Sunday, June 2, 2013

Two days into the blogathon, my senior office staff have gathered with the token cat. Each member of the staff settles into their beds, licks one paw and cleans around the pad. The old man of the crew does  plenty of gratuitous scratching. Sort of like post planning at the end of the school year. It's work as usual but so much easier without the junior staff. The junior staff are in the backyard digging holes.

I've decided to try a TedX talk. Petrified is how I feel. Why I would want to step out of my comfort zone baffles me. My topic will be "The Story in Us All". I began the spiel last night. Jotting down my thoughts. I will add to it until I can truly create a big funny monologue with a point.

I was a funny teacher. We all have our tactics. When things were bad as a child, my dad would inject humor. My dad used humor for its God given purpose which was pleasure. He also used it to defuse a situation.  I learned from him or it could be my Irish roots showing.

Students do not take autocratic control well. The only teachers I knew who were able to use it had a spouse on the school board or some other similar tactic. The rest of us had to project authority and respect. Having felt on the outside looking in most of my life, my tactic was humor.

By the end of my career, my favorite student was the male summer school student and some of the girls. They failed not from lack of ability. They failed because they did not turn in a critical report. It was not unusual for them to be smarter than average. They were born with a cynical gene.

I got along with the girls but since the guys liked me, the girls had to like me too.

Summer school lasted about six weeks. The worst class was like holding back the sea for about two weeks. It was miserable. Then it always happened. It was the easier class. The guys came in happy. Not too fond of the coursework but they did it without complaint. That's when the jokes began. I would have one of them prod me until the zinger came. Satisfied, they did their work.

Now, I am not a particularly chatty or lively person. That alterego just came out in the classroom. I've been trying to get her to show up in my writing. She is there. It is just slow. subtle, unbidden and cannot be forced. 

Hindsight is twenty twenty. I think my greatest power as a teacher was I cared for my students. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I never realized I had the power to return home. 

Maybe I'll get picked for the TedX. I can feel the punchlines coming.

Junior staff member taking a well deserved rest. The bed is so much more comfortable without that pesky stuffing.

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