I’ve worked hard to keep a positive attitude.

I’ve tried to exercise to keep my body healthy.

I’ve tried to come to some sort of peace with a lot of things out there.

And all I’ve got is I understand less now than I ever thought possible.


Hush. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good venting session with you, my faithful and devout readers, so where to start? I read a historian’s take on a lot of the things going on around the country. She puts things in this amazing historical perspective, not taking sides on issues, but presenting them in context. What I see from her right now is a road map to our country’s demise. It’s scary how things in the past (voting rights, civil rights, workers rights, 1/6, etc) are coming back up after years of most of us thinking, “Things are ok on that front.”

I need to order books from my class for Christmas and usually order them through Scholastic. My wife got an email that if you want your books in a timely manner, they should be ordered this week. Conference week. The week where I don’t get to see my homeroom students at all. I could have taken time during class to do this, but I’m sure the other kids would be wondering “WTH Mr. J” as I’m passing these book order sheets out.

I said I’d coach club ball again this season. I missed doing it last year (even though it was a Covid year), so threw my name in the ring again. Maybe not the best idea. My current 8th-grade group has zero players participating, NONE! WTH!?!?! “Oh, we had a bad experience.” So that means you’ll have a bad experience with me?? It’s been since the current seniors since I’ve had a class who just wanted to play. They didn’t care where they played or who they played, they just wanted to be on the court. And of that class, I think maybe three of a team of nine are still playing. The past year’s seniors and this current year’s seniors had this passion for the game that was just so much fun to watch. We aren’t seeing that anymore. There’s not the passion and drive for the sport, which makes me sad. We have a tournament this weekend and we’ll play one 8th grader, four 7th graders, and *insert this number* of 6th graders because our club leader and coaches haven’t talked. We’ve not even had PRACTICE together!! Think positive thoughts for me on Saturday, because I might not make it! NOTE: Our team added two sixth graders, so we were the hodgepodge team. Our first game was against a freaking buzz saw who are a perennial powerhouse. Needless to say, we did not fare well. Second game was winnable, but when you’ve not practiced as a team, it’s hard to play cohesive offense OR defense! Ugh. We’ll get a few practices in before our next tournament.


We are having our parent-teacher conferences and, talking to a parent, I made the comment I’d love to see their student participate more in class. I was educated about why their student doesn’t participate AND why another child of theirs also does not participate. I won’t go into details, but in order for us to see a change in our overall culture as a country, we cannot continue to look at those who are different than us with such disdain. Both of our daughters were in this position, not fitting in, it’s hard as a parent to not lose it on those parents who are encouraging that kind of negative behavior.

My saving grace: sixth grade. This class is an absolute breath of fresh air. As a student, I moved between the bookish/music/band nerd group and the jock group, never really finding a home. My class is a class of gamers and YouTubers and music/band people and they’ve found their homes. My homeroom especially is one that’s so much different than any group I’ve had, pretty much ever and I love it! They are loud and goofy and weird and just want to be kids. They laugh at dumb jokes and yet, want to do well and are very competitive as a homeroom. We are passing out triviathon questions (yes, it’s a fundraiser) and I’m fully expecting them to jump at the chance to raise the most money, both in sixth grade, but also in the middle school too! 🙂

So, life is hard and, in the words of my father, “kids have changed”. However, we keep putting in the time and effort because it’s the right thing to do. I may have written about this before, but it’s a good ending to this sob story. I was talked to the parent of a former student, and she told me that her student said I was a favorite teacher because I had him toe the line. At the time, this mom said, her student wanted no part of it, but now, he sees the benefits of what I was doing. That gives me hope that maybe, in some small way, my beating my head against the wall is making an impact, just one that I won’t see.

It’s not much, but it’s something.