Hello to you.
This blog post has been a long time in coming. The blog has been a bit of desert this past year. This past year has been an emotionally difficult year for me and I believe there is a connection here. As there has not been a lot of blogging going on, life has been going on full blast. Although I have been remiss in posting pictures and sharing with you, I have taken hundreds, maybe thousands, of pictures. I miss the sharing, the blogging, the creative energy you gift me and I thank you for being patient. I am sure I can look back over these past five years of blogging, and find other times I struggled creatively. When I am stressed, the creativity floats away. It seems that it should work otherwise, but does not for me. I am hoping to reboot in a positive way.
We are struggling, like many of you, in this difficult economy. I would love to know how you are going to make things work in 2012? I taught an extra course this past fall. It helped some. I am not panicked this winter to make the high utility bills. I don’t like writing a check for that much, but can if I need to. I had budgeted well for Christmas and spent every single penny. But, last week we were derailed financially. Sigh.
After sacrificing for two years while John worked on his postgraduate degree, we were behind coming into this past school year – farther behind than I was willing to admit. I kept up appearances, paid cheer fees, purchased school supplies and uniforms and pushed forward. John is still seeking a full-time teaching gig, but we made the per course situation mostly work. Then things began to add up. As a family, we have managed to hit the emergency room four times this past year. While caring for my father, I came down with a cold, turned bronchitis, turned pneumonia. I have had three colds since. This one will take a while to recover from. I just can’t shake not so good health for the first time in my life.
LibbyLu has had an injury or two this past year, but seems to be fairing well. She is thirteen and I am hoping her emotional life is tidier than her room. Some of you may know what I am talking about.
On a November afternoon, John met me outside my classroom door. His face was white and his eyes glassy. He said he needed to go to the emergency room. He had chest pains. By this time, I was sick of St. John’s. Yes, my family has had wonderful care there, but I know the hospital better than most of the employees I am sure. I am ready for everyone to be well. John spent two nights in the hospital and we walked out with few answers. He is feeling better, but I am watchful and nervous.
December brought the medical bills. I was discouraged but knew that we could manage. It would take some time, but it was doable. This is life.
Also, in December, John met his biggest teaching challenge yet. Two of his students, unhappy with his rigorous standards, decided to complain. This is not an unusual reaction by students. Missouri’s A-plus program has flooded our community colleges with young students pressured by parents to take advantage of two free years of college. This program has filled our classrooms with students who want an A, but have no idea what it takes to earn an A in college.
Three days before Christmas, after all the money was spent, the food purchased and packages neatly wrapped and tucked under the tree, John received an e-mail stating he would not be granted courses for spring semester. We are devastated. Understand, we are far more upset about the fact that this is college after all. College is not easy. College should not be easy. Grades are earned not purchased - an idea that may be outdated.
Teaching is becoming a very scary profession. Each spring, we sit and wait to see if contracts are signed for the next school year. There is little protection and no union. There is no tenure. Our jobs are fragile. Teaching was my dream. I worked hard to achieve my educational goals. I should be living the dream. What else is an English major to do? I have a degree in writing, I teach writing and I love teaching writing.
Thank you for reading along. I worry it is a big whine, but sometimes I need to whine. I appreciate you.