Yep, that’s a real picture from the Lake County News of a fire bomber hitting the Scotts Fire, about eight miles from my house. That’s a pretty long eight miles, over the Russian River and up an area called Cow Mountain. However the concern is more for those living in the smaller towns of Blue Lakes and Lakeport over the hill, and less for our town because the wind usually comes off the ocean and heads east. That’s not to say it isn’t eerie to see the strong glow of flames in the east hills, or watch the fire bombers roar overhead every few minutes. I think everyone is keeping an eye on the Scotts Fire.
The fire actually started at the end of a four-day week that felt nothing like a four-day week. It felt like a six-day week and most teachers I talk to agree while having no idea why. It’s only a couple weeks in and margarita talk has commenced at the lunch table. That’s not to say that the feeling is negative, just tiring. I think some of us are in the full impulse groove right now and we haven’t quite hit the point were we ease off the gas pedal and conserve energy for, you know, ourselves.
The theme of this week revolved around students in various states of “medical” distress, from the very genuine to the very suspect. This is a touchy subject for teachers to deal with because the last thing a teacher wants to do is seem totally uncaring to a 17 year old kid that is really in an injured state. That’s not asking for trouble, that’s asking for a SCUD missile full of Sarin nerve gas to fall into your classroom. But I’d have to say that about eight out of every ten students that are on extended medical leave are students that are A) milking it, or B) don’t have the outside influence telling them to move on with life and get going. Sound mean? Well, mean is when that student tries to pull that shit at work or in college. Then the response is “I don’t care” or “That’s ok, I’ll find someone that can do it.” That’s mean. This was not one of those times. This week a student suffered a pretty traumatic accident and as a teacher my focus was to immediately take away any stimuli that was dangerous to the healing process. I told the counselor that grades would be taken care of, I left a message on Facebook to the student not to worry about school, and I tried to basically make it known that I understood that life happens, and that educators need to adjust when necessary. This was necessary.
Another necessity is apparently this thing called Back To School Night. It’s an exercise where I get less parents attending from near 150 students, than I do from the 12 basketball players when I conduct a beginning-of-the-season meeting. I’ve never had a negative parent at a Back to School night, although I had one get rather irritated at me when I told her that I thought Hugo Chavez was dictatorial in his managing of government policy. It didn’t go far because I think I promised her that I wouldn’t use Chavez as an example of an authoritarian regime in class. I also think I lied. I’m not anticipating a huge turnout again this year due to a couple of reasons.
It’s on Monday.
Monday Night Football.
Are you getting the picture? Those parents that are actively involved in their child’s lives will be there and they will be very interested in my presentation on how they can be very active in their kid’s progress in my classroom. But again, that number will be VERY small.