Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rambling, Like In A Dream

I woke this morning with feeling that it had been weeks since I'd been to work. I knew I was there yesterday, but the feeling lingered. It has to do with dreams I had last night and into this morning in which time passed, lots of it, like at the end of a novel when the writer pushes into the future to show where the characters end up. Whoever wrote my dreams had me swimming laps in the St. Lawrence on a summer afternoon and then walking through the first giant, wet snowflakes of October on a street I've dreamed before. I was talking to a young woman, explaining the difference between selflessness and selfishness, teaching her that guilt is a negative thing that won't take her where she wants to go. I woke before understood it myself. I stood for a time under a hot shower trying to understand. I'm still trying.

Now I'm at the second school at which I teach math to kids who don't give even half a damn. So it goes. Yesterday, a few of them got were on a bus when the driver drifted to the shoulder, over-corrected and rolled it. The kids went to the hospital, one to get sewed up, a few with concussions. Pretty exciting stuff.

I didn't know any of the kids in the crash. That's how integrated into this place I am. Part-time help covers classes, but it's no way to run a school. This is a small program and yet I know only a few kids here.

I've been thinking about how there aren't the types of conferences for teaching at-risk kids that there are for teaching advanced students. My friend went to a Syracuse University Project Advance conference the other day and I bet he was treated as a respected and respectable teacher. I bet the conference was enlightening, possibly exciting. I've used to attend those kinds of conferences.

Here, in the alternative education division, I'm sent to conferences on scripted programs meant to remove teachers from teaching. I've been beaten over the head with the holy standards of the Common Core so often I'm more concussed than the kids on the bus. I've worked here thirteen years and haven't been to a good conference in that time.

No, wait. I've gone to many great, invigorating, electrifying events through the Seven Valleys Writing Project. I signed up for those or helped to lead them and I was treated like a scholar and expert teacher. None of these had anything to do with the school I teach at.

I'm taking a personal day tomorrow. Just one day, but I'm looking forward to it. Friday morning, when I wake, I wonder if I'll feel again as though I've been out of work for weeks. I might still be thinking of good conferences and being treated like an expert in my field. Or maybe I'll be stuck the young woman in my dream and this idea of selflessness and selfishness, of the self. It's the sort of thing I might figure out only in a dream. That or by writing on.