Fandango’s Dog Days of August

Today’s theme is “a lesson you learned.” What is a lesson that you learned along the way? How did you learn the lesson? Who did you learn it from? How did that lesson change your life, it at all? https://fivedotoh.com/2020/08/21/fandangos-dog-days-of-august-21/

My lesson

When I got my first teaching job I had no idea what kind of school I was asking to work in. All I knew then was that I wanted a teaching job so badly and I had applied to every town within commuting distance. When I showed up for my interview I met the principal in her office which was also the tiny kitchenette. The school was in an old Victorian house in a very poor end of the city, very economically disadvantaged. The place was fairly quiet. She interviewed me and practically hired me on the spot. I had all the credentials and the demeanor to fit the job.

Jump ahead to my first day: I walk into my classroom which is a tiny room about 12′ X 8′. There were three kids sitting around a table and someone watching the kids while I got situated. “Where are the teaching materials?” no response. “What am I supposed to teach them?” no response.

Cutting the story short here, because I could write and write, it was a Clinical Day Program for emotionally disturbed children who were socially and behaviorally inappropriate for public schooling, as they had worn out all other interventions. Wow, I didn’t know that even existed!

So, I “love” my new job. I really did and I was getting in shape both restraining children who were physically aggressive or chasing “runners” down the street. There was this one boy, we will call him Charlie. He was a spoiled boy, his mother coddled him every minute of every day. His behavior was horrendous, physical, verbal, you name it. The mother “yes’ed” us to death and nothing improved. We had a staff meeting one day to discuss what to do next as he was getting bigger (in 4th grade almost my height, 5’3″). We were talking, thinking, brainstorming.

Being a new teacher, especially with this population, I made a comment like this: “If only his mother did something. She is half of the problem if not all of it. Does she even discipline him at home?”

Silence.

My principal looked at me and said, “You cannot judge the parents. You have no idea what they are going through and although we have their kids for 6.5 hours a day, they had them the rest of the 24 hours. They are challenged economically and some have their own psychiatric issues. You will never know what they go through unless you go through it in your own life.”

Well, that shut me up.

It also helped give me a new perspective on the kids, their families, and my role. You don’t know what people go through behind closed doors.

Years later, my son was bullied and displayed some of the behaviors I dealt with as a teacher. It really kicked me in the ass and I have NEVER forgotten what I was told. That day I became a better person.

©2020  CBialczak

Three Things Challenge #277

Thanks to Di at Pensitivity101 for 3 things: https://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/2020/06/25/three-things-challenge-277/

Your three things today are:

RESPITE
UNHEARD
NAKED

My experience

Having worked with the psychologically fragile I understand that caregivers need a chance to receive respite for all the hours they put in. It is a lot of work and mentally demanding. A great day is even an hour of peacefulness. It is not unheard of for smaller children suffering from an emotional disturbance to suddenly appear naked, to shock the caregiver. Luckily, I do not believe adults are the same. The hardest part is convincing caregivers that respite is for them, not because they can’t do their job right.  

©2020 CBialczak Nonfiction

Haibun Monday

Piet Mondrian. Broadway Boogie Woogie. 1942-43 | MoMA

Hosted by Kim at d’Verse Poets Pub: https://dversepoets.com/2020/05/25/haibun-monday-meet-piet/

Public school

Back in the seventies when plaid was the thing 
bright colors were typical, as were tans and browns 
The pants of children, both boys and girls 
Toys made by Playskool, Play-doh, and Fisher Price. 

Summer picnics, family and friends gather 
to celebrate the season of the summer and the holidays 
Birthday parties with moon-bounce houses 
Clowns come in plaid pants recovered from the seventies. 

Math classes, art classes, all grades 
Grids and maps, primary colors, color wheels 
Data entry, following patterns, coding 
Shapes, colors, directions, codes all in grade school until graduation. 

Enter public schools 
Children become teens then
Graduate high school.  
 

©2020 CBialczak Poetry

Merry May poetry play!

Write about dragonflies and another beast or beasts.
https://artwolfen.wordpress.com/2020/04/30/merry-may-poetry-play/

This isn’t a poem, it’s a story…Oops, but now I would like to share it anyways. Enjoy. On second thought, I made a little poem at the end about Marvin. Now I guess it fits the prompt.

Marvin the beast

My grandpa once told me a story about a giant beast who decided to become a positive member in the negative world we now know as Trumptatorship, a time when the country reversed from being a democracy with a President and other equal branches, to a dictatorship with one evil dictator.  

“Grandpa, please, tell me the story about the beast again!” 

“Ha-ha, well okay Sydney, but you remember it’s the ending that is the important part of this story.” 

“I know Grandpa, I promise to think only the ending is good.” 

“Back a long time ago when people were healthy, there was a beast. He lived in a village outside the city and typically drove his car back and forth to the city several times a day. He did not care that his car was old, that he had not passed emissions ever, or that the smell of burning rubber was just that, old tires being burned in the trunk to run the car. He would throw his garbage out the window every mile, to scatter it evenly so it did not seem like he was dumping his trash in one load on the side of the road. On top of this, he rarely ever paid for things he took home. He was a beast and for most shop owners when they saw old Marvin walk in, the only thing they paid attention to was old Marvin leaving.  

Marvin lived like this for many years and ignored the positive aspects of the government and the beauty of a free country. He never realized how much he contributed to the decline, which eventually led to Trumptatorship.  

It was on a sunny day in May when Marvin looked up at the sky and could see nothing but blue skies with wispy white clouds. There was no more gray. The air smelled like blossoms off a tree. Marvin was confused. He felt sort of good inside, some sense of positive.  

Marvin hopped into his car and turned the key in the ignition. Nothing happened. He tried again, still nothing. First, he went to check the trunk. Maybe he was out of tires to burn? Nope he had plenty. Next, he went to look at the engine. Every part in there was replaceable, except shipping was now so slow from China. Marvin knew there was nowhere in this country to buy parts, but that did not really matter because Marvin did not see anything wrong with the car. Marvin just stared at the car, not sure what he would do next. Suddenly, a dragon fly, about the size of a small hummingbird, came and rested upon his open hood. Marvin had only heard of these creatures, never ever saw one!  

What happened next is what changed Marvin. That dragonfly, the one that landed on the hood of the car, began taking off a thick, grimy layer of dragonfly skin. The dragonfly that emerged was the most beautiful thing Marvin had ever seen. He smiled at the dragonfly and she smiled back at him.  

“Please big beast, may I live with you in your clean town, with clean air and no horrible fuel emissions?” 

Marvin did not know how to respond so he just nodded his head.  From that point on, Marvin and his beautiful dragonfly did nothing to hurt the earth, knowing that the dragonfly never wanted to put on the oily suit again.  

“Grandpa, how did he know that he shouldn’t drive his car?” 

“Well, Sydney, I don’t know but if I had to take a guess, I would say the dragonfly told Marvin that that old car was nothing but a giant polluter.”  

©2020 CBialczak Fiction

Marvin and the dragonfly

Marvin was a giant beast 

Who didn’t care at all 

About the world around him  

Until dragonfly came to call. 

She told him he should not drive 

That beat up, junky car. 

Emission is what covers  

The earth where we see a star.  

Where there is one star we had learned  

There were so many more 

Keeping our earth clean and nice 

Was a priority not a chore.  

©2020 CBialczak Poetry

My new craft!

Thank you, Jenny at Sheepy Hollow Farm https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/2441949/posts/8533
for sharing the book binding videos!

I bought a book-binding kit on Amazon for $20.99 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H3MHYF2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
and some cream colored paper for $11.29 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0114MUO3A/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I definitely need to practice because it all looks good until you open it and see it isn’t tight enough. But, the paper was a ream of 500 and the kit comes with 4 spools of wax thread. I should have enough to make quite a few even after practicing.

Education: Fowc with fandango

written for Fandango: https://fivedotoh.com/2020/05/04/fowc-with-fandango-education/

My view of education in the Us

Education 

As an educator I have a mixed view of public education in the United States. I think there are many great schools and there are some fantastic educators, but I see a problem, as do many educators like myself. Now all of these things are all my opinion and there will be many contradictions and arguments that what I am saying is accurate. That is fine, I am not claiming to have done studies on this.  

Great things about education in the US:  

  • High expectations in many schools 
  • Funding in non-poverty areas 
  • Building new facilities 
  • STEM education 
  • Free education for all 

My list of things I think are on the poor side is a bit longer and I am stating that this is all my opinion and does not represent any specific school, district, or state.  

  • Problems with learning are not identified early enough in the primary grades 
  • Economic discrepancies determine the quality of education in many areas 
  • We are not sufficiently globally competitive 
  • Technology is too distracting, rather than helpful 
  • Administrators are not in a position to make necessary changes, based on what their teachers are saying, because of the bureaucracy of school systems. 
  • Schooling still relies on familial involvement, however, with the breakdown of traditional families, there is not always support available for children outside of the school.  
  • Children don’t value education and view themselves as lucky to have a free education. 

I do believe there are many qualities of our educational system that are great. There are some great teachers who really care about the kids. There are schools that are able to provide everything kids need to learn. The biggest problem is that the US cannot say that their schools are even slightly, consistently equal across the country.  

Do I have a solution? No. I don’t know if there is a solution. The issues are so big and there are so many players. What do you think? How is it in your country? 

Blogging A to Z April Challenge: Z 04/30/2020

Zeal for learning: how to make it happen

This is my last official post for Blogging A to Z in April.

Not everyone thinks learning is fun.
Not everyone has knowledge of everything.
Everyone CAN learn.

Kids nowadays have so much technology and other activities that learning seems like a chore. As adults it is our responsibility to show them that everything we know is “stuff” we learned. It is also important to emphasize that even as adults we are still learning. Kids need to see that we want to learn because there is always something new to learn. And learning can both bring enjoyment and be enjoyable.

For those kids who struggle academically, they also need to be taught that people do learn at different rates and although their best friend may have learned something quickly, that does not mean to give up. It means to keep going and things do take longer sometimes.

Some things to think about – why many kids don’t like “to learn”

  1. It is hard!
  2. It takes a long time!
  3. Nothing is automatic
  4. Sometimes there are a lot of steps to get to one conclusion.
  5. Sometimes you make a mistake and have to redo things, but that’s okay.
  6. Everyone learns differently. Some auditorily, by listening to instructions, while others learn visually, by watching someone do something. There are kinesthetic learners who learn best doing things hands-on. Then of course there are the majority of people who have some sort of combination. The key: FIND YOUR STRENGTHS!
  7. Sometimes the things you are asked to learn seem like they have no point to them. This occurs a lot in math. But, it is all about building blocks. Everything you learn builds to new skills. Mastering a skill means the next time you advance, you already have the beginning skills!
  8. Sometimes things are boring.

There are a few points to emphasize…

  1. Every bit of knowledge you have is a bit more than you had. It is all worth it.
  2. Working hard helps make some things easier in the long run.
  3. Learning new things opens your eyes to things you may learn to love, that you never even knew about.

Staying as positive as possible is also a plus. Don’t ever make your child feel like they are “dumb” because they are having trouble. Don’t assume slow growth is “lazy”. And sometimes silliness is a way to mask embarassment.
No one should be embarrassed to ask for help!

Contact me if you have any questions or concerns or would like to share your experience.