Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mikol Melamdai Hiskalti

10:48 AM - I am at work. I walked in a few minutes ago along with one of the key administrators. It's a funny time, a school building empty of kids. Some like the concept, some don't much notice the kids anyway. I find it bittersweet. But then again I find air bittersweet. School without kids is a paradoxical cocktail. Here's another ironic mixture endemic to this time: pressure and boredom. The rumors of school being over are greatly exaggerated. I have about a hundred finals testifying as we speak that the semester has not ended. On the one hand there are deadlines and the work. The other hand has pulled the cloth out from under the set table. Maintaining structure in a free-falling environment is quite challenging. I will not write here again - beli neder - until I have entered one class' grades into the system.
11:34 AM - My public speaking class is accounted for in the system! Baruch Hashem big time. Beli ayin hara, I had a nice breakfast out with a dear friend (you may want to look at the color of the moon tonight), the air conditioner is on where I'm working, I have moved forward in my paperwork, and I am about to go to enter beautiful facilities, which meet the highest standard of indoor plumbing. The plan is to not write here again till another class is done. This could be a while as it's a full year course and there are quizzes and tests and finals. (Did you think, "Oh my?")
3:17 PM - I just finished putting in annual grades, final grade, fourth term grades and comments for the twenty six students in my 11W2 Gemorah shiur/class. Are there any teachers out there? You teachers may understand. Did you ever notice that most people aren't teachers? Did you ever notice that most people don't want their offspring to become teachers? Did you ever notice that progressing in life in most ways depends on teachers. In other words to societally surpass and then condescend to teachers you first need to get them to give you good grades.
Three more classes to go. Did you ever notice that most people have no idea what the work of a teacher entails? Did you ever notice that the one thing most people know about teachers is that schools seem to shut down over the summer? Did you ever try teaching for a day or two or even consider it? Can you name your kids' teachers? can you name who made the news for making an obscene gesture in Shea Stadium recently?
I've tried to gather a minyan for 3:30. Let's see...
3:46 PM - No minyan. One female staff member answered the call. The goal now is to get back to work. I'm meeting a friend for dinner at 6. I need to get some progress on one more class. Slowly, slowly says the sloth.
4:28 PM The fourth quarter grades are in for my 11T2 Chumash class. And I watched Lisa Kudrow's commencement address at this year's Vassar graduation. I was touched. She looked non glamorous, not fancy, and I mean that as high praise. She spoke in an unpolished straightforward way and I mean that as a big compliment. She accessed memories that were embedded in her heart twenty five years ago. To me, if you're really there, you remember. Lisa was obviously fully present twenty five years ago when Mario Cuomo spoke at her graduation.
Lisa Kudrow remembers that twenty five years ago Governor Cuomo asked all the students to look around and take in their classmates. During her own speech she asked everyone to do the same. They do. Then she tells them that when she did it she didn't feel much. From there she goes on to give a great and real speech. She speaks early on about one guy who she thought she might miss. She ends off saying that that fellow is now on the Vassar board with her. She does a great job, and speaking of jobs she addresses acting as a job more than a cultural status. Good for her. She had set out to work in the sciences but found herself correcting actors on TV, saying from her gut that she knew how to do the line or the walk better. It came as if from no place, she had no acting experience - until she did. She was fired from Frazier and when she got the part on Mad About You it was with an hour's notice and against the advisement of her agent. Long story short, things worked out well for her. She is proud of listening to her gut, and -I may be putting words ion her mouth, but I think - grateful to G-d.
8:55 PM - Finished getting my Gemorah grades for semester, final, year, and comments into the school computer. Now I'm in the Y.U. annex, between a Mincha and a Maariv. I had the amud for Mincha and we'll see about Maariv, set for twenty minutes from now.
I shmoozed a bit today with an administrator/teacher who is leaving. In her farewell speech last week she told teachers, "Be yourself; students will remember you for who you are more than for what you taught." She told me today that her favorite teacher from her childhood is the one she recalls crying over the pain that Avraham felt regarding the possible iniquity inherent in the destruction of Sdom and Amorah.
Soon, Maariv. I have work to do, will not write again - bli neder - till my 2 remaining classes are all reckoned, after this post I mean...

We can learn from snakes

The first lesson: to have skin

and next, to shed it


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