Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Lammas came and went, with a brief little ceremony in my house, acknowledging the season, the harvest and a wish. The knight of disks tarot card (Crowley's Thoth deck) sits on my altar, these days, my constant companion; reminding me that whatever the labor, I am also given the strength to complete it. I was pleased to see this card has a nice harvest-y theme going on, visually, too. It is feeling like late summer around here. Sometimes in Hawaii, I don't get the seasonal feel, but in these days of intense heat and golden light, I can feel August's essential theme, the ripening of fruit, the dying of grasses and bamboo, the moving toward completion.

I was immensely cheered by my commentors last entry. You give me the heart to drag me out of my work-induced funk. I think I am so quick to become "heavy" about my job, when really, I am too new there to be getting this way. It is very easy to see patterns, though, and sense tensions in the workplace, when one is still an outsider. I was even told I "sounded like a mainlander" the other day, when I questioned why a certain rule was still in place if no one saw the need to follow it. When I protested, the teacher explained that she hadn't meant "mainlander" to be an insult; she was just observing that I wasn't taking things at face value. Hey, that's me, question authority, sometimes to my demise...meh.

Mostly, I am having fun in my job. I am getting good feedback from the teachers I'm working with, and even though I think they are waaay too basal textbook-bound, and I really question whether some of the activities they do in class are worthy of their students' time and attention, I'm acutely conscious of the school's point of pride; that they have high test scores. I have never taught in a school which held test performance in high regard. Not surprisingly, I've never taught in a school with very high scores. My schools have been filled with hungry, immigrant, working poor children; I felt acutely the pressure to teach more than phoneme segmentation and penmanship. I struggle, and grasp and try to find the common ground. In the words of my esteemed former professor, Kmt, I grapple with this new place, this role of being observer/participant. It is not a pleasant place to be, in spite of the surface pleasure of working with eager young students. I spend too much time at home, early in the mornings and late evenings, grinding my teeth and composing brilliant arguments that will sway them into teaching workshop-fashion, and giving the poor patient kindergarteners playdough and paints instead of bloody worksheets and homework. Arrrrgh.

This work drama is all mixed up with mourning the loss of all my free time, to sew, to contemplate the 4 walls, to daydream, to piddle around the house in a relaxed fashion.

This afternoon, I went to get my haircut. I love the new stylist, Monique. I used to go to the beauty school, but when I started working this winter, I decided to see a real stylist again. Anyway, this one is as quirky as Lulu the globetrotter, and my sister the renaissance woman. Monique breeds Persian cats, and always asks about my dogs. I took Ella in to see her the other day when I stopped by to make the appointment. It turns out, she knows about half the people who go to my dog park here. She has framed pix of her cats at her station, enormous silvery grey cats with deep blue eyes. Just contemplating the hair makes me sneeze, but clearly, Monique isn't put off by hair...

I leave you with a picture of the ever-present Pali, looking up the hill from the deck.


Acornbud said...

I hope you feel more confortable in your job as the year goes on as it sounds like the work is pleasurable. From what you say, that place can use a little gentle shake;) In the end if you find it's not the right fit you can say did your best and stayed true to yourself.

Please bring your Klaralund again on Thursday, Chris and I are bringing ours!

Rebecca Clayton said...

Wow! What a view from your deck! As a tallgrass prairie native, I am always astounded by mountains (including the one I live on now).

I too have a hard time with the transition between structuring my own time and having a structured job. And with a sky like that, how could you not look at it? I'm sure you'll hit your stride at the new school. To me, pride in test scores sounds like good morale, something lacking in a lot of work places. Good luck with it.