Sunday, May 31, 2009

The iTunes $15 Gift Card Giveaway

Pin It So, just what are the rules?
  1. Subscribe to Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living’s feed here (using Google), or simply use the 'subscription' option to the right and straight up until morning.
  2. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve subscribed (if you’ve already subscribed in the past, just leave a comment).
  3. Only one comment (entry) per person.

Note: Winner will be randomly selected (random number generator) and will be announced with a post on Wednesday the 3rd. The winner will need to send an email to with a valid mailing address to get the card.

No, I will not send you junk mail, SPAM, or anything else. I lack the time, money, and resources for that kind of garbage.

So, to sum up:

  • This contest is for one $15 iTunes Store Gift Card.
  • The Giveaway goes from right now through Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 6:00 P.M. MST.
  • The Winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 3rd and will be chosen randomly. The winner will be notified with a blog post; if said winner does not reply within three days, another winner will be selected.
  • The winner will be required to provide a legitimate address to get the card (or how the heck am I supposed to get it to you?).
  • This Giveaway is open to US Residents 18 years and older only.

Note: By entering this Giveaway you agree that you won’t hate me either because you didn't get the card, or because I am so good looking.

Your Tr"ge"ek is showing...

Pin It About a month ago I agreed to go to the opening of the new Star Trek movie, mostly just to get out of the house and feel better about attending the theatre again—after all, my last big-screen experience consisted of “Race to Witch Mountain” which was a cinematic catastrophe if ever there was one.

I’m not kidding—I not only wanted my money back—but also the two hours I’d wasted. I know what you’re thinking, “Well, Teachinfourth…it’s really your own fault, after all if it were so dreadful then why didn’t you leave the theatre sooner?”

To answer your question…I tried…the friend I’d gone with (who will remain anonymous so as to protect her identity—got you covered, Janelle) kept insisting that it was bound to get better and that we should ‘stick it out.’

She was so wrong.

However, I digress.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a long line so we snagged tickets and joined the relatively small group. I thought the line was so undersized because it was a somewhat ‘unadvertised’ early opening. But this was a welcome treat.

While we were waiting, I was warned by my sister to, “Forget all you know, or think you know about the Star Trek universe.”

What the heck was that supposed to mean?

I was mulling over her statement when we were ushered into the theatre; this is where the true chaos began. The theatre was full; Trekkies—like Tribbles—were everywhere. We found ourselves looking out across the vast sea of people already seated and wondering just how they all got in there.

While we were looking dejectedly on, we were greeted by Captain Kirk who directed us to some empty seats in the nosebleed section which, consequently, ended up being saved. After a quick inventory we found ourselves in the second row viewing the movie from a nearly ‘Imax perspective.’

It was hard to enjoy the film at this particular vantage point, but enjoy it I did.

Suddenly I began to understand; all I knew—or thought I knew—of the Star Trek universe was now irrelevant. While this was a bit refreshing, I was also a bit heartbroken at the same time. After all, who doesn’t have fond memories linked to at least one of the shows over the years?

So, did I like the movie? Yes. Would I go see it again? I did. Would I recommend it to others who aren’t Trekkies? Yes. Will I still always like Star Trek: Voyager? Is Seven of Nine hot?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Roller coasters and goodbyes

Pin It

I had a hard time today as the moment came inauspiciously nearer for the winding up of our learning; the end of our year together. This year’s class was harder for me to lose than students in years past for some reason.

Why is this?

To be honest, I’m not so sure myself…

Perhaps because this was a new school for me as well as an entirely new grade; in many ways I felt like a first year teacher again…for some reason there’s something special about a teacher’s first class that the others seem to lack. This class felt an awful lot like that.

As we watched the video of our class activities throughout the year, the students were all singing along with the music set to video. The year was unfolding before us all—emblazoned on the screen of our darkened classroom; as my students’ voices blended with that of the music, I felt tears rising in my eyes.

I was going to miss this motley crew of little people who’d all come from different worlds. Forced—by circumstance—into one classroom, and who’d had a teacher who expected them all to become friends with each other.

Several of them balked. Many of them complained. All of them survived.

As I watched them together today—as well as last night—it really hit me just how close this class had become over the course of nine months; individuals who were strangers and wanted nothing to do with each other, but rather wanted to simply play with their ‘other friends’ in different classes were now connected. They were attached. They had become friends.

The music ended and the class started the ritualistic and notorious shirt signing—as well as the “Zs” drawn on everyone’s foreheads—a tradition started some 8 years ago which didn’t die when I moved schools; far too many students followed me who’d had older siblings. I had a sneaking suspicion that that little ‘tradition’ would continue at the end of each year for many more years to come.

The bell rang and my class was given their teacher placements for next year—the instructor they’d have for nine months after a nice, long summer to forget all they’ve already learned. There was a bustle of chaos as happy friends cheered when they found they’d be in the same classroom, and gloom when they found out that they’d be in a different one from the friends they’d shared so many life experiences with..

My students all wanted to be in the same place. They wanted to be in the same classroom. They all wanted to be together.

For the second time I felt tears pricking my eyes.

As I was kneeling down to sign someone’s shirt, Joey ran up behind me and wrapped his arms around my neck. He just held on. For a long time, he didn’t say anything. A moment later he whispered, “I’m going to miss you, Mr. Z.”

“I’m going to miss you, too.” I whispered back to the boy hanging around my neck like a Superman cape.

As suddenly as he’d come, his embrace was broken and he vanished with a crowd of friends, all uttering the chant of “See you after summer, Mr. Z!”

In a flurry of backpacks and standard reports, the students trickled from the room in twos and threes; finally, the classroom was silent and I found myself alone.

I cried.

I was saddened to end this last adventure; to conclude this most recent chapter in a story which was still full of so many blank, unwritten pages.

I didn’t feel like doing anything; as a result, I moved a few items about the classroom in a deadened sort of way; my body was merely going through the motions of doing something.

A feeling settled over me, like a physical force which pulled me down to a chair behind a desk littered with remnants of the school year. It was starting to feel like one of those days where you just sit in the house and eat straight from the mayonnaise jar with spoon.

The door opened.

A brown-haired boy I recognized came through it; he was in the fourth grade—soon to be the fifth. He saw me sitting at my desk and strolled back to where I was; a reserved smile on his face.

“Mr. Z, I found out who my teacher is going to be for next year,” he said in breathless awe.

“You did?”

The boy dug a wrinkled envelope from his backpack and brandished it proudly; from inside he pulled a typewritten letter. He unfolded it carefully and pointed to the name printed on the crisp sheet of ashen paper.

Mr. Zimmerman

I gave this boy a sincere smile, still feeling a bit melancholy with the rollercoaster of a day it had been. “I’m glad you’re in my class,” I told him. “I’m excited for next year.”

“I am too,” he responded with a thrill of elation in his voice, like standing there in my classroom were more than he could handle. For a moment I thought his face was going to split wide open—wide as his smile was stretched.

He carefully folded his letter and sacrosanctly slid it back into the envelope where it was again deposited into his backpack. When he finished, he lingered for a moment or two, uttering, “Well, I’ll see you next year!” and then headed for the door.

After a few steps he paused, and turned with a grin. “Mr. Z, do you know the best part about walking?”

“About walking?”

When I admitted that I didn’t know this choice little tidbit to the secret of strolling, he promptly replied, “Your arms can just do whatever they want…they can just flop around and it’s okay.” He grinned and then added. “It’s gonna be a great year, Mr. Z.”

With this he opened the door and vanished

“It already is, Joey.” I replied. “It already is.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Congratulations, it’s a…

Pin It It’s been nine months; full gestation. Tomorrow the contractions will be induced. After labor, new life will exist and move into the world.

Sixth graders

The clock steadily rolls past 10, and I am yet awake.

I sit in quiet introspect tonight as the icemaker drops a few more cubes into the holding chamber in the freezer, the mechanics of the refrigerator silently hum as the fan in the living room makes a slight clicking noise as it turns in an endless circle.

It’s been nine months since I posted another blog about sleeplessness in Utah; about the night before the first day of school. I find myself having traveled that long tunnel and now I am looking back through it to the light which now glimmers so dimly from the other side. It seems an eternity ago that I wrote that post.

So much has happened since then.

So much has changed.

Twas the night before the last day of school.

Seems sorely familiar doesn’t it? So long ago, and yet as recent as the last time I’d listened to Natasha Beddingfield’s, “Unwritten.”. Which—consequently—was tonight at our class program.

It was only a moment ago that I was setting out on a new adventure at a new school, with a new classroom and a whole new group of students.

And here I am again, standing on the threshold of yet another grand, new adventure.

Saying goodbye.

The year has soared on lightning wings; a part of me cannot believe that it happened as quickly as it did, yet it has. And here I am…again.

Sleeplessness in Utah.

Strange that the source of said wakefulness is the same; yet different at the same time.

However, this time it is not the anticipation which is making me wait... is the saying goodbye.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The space between

Pin It There is a space.

A place where asphalt meets concrete; you’ve seen this space before I’m sure. Oftentimes, this is the area where new life tries to push forth, eager shoots feeling their way toward the sunlight from narrow crevices in the tarmac jungles of the city.

Each day I pass by the assorted weeds sprouting through the narrow cracks without so much as a second glance—after all, they’re simply weeds: Dandelion shoots, grass tendrils, and wild morning glory; all growing noxiously through the fissure—soon to feel the sweltering heat of the sun as the summer moves in with its searing temperatures. Some of them will survive the intense heat while others will simply expire, leaving behind lifeless remains to be blown away by the wind.

As I passed on one particular morning, I happened to notice something different growing there—it was a sapling; the small seedling of a Locust with its miniature twig-like branches reaching upward to the sunlight, nestled in amongst the weeds.
I passed over this small plant and went about my day, but it was on my mind; in fact, for the next few days I thought about it—and looked at it every time I passed. I knew it would die where it was. After all, it was growing in a zone where it would be cut down, run down, stepped on, or crushed. At such a young size I knew that I could probably pull it up; its chances were much better with my doing this than leaving it to fend for itself in a position of such precariousness where the inevitable result would be fatality.

I waited a few days, until after we’d had a rainstorm. On my way out to my car I paused to examine this small plant. I took it firmly by the stem—one day to be the trunk—and gently pulled.

The roots held determinedly to the packed earth in the fracture where asphalt and cement united together. I didn’t relent, but instead kept steady pressure; suddenly I felt the plant come way quickly. However, that’s when I noticed that I’d snapped the taproot.

I was worried that I’d killed it.

I brought it home and put it in a container of water in the sunny kitchen windowsill and checked it each day. At first there was no change; then it began to look sickly. A few of the little twigs wilted, browned, and fell away.

I was now positive that I’d destroyed it.

I had to remind myself that it was doomed where it was growing—it would only have been a matter of time before a school bus or other vehicle would have crushed it—there was a much greater possibility that it would survive with what I’d done.

I would wait.

After a few weeks, I saw that it was starting to sprout new shoots; tiny roots were also starting to emerge from the whitish base.

It was starting to adapt.

It was going to make it.

After a few more days it the roots were much longer, and even more branches had begun to develop.

It was healthy.

It had survived.

The day of grandeur came two days ago when I took my small friend out to a place away from oncoming cars and the feet of small children; to a place where it will have plenty of room to grow.

I planted it in the rich, warm soil.

It now has wide-open spaces, far away from that small crack where it once found itself; forced to grow—and before summer’s end—would die.
I think of the times in my own life when I am content to let myself survive day to day in a small crack in the ground; a place where life does not thrive and will one day be doused. Sometimes, it takes a lot of courage to move yourself from this little chink in the asphalt to the wide open space where the fields of possibility become yours. At times this move may hurt, old branches may wither away, but new branches will eventually grow to take their place.

Let us not be content with the space between.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Be our guest

Pin It You can not imagine my surprise when I was chosen to be a guest blogger at Light Refreshments Served. I was astonished when my friend, Gerb, emailed me to let me know that a post I’d written had been published on their website. If you have been frequenting Adventures and Misadventures of Daily Living for awhile, you’ve probably already read this post, if not, feel free to click over and check it out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It’s just a game

Pin It
I was recently invited out to a baseball game. I love baseball games. The excitement of the players, the smell of the freshly-cut grass of the field, the sno-cones sold at the concession stand.

Whenever I attend a ballgame I will usually take my camera along. There is something I love about holding this marvelous little piece of technology and capturing snapshots of the game through the camera’s lens.

As I was at this particular game, I found myself aware of the umpire who was making a few bad calls. It seems that umpires are often faulted for this; and while it is often the case, it is not always so. However, this time the umpire made an obvious mistake; this was plainly evident even to the photographer who wasn’t paying attention to runs and score—even he knew the umpire was in the wrong.

Several parents on the faulted team realized this as well; that’s when the muttering and murmuring began.

It’s at this point that I have to question…what has yelling at an umpire ever really accomplished? Has it ever changed the outcome of the game? Has it ever made people into better individuals, or does it just show what a poor sportsman you are?

There are signs which hang at the little-league field; the signs basically read something to the effect of this: These are kids, they’re playing a game. Cheer for everyone. Don’t be a bad sport. Set a good example.

Kids are impressionable, they learn by watching others. I was grateful for a coach who went up to these murmuring parents and asked them to stop—even though he too knew that the umpire was in the wrong. My respect for this man went up tenfold for this simple act of respect for the official at the meet.

As I sat down near a group of parents, one of asked me how I felt about the game and how it was progressing. To this I responded, “You know what? If I had a boy out there playing I’d take him out for ice cream afterward, you know why? Because I’ll bet if he wins the game, he’s going to live, if he loses the game, he’ll live. In the end it won’t matter because in a year he probably won’t even remember this game anyway. He will remember the ice cream though.”

The parent looked at me and smiled. “Ice cream seems to be in order tonight.”

As the game progressed, my student leaned up against the chain-link fence and said, “Mr. Z, I’m going to get up to bat with the bases loaded, and then hit a home run and score a whole bunch of points!”

To this I responded with, “You know what, Joey? I just want you to have fun. That’s the reason I came out today…watching you just have fun is fun for me.”

With that he went up to bat.

He struck out.

But he was still smiling.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Moments with Joey – Piñatas, ice cream, & bike chains

Pin It
SCENE 1, INTERIOR. MORNING, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. The clock reads 8:00 a.m. A few students are in the room working on assignments while the teacher is checking his email. The door opens suddenly and in walks one of his fifth grade students. The boy is carrying a cereal box wrapped in shredded tissue paper; he walks up to his teacher and waits for a moment.

I brought you a piñata.

TEACHER: A piñata? What for?

[The boy points to his piñata].

It’s for my Spelling assignment. It said to make a piñata and hide my words inside of it, so I did.

[The teacher takes the box and hears the hollow movement of something inside which couldn’t possibly be slips of paper. He narrows his eyes suspiciously].

What’s inside your piñata?

Candy; for you.

Oh, I thought it was dog food.

[The boy starts to laugh as the teacher clicks ‘send’ for the email to his principal about field day].

Now, just why would I think you’d give me dog food?

[Shrugs]. Not sure…we don’t have a dog so it’d have to have been cat food. [Pause]. Or fish food…we have one of those.

Wow, I feel honored.

[The boy stands beaming for several seconds and then sits in one of the empty chairs at the back table].

What are you working on?

It’s a surprise.

[Face brightens]. I know! It’s ice cream for everyone!

If you think it’s ice cream, I wonder just whose class you’ve been in all year…

Well, yours.

And do I give out ice cream?

I was thinking you might at the beginning of the year.

But I didn’t give out ice cream, did I?

JOEY: No, but I was hoping…and waiting.

Well, keep dreaming, boy…keep dreaming.

Maybe if I do keep dreaming it will come true then.

You know, sometimes I worry about you…

[The boy stops as the teacher continues to answer his email. After a few moments the boy speaks up again].

The chain fell off my bike last night and got wrapped around my heart…

Welcome to my life…

[Fade to black].

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thursday's Photoshoot

Pin It

On Thursday I had the opportunity to photograph a young boy who used to have the most amazing locks of brown hair. His mom admitted to me that since summer was rapidly approaching, and the temperature was steadily increasing, he wanted to buzz his head.

The call was sounded and we sprang into action; we agreed to meet on Thursday afternoon—the day of reckoning. Originally we’d planned to meet up at a nearby park, but I found myself thinking instead of another location—that of a train yard I pass nearly every day. I’ve always wanted to do a photoshoot in the area, and I decided that today would be a good day. I quickly called the boy’s mother and she readily agreed to meet me at the new location.

It was a good choice.

This boy was a lot of fun to photograph, and we were able to capture several wonderful images. I’m glad we did because when I saw him the next day he did indeed have most of his hair missing.

I share the images with you forthwith…

Friday, May 15, 2009

The summons arrived

Pin It Updated

I realized it was important when I saw that it had come from the Fourth District Court.

I knew what it was; however, I’d never been selected for jury duty before…

When I had received the first form a few months ago informing me that I might be a potential juror, they asked when were times which I positively couldn’t do jury duty. Of course, I listed that during end of level testing was most definitely an out.

So, when did they assign me? Monday—amidst testing. Watch out, here I come justice court system.

I called the number as directed; as it turns out, I will not need to attend jury duty on Monday after all..I should probably feel bummed, but I am relieved.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Moments with Joey – Candles

Pin It SCENE 1, INTERIOR. NOON, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. The students have gone to lunch recess. The teacher walks into the classroom to find a 5th grade boy standing, waiting for him to return from the lunchroom. The boy is tugging on the bottoms of both of his ears in succession as he waits. He walks up to his teacher, still tugging on his own earlobes.

: Joey, what in the world are you doing?

Milking my ears. [pause]. Only instead of milk, I get earwax. [pause] You know what, Mr. Z? I’d use the wax and I’d make you a candle. That way, when you burned it you’d think of me.

[Sarcastically] Gee, thanks; but it’d smell just like you.

Yep, only the way you’d want it to be!

So, just what would it smell like?

[The boy stands for a silent minute, thinking.]

Dog doo?

I wouldn’t put it quite that way.

[The teacher walks to the back of the room as the boy follows in his wake. The teacher begins to get the laptop cart ready for the rest of the class; when he turns, he finds the boy standing right behind him, still tugging on his earlobes].

Peaches and cream?

So that’s what a Joey smells like?

But I wouldn’t taste like that.

I wouldn’t even want to imagine what a Joey tastes like...

He’d taste like a Joey.

[The teacher looks confused so the boy expounds].

Salty sweat.

Okay, now that’s just gross.

With onions…or sweaty onions with salt…

You know what? I really don’t want a candle…

[Fade to black].

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I love words

Pin It I find language irresistible.

Do I always use it correctly? Probably not; in fact I have an extraordinary friend who is somewhat of a syntax Nazi. I always try to check and double-check when I post so that my words are grammatically correct. There’s just something about not wanting to appear uncultured or inaccurate—however, I go off the point (which was probably not unexpected).

I always find myself in awe at the veritable potpourri of vocabulary at our disposal each and every day.
Which shall I use at the moment?

Of course I have my standards, those various and sundry items which are my proverbial bread and butter; but then again, there are those other vestiges which work their way into everyday life.
I love it, a veritable treasure-trove of language just waiting to be utilized; in fact, while walking down the stairs earlier tonight, the word ‘vestige’ came to mind and I wanted to use it in today’s post—so I did.


Like standing at a closet deciding on which tie to wear for the day, I instead choose my words carefully. Which will ‘look’ the best for the set occasion? No, those are too gaudy, that is too casual, while these are far too commonplace.


I find it enticing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The $30.11 headache

Pin It I finally decided.

I would go with Maxalt.

It was fast-acting, dissolved under the tongue, and it purged my last headache in approximately 15 minutes—well, when I took it at the birth of the migraine; if it were taken at the migraine’s pinnacle, it was pretty well worthless.

I called my neurologist who phoned in the prescription.

I went to pick up the order.


Of course, that was before insurance kicked in. Luckily, having this little bit of indemnity saved me $233.69.

Those of you who know me—I mean who really know me—understand that I’d rather surrender useless body parts than spend that kind of money on something like a migraine. However, in thinking that I’d only spent about $40, I was positive that I got a screaming deal. I promptly opened the package and gaped at the contents.

9 tablets.

I counted them a second time.

My eyes were not deceiving me after all; there was indeed one tablet shy of ten in the white paper bag before me.

So, dear reader, even at a discount, possible liberation from a migraine would amount to $4.11. Without insurance? We’d be looking at something more in the realms of $30.11.

Yeah, I’m in shock too.

Still thinking about pancreases and spleens.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Moments with Joey – Hello, my name is Joey

Pin It
SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. School has officially been out for fifteen minutes. Two students remain in the classroom working on homework. One boy is sitting at the computers finishing up his Spelling for the night while the other is shuffling around the room. He looks at his teacher who is busily entering grades into the computer and correcting assignments. After a moment, he saunters across the room and stands in front of his teacher.

You know, whenever I say something stupid my mom says, “Hi, my name is Joey.” Urrggghhhh…that really bothers me.

Sorry to hear that….

[The boy begins to walk toward the computer and then stops; he turns in place and faces his teacher].

Mr. Z, do you have a computer at your house?


Maybe I could come over and use it sometime.

Why would you want to do that?

I could get all of my Spelling homework done, and you’d be there to help me if I needed it. Besides, then I could see your house.

That’s crazy, how would you even get there?

[The boy blows out a breath].

With my legs, of course. [Pauses, thinking] Then again, I could always draw myself extra legs and just walk there, too; like I was a spider.

[The boy pretends to take several steps; as he takes each ‘step’ he says the word “step” to accompany it. After half-a-dozen ‘steps’ he slumps on the table].

Do you have any pets? A dog? A cat? Maybe a dinosaur?

I have a dinosaur.

Really? Could I come and pet it sometime?

I was kidding…I don’t need any pets; I’ve already got 28 little animals running around.

[The boy starts laughing].

Hey, that’s us! That’s funny, Mom…

[The boy catches himself as he realizes what he’s just said. He bursts into even more laughter].

I just called you MOM! [Pauses in deep thought]. What if you really were my parent though? Would that be good? Probably not, because then you could beat me if you wanted to. However, if I wasn’t doing anything wrong and you beat me, then that would be child abuse, right?

[The teacher stops working and looks up at the boy who is staring intently at him. After a silent moment, the boy speaks again].

You wouldn’t beat me…would you?

[There is another pause while the teacher returns to the papers he’s correcting. As he turns to the next sheet in the pile he shrugs].

Hello, my name is Joey.

[Fade to black].

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Making Memories

Pin It When we don’t have plans we can either wait for someone to make the magic happen, or we can put the magic into motion ourselves. This Friday night I had no prospects, so I called a few friends of mine and put something into movement.
A group of old and new friends met at “The Trolley” down in Art City last night. We laughed for hours. We reminisced of yesterday. We spoke of the future. We had a wonderful time.
We all need good friends.

Friday, May 8, 2009

?:?? a.m.

Pin It Overhead the fan whirred.

My eyes had yet to open.

I knew it was daylight simply by the peaks of light hoping to wedge under my eyelids like crowbars of midnight vandals.

I knew I wasn’t late…my alarm clock had not yet sounded. I rested in the near-silence, basking in the newness of the day. After a moment I couldn’t take it any longer.

I gradually cracked opened my eyes.

The room was brighter than I thought it ought to have been at this early hour, and for a moment I worried that I’d not set my alarm.

I checked.


Audible sigh of relief…all indeed was still well with the world.

I lay there stretched out, with the morning still ahead of me, crowded with endless possibilities; it was waiting for me to enjoy it to the fullest.

It wasn’t long before I found myself driving that stretch of welcome, familiar road; the one my tires have trod so many times prior to this over the years. The sunlight oozed over the highest peaks of the mountains, glossing the cherry blossom and lilacs in subdued light. A favorite song from the soundtrack of my life blazed suddenly from the speakers like the rush of vibrant wind through the branches of fate.

Ah, the possibilities.

Bring it on…

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hope of America

Pin It The scale was amazing. It was overwhelming. I was speechless. I was a part of it.

Would I do it again?


In fact, I did.

I had never been to, or taken part in the Hope of America Program in the past. Oh yes, I’d heard of it before; I’d had other educators tell me about how wonderful it was and how I should go, but did I?


So, just why was this? To be honest…it was mostly because I just didn’t really want to battle the crowds—I’d heard that from lots of people in the past…those who told me just how horrendous it was; a genuine and nightmarish melee of people in a sea of vehicles all trying to depart at the same time when the program reached its end.

No, definitely not for me.

Well, when an educator moves schools and grade levels—more specifically moving to the 5th grade—this would be a good time to start thinking about taking part in the Hope of America—after all, it was a program intended to be performed by 5th grade students.

After a little convincing, my team was on board and the preparations began.

I won’t encumber you with sundry details of practices, hours spent in training the students (and those times where I did not prepare as I didn’t know I’d be directly involved in the show), but will instead jump you straight to the exciting part…fast forward past months of meticulous training to Cinco de Mayo 2009.

That morning my students were riddled with anticipation as we loaded onto the bus and headed to the Marriott Center for our one and only practice as an entire group; I have to admit at this point that I too, was fairly thrilled. There’s just something about a performance like this which gives you those butterflies—the thrill of excitement—that, or it makes you want to throw up.

In some cases: both.

The practice went off without a hitch; it was fun to watch the performances in-between our numbers of varied schools and dance groups; many of which were not only talented, but downright amazing. Groups of children with choreographed routines from other countries, the “Golden Girls” dance troupe with members ranging from 50 to 92 ‘years young,’ and many others which left myself and my students spellbound.

Time-warp again to that night.

When the kids were finally all in place and the lights came up, something magical happened. Words cannot express or explain it fully; neither can photos…not really. This was something which you could only truly comprehend if you were there. Literally, it very well could have taken your breath away.

The lights went out and the students and educators began to perform. When we finally came to the ending with “We Can be a Light,” I felt a rush—a thrill—a sense of invigoration with life itself. As I looked out into the darkened interior of the Marriott Center, cell phones were open and shining like the distant lights of lightning bugs as they moved gently back and forth in a wash of blues, greens, and grays. As the song commenced and the chorus began, I raised my flashlight along with the thousands of other participants, and instantly became a part of something so much larger than myself. Long after the show had ended, I still sat in wonder and awe at the scope and magnitude of this truly magnificent performance. I was also grateful to be a part of it.

Would I do it again?

I did.

The next night (last, in fact) I went up with another teacher and we met up with four students who’d not had the opportunity to be in the show the first night because of a conflicting school program. Then, for the second time, I was able to take part in the Hope of America.

Needless to say, it was just as much of a thrill the second time around.

I can’t wait until next year…

(Top photo [my class is circled] courtesy of Lydia as well as the video clip)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Panic and Pandemonium

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Teachinfourth, where have you been?

Ah, good question.

Whist I could have been online posting, I chose not to…mostly because all of said posts would have been a rundown of daily tasks—okay, make that a rundown of daily panic and pandemonium…hence my life in the last month or so of school.

I have found myself inundated with things screaming for my attention; however, one of the most incessant was the one I ignored most plaintively. I am now paying the price—or rather will tomorrow night; with the eyes of thousands upon me.

Of course, I was so resolute on making sure that my students weren’t goofing off during practices that I didn’t practice too much myself; I’m rather pathetic at present on the gestures, signs, and motions simply because I was not going to be performing.

Or so I thought; however, I was recently informed that I will be in the performance along with my class.

Le gulp…

Nothing like last-minute panic to get us to ‘cram’ for that final presentation, is there?

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