This year has been a struggle.
Between legislators who claim we have a “sinister agenda” to other legislators lining up for a photo with students, promoting an ultra-conservative group in high schools to bills about jailing teachers, we Iowans aren’t well right now.
I’m not well right now.
I’ve dialed back my social media use because it does me no good. I have Facebook “friends” who have questioned me and told me that “I hope you keep your politics out of your classroom”. Good god. Pardon my French, but no sh*t Sherlock! I’d never push my students with my politics because it’s not my job. My job is to paint a factual picture and allow them to come to their own conclusions. These were people I’d considered friends for a long time. No more. I just cannot with that kind of attitude. Hell, three years ago, the only reason my students knew my political party is because we were playing a game with our school council and she said if you are a Democrat move to a new seat. I didn’t even think about it and moved, but my students were stunned! I laughed because it wasn’t a big deal to them, but apparently, I had a sinister agenda because I was posting on Facebook. Needless to say, I don’t interact with many people there anymore and have considered leaving more than once. 🙄
My Twitter feeds are cesspools of garbage well. I have two accounts, an “education” account, and a “coaching” account. At one point, I had a classroom account as well, but I’d let that one be just because who has the time anymore? My education account is more political than my coaching account, and rightfully so. I don’t pull many punches on that account and get called out from time to time, which is fine. I love a good political discourse because we need that to be a healthy system. Anymore, it’s just garbage. I don’t care anymore about our former president than I do our current president’s son. I worry about our country and how to repair a sinking ship.
I’ve been in a sh*tty mood for days and my daughter called a few days ago to talk. I’m not sure how we got on the topic my she made the comment, “Oh Dad, you make a huge difference in lives,” and went on to talk about the various people she knows who remember things that I did in class or during basketball.
It was good to hear because I’m not feeling like I make much of a difference at all. And no, I’m not trolling for the “oh you make a difference” crowd. Far from it. Events today make me wonder this even more. Nothing big, but something that just hurts all the same. It makes me wonder about the time and energy that I’ve spent building relationships, working for the common good, does any of it really matter in the end?
So, I’m that guy who like to end of a positive. In class, after a tough basketball, I always look to “pluck that rose from the manure” (shout out to the classic Gary Paulson book, The Foxman, a book I used to real aloud to sixth graders, many moons ago). How do I do this? Well, today wasn’t a giant sh*t show as classes go. That’s always a positive. We are supposedly getting our flooring worked on after months of phone tag. There’s another positive. Both of our varsity basketball teams advanced past the first round. A nice positive there. The biggest positive, I’m taking a day off Friday and we are going to Chicago. We are going to see the Blue Man Group Friday night, the art museum on Saturday, and who knows what Saturday night. It gets us out of Iowa for the weekend and we both need it. This state is very toxic for both of us right now so time away will do us good.
So, until next time, if you can’t do anything in the world, be kind.
February 15, 2022 at 11:13 pm
Social media seems always to be littered with landmines! I had left a lot of questionable folks on my FB friend list because sometimes I found it interesting/instructive to hear what people with such different (and painfully problematic) views were talking about … but I’ve had to start muting and blocking folks. As much as I don’t relish an echo chamber, I really can’t take some of the awfulness people feel comfortable spewing. I like that you ended with some roses. I’m going to sit and think of a few roses before I put myself to bed. Hope you have a rose-full day tomorrow!
February 16, 2022 at 10:23 am
> As much as I don’t relish an echo chamber, I really can’t take some of the awfulness people feel comfortable spewing.<
Thank you!! 🙂 That's the exact spot I am right now. Many of these people I have great memories of, but what they've become and what I've become just don't mix anymore. That cognitive dissonance is maddening!
And I hope your day is rose-filled as well! ❤
February 16, 2022 at 12:12 am
Politics and politicians ☹
You may like Stolen Focus by Johann Hari. Take care.
February 16, 2022 at 10:24 am
Thank you! 🙂 Another book for my ever growing list!
February 16, 2022 at 4:22 am
Can I get a Amen. Keeping speaking your truth. These are crazy times indeed.
February 16, 2022 at 10:24 am
Thank you, Susan! 🙂
Crazy times for sure. We’ll get through them, we just need to keep writing!
February 16, 2022 at 5:39 am
I can see giving up FB and Twitter, yet hope you continue to post here.
February 16, 2022 at 10:25 am
I can’t see myself ever stopping this format. I love doing this even though I’m not very good at it. It’s a great place clear my head of all the clutter. Thank you for your comment! 🙂
February 16, 2022 at 8:26 am
You are allowed to feel what you feel. So many things are not under your control and do not make sense. Sometimes it’s like we live in the same space but different worlds with some people. It’s wise to limit the news and opinion intake and increase the focus on the positive. You know it’s never going to be just flowers and rainbows but it kind of helps to manage the darker clouds.
February 16, 2022 at 10:28 am
It’s never appropriate to ask a woman her age, but Terje, you are wise beyond your years. I read your comments and always have sense of calm and that feeling of everything is going to be ok.
Thank you for bringing that to me and so many others! Your words carry much more than you’ll ever know.
February 17, 2022 at 6:35 am
I am turning 50 this year. Struggle with this change of decade a bit. I appreciate your comment.
February 16, 2022 at 9:29 am
I’m glad this is a place you can share how you feel and find community. I know I’m always happy to read your slices of life–they’re always authentic and honest. Some art and music sounds like just the right medicine for what you are experiencing right now. Hope you have an amazing time!
February 16, 2022 at 10:21 am
Thank you, Amy. As I continue to write, it’s moved away from writing about educational topics and become more authentic (or at least that’s what I like to believe!). The more real it becomes, the better I feel when I click that public button, even if it’s not a good “mood” piece.
I appreciate your comment!
February 17, 2022 at 1:21 pm
Given that today is RAK day, your final words are extremely relevant!
I’ve been spending less time on social media s well. I always feel down when I’m on it for too long. It is a cesspool of hate, isn’t it? (Someone recently advised me to stay off of it completely in the two hours prior to bedtime. Whenever I listen to that advice, I sleep a lot sounder.)
February 23, 2022 at 7:58 am
>stay off of it completely in the two hours prior to bedtime.<
I try to read vs getting online and yes, I sleep much better when I keep the devices away! 🙂
February 17, 2022 at 4:10 pm
Darin, I always felt like something of an anomaly because I couldn’t get into FB; I went on Twitter mostly because I found some great professionals out there. I couldn’t take the vitriol over recent years. I dip in for a few seconds and go right back out. Haven’t got time for the ugliness. I love the peace of blogging and connecting with other writers who are trying to pour positive vibes into our negative world. Here’s to music and art that frees your soul from any knotty nets folks have cast 🙂
February 23, 2022 at 7:55 am
>Here’s to music and art that frees your soul from any knotty nets folks have cast<
Last weekend, my soul felt whole again. We'll see how long it lasts, but it's good to know it can happen! 🙂
February 22, 2022 at 8:14 pm
I’m sorry you’ve had such a hard year. My son has many of the same grievances, but he still has several years to go. No matter what he tries, the students are pretty much comatose, but he doesn’t give up either. Hoping you’ve had a good week. PS…LOVE Gary Paulsen books. 🙂
February 23, 2022 at 7:57 am
I miss reading that book out loud to my students. So many places to stop and just say, “So, what do you think?”. That’s another connection we’ve lost in education, that idea that it’s ok to read to your students.
But, yes, a good weekend was had and it’s Wednesday without incident! 🙂