Kismet

Inspiring Insight

Posts tagged ‘Arizona’

I’m a Teacher, Not a Martyr Featured

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Mr. Wright is leaving. He’s my daughters’ high school orchestra teacher. Everyone is deeply saddened because he’s an exceptional teacher and person. In fact, he just won the district’s exemplary teacher’s award. His students were crestfallen – he’s such an amazing teacher! This is his dream job. So why is he leaving?

Because he can’t afford to stay: His wife stays at home and he has children he must support and can’t with a teacher’s salary.

This is wrong.

One of my co-workers is a single mom and her two sons are not covered under health insurance because she can’t afford it. Every sniffle, ache and potential accident gives her great cause to worry.

This is wrong.

Arizona has been identified as the worst for teacher pay and teacher friendliness by at least two separate studies. More teachers are leaving than entering with each year. Even substitute teachers are in great shortage.

This is wrong.

It’s time to make things right in Arizona’s education system. You can ignore the symptoms of any illness, but that doesn’t mean it will go away.

A Teacher Shortage, You Say? Featured

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Incomplete Monochrome  (need a white gel pen for detail work)

 

What could possibly be the effect should this continue?

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Solutions currently being considered implemented:

  • Hire teachers from abroad (Philippines);
  • Hire unqualified people;
  • Hire long-term substitute teachers;
  • Raise teacher pay

 

 

Oh Wilbur!

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Is there any other animal so unfairly maligned and misunderstood? Pigs are not dirty. They’re intelligent, curious and clean.

And just TODAY, it was reported that collared peccaries (javelinas) may actually mourn each other’s deaths. Thanks to an 8 year old’s science fair project, there is video footage showing javelinas nuzzling, sleeping next to and protecting a fellow corpse for ten days. (Pigs and javelinas are only distantly related…but still…!)

Fun facts: pigs have poor eyesight, but excellent sense of smell (hence the truffle finding). They are also smarter than dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Love and Life

X is for Xeriscape*

 

Succulents and needles,

Sand and stone,

In this arid land

I’m not alone

 

Quail eggs, scorpion and snake on the floor

Wren, dove, and hummingbird above

All of us move unruffled and unrushed

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

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*Part of my alphabiography series

Why I Became a Teacher

When I was eight years old, my teacher, Ms. Meretta, told my mother I was one of the hardest working kids she had ever had. Until then, no adult had ever said anything positive about me. Really. My parents were concerned that I showed no genius academically. They compared me to other kids (always unfavorably). My other teachers were either distracted by personal problems, or they just seemed mean (maybe they weren’t, but they seemed unapproachable). One teacher said she liked me, but I rushed through my work too quickly to get to the “book table.” I liked reading too much.

I loved Ms. Meretta. I worked even harder after her comment to my mom. But this time, I worked hard not just for myself..but for Ms. Meretta, too.

When I was a young adult, I worked as a summer camp counselor for the YMCA. It was a fun and rewarding job. I loved the energy the kids brought each day. I loved thinking of fun activities and working with them. I laughed every day. I laughed every hour.

I’ve held different jobs but none have had the creative opportunities or the intrinsic rewards of teaching. One of my favorite gifts from a student was a short letter. I had recommended him to go to a school for high-achieving students. He had older siblings who attended a school closer to his home. He always assumed he’d follow their footsteps. It was easy to hold the fastest track time there. It was easy to be the best student. I told him I knew he would succeed at the Academy, a school that was more rigorous and offered both Spanish and Mandarin. “Besides,” I told him. “if you go and you don’t like it, you can always go to the other school.” He went to the Academy and he loved it. He wrote a letter thanking me because he’s so happy and he’s learning so much. His younger sister now attends the Academy, too.

Helping kids is endlessly rewarding.

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. I wish the media and politicians would stop with the negative talk about teachers and public education. Why pick on educators? Of course not every single teacher is highly qualified, but not every doctor, nurse, accountant, or politician is, either. For every lousy teacher you hear about, there are easily 1,000 fantastic teachers. I’ve had to handle a sixth grade student who slashed her peers with a razor. I’ve had to handle a fourth grade student who crapped his pants every week. I’ve had to handle students who complained of verbally abusive parents and who cried of hunger.

I teach in Arizona. We rank absolutely LAST in teacher pay. Last! 

I did not go into teaching for the money and I will never expect the pay to equal the work or expertise.

My reward is working with the children. Yes, we get summer break, but most of my teacher friends will hold a second job (teach summer school, drive Uber Lyft, etc.) to make ends meet in June and July.

Did you know…

  • Teachers must get a fingerprint card renewed regularly and they pay for it.
  • Teachers must get recertified and they must pay for it.
  • Most teachers pay for school supplies for their students.

Let’s stand behind teachers who work to help students.

 

 

 

 

 

Nature


 

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Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
John Muir

I live in a sprawling suburb outside of Phoenix. We need to get in the car in order to go shopping. I wish I could walk to a farmer’s market, but suburbs weren’t made for walking.

Once in awhile, my family goes out to the protected county park adjacent to our neighborhood. We hike the trails and talk and laugh. The outing is relaxing and refreshing both physically and mentally.

My favorite places to be out:

 

Where do you go?

 

 

 

 

Arizona June Bug

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They live in trees.

Eat vegetation at night.

Less than one inch in length with a hard body.

Lives to be about four years old but three of those are larva under ground.

Called the “June Bug” because they usually come out in June.