The following post is a contribution to the Day in the Life Book Project initiated by Tina Cardone:
Today my school closed for ice. I woke up at 5 am and waited for the call I was expecting. About 5 minutes later it was announced that my school was running on a 3 hour delay. I reset my alarm for 7 am, and tried to fall back asleep. I was able to sleep again once my cat stopped her relentless pawing at me. She's on my schedule, and loves when I get up in the morning (and conversely hates when I don't get up).
I awoke again at 7 am, and was able to take my time waking up. I checked my weather app and noticed that the mixed precipitation was supposed to continue until about 11 am, which would most likely mean that my district would have to close for the day. Sure enough, I received a call at 7:45 that school was closed for today. I had breakfast with my husband before he had to report school since his district didn't close.
Today, I was grateful for the day off. This past weekend a family member passed away, which meant that I spent more time with my family, and completed less work for school. Add to that staying up later than normal to watch the Super Bowl at my parents' house Sunday night, and this week got off to a sad, stressful, and exhausting start.
The day off gave me the opportunity to clean some things around the house that were neglected this weekend. I built a cube organizer and re-arranged my front hall closet. I had the chance to make phone calls without students that are visiting during my off periods in the background. I re-wrote my plans for the week to accommodate the day off, and wrote a test and review sheet for my Geometry class.
Unfortunately, today was not a stress-free day at home. I was nervously checking how the vote for Secretary of Education was going. As I'm sure you all know by now, Betsy DeVos was confirmed. I'm shocked she was actually confirmed, but at the same time I'm not surprised. I've never been one to speak about politics publicly, but this past election and everything that has followed was atypical. I remember well when I was a junior in 2004, and my history teacher shared with us how he was not allowed to wear a John Kerry button without also wearing a George W. Bush button. He explained that teachers were not allowed to share their political views with students because the district believed that students were too impressionable. I've always followed suit, telling my students that "I voted for the president" whenever they asked. However, this past election was so disturbing, that when students asked who I was voting for, I felt it was important to inform my students that I voted for them. I openly voted against the candidate whose endorsement carried an endorsement for racism, sexism, misinformation, and hate. My high school students were very knowledgeable about the issues, and were very worried about the implications of one candidate winning the election. I felt that I had to let my students know that I was on their side, and that I cared about the issues that were troubling them. (The district where I work has never said anything about teachers discussing their political views with students.) After the election I put my focus on cultivating the best of America in my classroom. I've emphasized acceptance for other peoples' viewpoints, celebration of other peoples' differences, how effort pays off instead of advantages someone inherently has, and showing kindness.
After learning of the decision made today, I had a difficult time focusing on anything else. I feel so disheartened, frustrated, and fearful of how we will all be effected. We've been given the demand to perform miracles with waning support for so long, and now it seems we can only expect more of the same. I am feeling totally defeated. Teachers already give up so much to perform their jobs, and it is so hard to hear our society relentlessly put us down and blame us for what's going wrong in public education. I am also tired of people trying to discredit our unions. Teachers need protection more than most (if not all) other professions. We simply cannot take care of our students if no one is taking care of us. I've spent more of my day than I would have liked reading about the implications of the decision, actions that teachers can take, and the reactions that other people are having to the decision. However, I think I needed this time to meditate and get my clear my mind so I can put my focus back on my students tomorrow.
This is not my usual post at all, but it was my day in my life.
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