work and stress being a special education teacher provides. Things are getting better, the workload slightly easier to manage as I become more efficient and effective with my use of time. It’s still difficult and stressful, but feels manageable. I’m finding the balance between work and play, though I may never find a perfect line to walk, things are going fairly well. Tasks don’t feel so insurmountable anymore.

We are going to Dublin, Ireland! My wife and I decided to go to Ireland over February break. We really wanted to leave the country and go somewhere, finally deciding on Ireland somewhat randomly. We are excited to see the sights of Dublin as well as the beautiful land around the city, including some old castles.

My creative writing endeavors have lagged, grown dormant and perhaps lie dead at this point. I continue to generate ideas that I would love to put pen to paper but lack the time and motivation. We will see if returning to blogging will help in that area. I plan to write a post a week, the topic of which will depend on my mood and current motivation at the time of writing. It could be a story, or a post on writing or teaching or home-brewing. We’ll see.

 

The Current State of our Dog, Habenero:

We have a dog! Having a dog is wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone who has the time and love to put into having a pet. It is indescribable, having another living thing depend on you, that provides you with love and affection unconditionally. Whenever I’m having a rough day, the thought of going home to a wiggly butt and sloppy dog kisses cheers me up. It’s impossible to be angry and upset when a creature is insanely happy to see you after a long day. It’s especially welcoming with the insanity that is happening in our country right now.

To be honest, she has had a rough time lately, getting a dog bite on her face and having to go to the Vet for stitches. She currently has to wear a cone and understandably does not enjoy it. She’s getting used to it though and we are thinking about getting pet insurance because we have had to go to the vet every month or so for a variety of reasons and it gets expensive. Something to think about, for sure.

 

The Current State of My Home-brewing Adventures:

Good news here! Though I had fallen out of the habit of homebrewing what with wedding planning, the wedding and then my new job, I have jumped back into it. I have even started Year of the Brew 2: Brew Harder with my friend and fellow homebrewer, Eric. Our first Year of the Brew was in…2015 I believe, and we brewed 12 times in 12 months. To get myself back into it, we’ve rededicated ourselves to do so once again. I have begun All-Grain Brewing as well, which has reinvigorated the hobby for me. It feels good to go All-Grain, even though it is a longer and more involved process. More homebrewing posts should be incoming, should I feel up to it. This month, I brewed an an Amber ale from the “Brew Better Beer” book by Emma Christensen. Though it hasn’t gone perfectly, I feel excited about getting back into the hobby.

 

The Current State of My Ventures in Video Games:

Not sure many care about this but oh well, feel free to skip this section! I’ve gotten back into No Man’s Sky since the new update and it feels good to explore the universe while also building a floating base on a home planet. Recently, though, it’s been crashing for seemingly no reason, hindering my progress and reducing my motivation to play. Thus, I’ve returned to Eurotruck Simulator 2, taking jobs in the UK so that I can practice driving on the wrong side of the road before we head off to Ireland. It’s actually a pretty useful way to practice, albeit on simplified roads. I’ve also begun playing Hitman: Blood Money which many people say is one of the best Hitman games out there. It is highly enjoyable, despite dated graphics, the game is incredibly fun to explore and plan out assassinations in. I may post about my exploits if they seem entertaining enough.

 

The Current State of…everything else:

It looks bad, doesn’t it? It’s the worst we feared and there seems to be little reason to see things changing for the better anytime soon. The environment is going to suffer, as will millions of Americans and others of the world. These are dark times. I’m not going to get into it in-depth at the moment, you know what’s going on. A war against facts, a war against certain people, be they women, have disabilities or a certain skin color, a war against what it means to be American..The list goes on. I feel like Frodo, telling Gandalf “I wish Trump had never become president. I wish none of this had happened.” Of course, Gandalf would say “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world besides the will of evil.” And it’s true. Just look at the amount of people in the streets, standing up for each other, coming together. Look at the lawyers helping for free at the airports, look at Airbnb, putting up people for free. We must continue to be kind, to be welcoming, and to be resistant to injustice. Many Trumpeters say we should “just accept it”, which is ridiculous. Trump is the president but that doesn’t mean we simply give up and let him do whatever he wants, not when he’s stomping on the constitution, taking away rights and acting like a tyrant. The history of America is about people resisting tyranny and injustice, over and over and over again. I don’t know the answer, but I do know what every single person can do, even if they don’t want to protest, or donate or whatever. You can be kind to others. It’s as simple as that. Be kind. I don’t know what else to say or do, but don’t feel helpless. Show kindness, help others. Unless they’re Nazis, then feel free to punch them in the face.

 

 

Teaching is Hard

Teaching is an incredibly difficult profession. You make hundreds of judgement calls and snap decisions each day. You manage the behavior of 20-30 students who are each an individual who requires attention, reinforcement, rewards, encouragement, motivation and of course, the actual content knowledge you are trying to teach them. You have to teach the content in a variety of ways, have them repeat the skills and provide accommodations and differentiation so each student learns the skills and content fully. You have to grade the student’s work and give it back with feedback that informs them how to improve without making them feel poorly about their work. You have to manage petty conflicts between students, ensuring each feels they were supported, that they learned from the encounter and can move on. You have to manage an entire community of learners, support positivity and encourage compassion for each other. You have to communicate with parents constantly, coming up with positive things to say so that when the not-so-positive things come, they will actually listen. You have to gain parent’s trust, show competency so they feel their kids are spending time with a trusted, knowledgeable adult 6-7 hours a day. You have to teach Content, Standards, Skills and Test-Taking. You also have to teach Social and Emotional Strategies, how to interact with others, how to have a conversation, how to give and take feedback and criticism, how to make friends, how to deal with those you don’t get along with, the list goes on.

All of this can feel impossible or at the least, overwhelming. How is one or two or even three adults supposed to not only teach students Math, Social Studies, English, and Science but also How To Be A Fucking Person?? How to not be an asshole? How to Function In Society? How to Care About Others Instead of just Yourself? Things even many adults struggle with?

But this is all expected of you, if not by others, it is definitely expected by you of yourself. You spend so much time with these kids, how can you do any less than try to prepare them for the rest of their lives?  And this is my job. And I think I enjoy it. Some days more than others.

This post doesn’t really have any point to make. It is simply a rant, a venting of pent-up frustration at times as well as an acceptance of the path I’ve taken. Take it for what it’s worth.